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Teenage Daughter Spreading Untrue Rumors

Question:

Our 15-year-old daughter started a rumor about a friend. She said her friend was grounded because she had had intercourse with a 16-year-old boy. This is untrue. How best do we handle this situation? We want our daughter to understand that her actions have consequences. She has adversely affected her friend’s reputation.

Answer:

Sometimes our children make choices that leave us speechless. The best thing to do is use their poor choices as learning experiences. Your daughter was dishonest, and that dishonesty has affected her relationship with her friend. When we are dishonest, it’s best to tell the truth to everyone with whom we were dishonest.

Telling the truth can often give us that uncomfortable feeling in our stomach. But it’s that feeling that keeps us honest in the future. Explain to your daughter that her discomfort is only a piece of what her friend felt after a lie was told about her. Your daughter must also apologize to her friend. It must be sincere and more than a quickly mumbled “Sorry” or text message. It requires thought and effort and an explanation of how she is going to make it up to her friend. Either a letter or a personal apology is best.

Have her practice her apology with you so you can be sure it is appropriate. Then have her think of some ways she can make restitution to her friend. This could be cleaning her locker out at school or doing some of her household chores.

Taking responsibility for our actions can be very difficult at times. But it is a vital skill from which your daughter will benefit at this time.

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