Putting Your Foot Down

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is learning when to say no to your child. The Saturday Early Show's Mike Riera helps parents deal with unruly teens.

The Single Parent Shuffle

Dear Mike,

I'm a single parent with a 14-year-old daughter. She's now preoccupied with the opposite sex. I let her have a boy over once along with his friend, but it was a disaster. They didn't follow the rules. They got into beer. Now my daughter wants to have this boy over again and has developed a bad attitude toward me. What should I do?


This often happens to single parents. It's a form of emotional blackmail. Your daughter's really testing you and asking you to be the parent, and you have to stand firm.

Submit a Question
If you have a question for Mike Riera about dealing with your child, send an email to sat@cbsnews.com with "Ask Mike" in the subject line. Or write to "Ask Mike" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019. Your question may be featured on future shows and on our Web site.
She showed that she's not ready for this freedom yet. She had this boy over and they were drinking beer. What this means is either she's got a blatant disregard for the rules at home--which I doubt, because if that was the case she wouldn't be asking your permission--or she doesn't have a strong enough voice in controlling the boy. This should send up red flags because this could lead to alcohol abuse or even unwanted pregnancy in the future.

Now is the time to draw the line. It's not going to be a pretty sight. She's going to be very angry. She's going to be upset at you. You want to do it as respectfully as possible.

I spoke with a woman recently whose daughter was a classic hellion from 8th grade to 11th grade, and they had a terrible relationship. She also was a single mom. By the girl's senior year, things had cleared. The girl went off to college, and before she left, she wrote her mom a letter thanking her profusely for being the rock and her support and really standing up to her, even though at the time she couldn't recognize this. She realizes her mom was her survival.

Dealing With A Stepdaughter

Dear Mike,
have a stepdaughter who I think is passive aggressive toward me and females in general. When I ask her to take a shower she will sit there as if she had not heard me. Then when her father tells her the same thing she gets up and does it. Her mother and grandmother whom she lives with during the week both have trouble getting her to listen. What can we do to change this behavior?


The authority always has to come from the biological parents. Stepparents shouldn't discipline stepchildren.

If she is passive aggressive toward women it comes from the biological mom. Get strong women in her life. Speak to her female teachers and coaches and explain the situation. It's miraculous what teachers can do.