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Q. My 13-year-old has made it her mission to find a boyfriend and is acting so clingy that she has driven away all the boys she used to be friends with. How can I get her to slow down?
A. My worry isn't about her boyfriend search; my concern is her inability to see how her behavior is pushing people away. You didn't mention if she has a similar history with girlfriends, but this is often the case—and it usually backfires in the same way. In other words, kids feel forced to be mean to her because she's not recognizing their personal boundaries. So you should focus on increasing her social intelligence. I would have her work with a counselor who specializes in adolescent social and emotional skill-building to help her learn to read herself and others more effectively.
Originally published in the October 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.