DR. WALLACE: Our daughter has made some new friends at school. Some of them have been to our house and they seem to be OK kids, but I don’t know much about them. When I start asking our daughter about any of her friends she becomes defensive and reminds me that she knows how to choose her friends and that she doesn’t need any interference from me.
Should I trust her to choose friends who have good moral character or should I do all I can to find out for myself? I want to be a good mom and do everything possible to see that our daughter does not associate with girls who lack moral character because I am well aware of peer pressure. — Mom, St. Charles, Ill.
MOM: Parents should not choose friends for their teens, but should know as much as possible about the friends their teens choose to hang around with. Indeed, peer pressure is a powerful force and can cause a teen to get “involved” because the teen wants to be part of a group, even if the group has members who could have negative influences.
At all times, be watching out for your daughter’s welfare and do, within reason, whatever it takes to keep her welfare secure. The better you know your daughter’s friends, the better you can evaluate their character. Encourage her to bring friends home from time to time or encourage her to host a party at your home.
It is not easy being a good parent, but when you are a good parent, your child benefits.
DR. WALLACE: I’m 16 and enjoy playing tennis, horseback riding and swimming. I also play the piano and sing in our church choir. I am not dating yet, but I have lots of friends both male and female. I like things just the way they are and I enjoy activities with my friends, and many of them do not date either.