I have a fifteen-year-old daughter. Her father died when she was seven, and since then she has been disrespectful and rebellious. She now has a twenty-one-year-old boyfriend. Not long ago she secretly went off with him, and the next day came home drunk, having had sex with him.

Her paternal grandmother and paternal uncles say that I should give her to the boyfriend so she can live with him. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to let her go, because I don’t know what kind of future that she can have with him. ¡I am beside myself!

Dear Friend,

You say that your daughter has been disrespectful and rebellious since her father died. The death of a parent is extremely traumatic for a child, and many children will act out their negative emotions through unacceptable behavior. So what you are describing is not unusual.

Your husband’s death was obviously difficult for you as well, and you may feel that your own grief kept you from helping your daughter emotionally any more than you did. As the years passed, both of you have probably blamed all the difficult situations in your lives on the untimely death of her father and your husband. But none of that matters anymore.

You are tired of dealing with your daughter’s rebelliousness and wild behavior, and in some ways it seems that it might be a relief to get her out of your house. Her father’s relatives are advising you to do it, but you don’t feel comfortable with that advice, so you want our opinion.

Your daughter is only fifteen. The decision-making part of her brain is not developed enough to be able to make this choice for herself. If you willingly allow her to leave, and things don’t go well, you will never forgive yourself. And it is very likely that she will try to blame you when she is older.

The advice that you are getting from relatives is very bad. They must not think that your daughter has much worth or potential. But they are wrong. Your daughter is a much-loved child of God, and He has a plan for her life. However, she needs your protection and help, even though she doesn’t know that right now.

It is extremely difficult to stop a teenager who is determined, and she obviously has her boyfriend helping her. (In some countries, his sexual relationship with her would be illegal, but we don’t know if it is so in your country.) We believe that you should continue disciplining your daughter, making her go to school, and providing active love and emotional support for her. Do everything you can to stop her from ruining her life with this twenty-one-year-old man. If you have a way to move to another city, putting distance between her and the guy, it might be easier.

Don’t expect your daughter to appreciate your efforts, nor for her to show any love or respect for you. Just keep doing the right thing as long as it is possible. For that, you’re going to need the strength and wisdom that only God can give. So we strongly encourage you to begin a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

We wish you the best,