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dearmargaret My 15 year-old daughter seems to buck authority at every turn. She resents not only my authority, but that of teachers and all others who represent leadership over her. When the time comes for her to get out into the world and has an employer to report to, I'm afraid this attitude will heap failure on her. I know teenagers are supposed to try their limits, but her behavior goes beyond the boundaries of what I'd consider normal testing of authority. How can I impress upon her the importance of respect for authority without crushing her spirit?
Perplexed Parent

Dear Perplexed Parent: I'm glad you understand the important contribution of a spirited individual. There are a few ways to exert your own authority. One is sheer force and the other is using persuasion. Most likely the bottom line for your daughter is wanting to get her own way. I suggest you help her to understand how she can accomplish this by being a bit more artful in her approach. Choosing your battles is certainly part of it, and at her level of maturity she may not understand the importance of it. However, when she is questioning authority for good reason, it will be a good teaching opportunity for you to discuss the best way to win via a carefully crafted plan of persuasion. Let her know you are behind her and want to see that she learns lessons on how to best accomplish her goals other than pure obstinacy. Show her that without preparation, her chances of accomplishing a goal are minimal. She has a lot to offer, and the combination of a high spirited individual with the know-how to properly achieve her aspirations is much needed in this world.

Click Here to write to Dear Margaret.  Margaret Snow is a Life Coach in Ithaca, NY.

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