Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: jpcher on January 05, 2012, 05:57:41 PM

Title: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70
Post by: jpcher on January 05, 2012, 05:57:41 PM
As a parent, how much say do you have in your teen's choices for BFs/GFs? Do you try to steer them away when you don't agree with their choice? Do you say "that person is just not right for you?" Do you voice your opinion or do you just keep your mouth shut? OR! ;D Do you lock them away in a tower for a hundred years until they see your point of view?

This can go beyond the teen years . . . when your kids are young adults what do you say when Mary/Sam (your daughter/son) brings home a deadbeat? Or someone that is loud and obnoxious, etc.?


Does Miss Manners have anything to say about how un/involved you should be with your children's choices? More to the point, how to politely handle the choices your children make.




I do have a specific story to tell, but I'd really like to hear the in-general thoughts first.



Any input/experiences from both sides of the coin would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! ;D
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Searcher on January 05, 2012, 06:02:36 PM
I'm not a parent, so you can take my suggestions for whatever they're worth, but unless the B/GF has a very serious problem, like drugs, violence, or other abusive behavior, I'd back off. 

I wouldn't say "that person is just not right for you" because that person actually might be and I'm not seeing it.  I do think it's okay to mention annoying or dangerous personal traits, like "That boy drives too fast, like he's in a drag race, and I'm scared that if you're in the car with him when he does you could get into an accident" or "She smokes and I don't care for that in the house," or something along those lines.  But since what is annoying can be very subjective, if the objection is that the friend is of a different background, I wouldn't go there.

But it's definitely okay to have a "facts of life" talk.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: #borecore on January 05, 2012, 06:11:41 PM
I think my mom did well in talking about my boyfriends (particularly in my teen years) like ordinary folks.
I weighed her comment that my first was a "suck up" (he was!) alongside her comment that he was also talented (eh) theatrically. And broke up with him in short order.
I weighed her comment that another was whiny alongside my own knowledge that he was also a pretty smart and interesting guy, and realized the thing that she'd noticed in minutes was his defining trait and that I couldn't put up with it a minute longer.
Another "totally irresponsible" but "really fun and great with your little siblings."
Another was "sweet" but also "goofy." "A strange bird who really loves you." (That one lasted the longest, in case you were wondering.)

In other words, we had "adult"-like conversations about the pros and cons of several guys, mostly led by my own instincts but subtly guided by her, which helped to boost my own suspicions in some cases, or raise my confidence about opinions that ran contrary to hers.

If she told me I "had" to break up with someone, I probably wouldn't (definitely wouldn't?) have listened -- just like I didn't listen to my domineering father's opinions voiced loudly and controllingly. Treating me like someone learning to date was spot-on -- that's who I was! She also knew when I wasn't ready to listen -- like with a certain horribly codependent relationship in my early 20s -- and stuck to a support role, rather than critiques, then.

She was factual, straightforward and honest about her feelings (and when she wasn't sure how she felt). It was part of how we became friends.

p.s. She thinks current boyfriend is "cute as a button" and "really wonderful." I agree.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Sharnita on January 05, 2012, 06:25:59 PM
I think it can depend on the personality of the kid.  With one of my sisters, if my mom had said "He is perfect for you" that might had been the end of the relationship.  WIth the other she would have given careful consideration to mom's opinion.  Same if mom disapproved.

I think that parents can have house rules that might reflect their general views on appropriate conduct for couples in general.  I don't have a problem with not allowing unwed copules to share a room, for example.  I would have a problem if they let son share a room with his SO but not daughter.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Twik on January 05, 2012, 08:00:42 PM
Does Miss Manners have anything to say about how un/involved you should be with your children's choices? More to the point, how to politely handle the choices your children make.

The only time I recall Judith Martin discussing the topic was a woman who was unhappy with her recently-widowed mother's dating choice, and wanted to know how to "tactfully point out his deficiencies". Her answer was that such criticism would be taken about as well as the writer would have taken similiar advice when she was a teen, and her mother had disapproved of her boyfriends. In other words, it would be disrepectful to the other person's autonomy.

Your position as parent does not entitle you to choose your child's romantic partners. You may not think that a particular person is "right" for your child, but children become adults through making their own mistakes. Unless it's a matter of safety, politeness normally requires you to keep your own counsel. And let's face it - teens often want to feel that Romeo and Juliet vibe. Complaining about their dates is a great way to make them appear more desirable in your child's eyes.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: wolfie on January 05, 2012, 08:10:22 PM
As a parent, how much say do you have in your teen's choices for BFs/GFs? Do you try to steer them away when you don't agree with their choice? Do you say "that person is just not right for you?" Do you voice your opinion or do you just keep your mouth shut? OR! ;D Do you lock them away in a tower for a hundred years until they see your point of view?


My mother did that. Told me my now DH isn't right for me. Well we have been married over 12 years and the first 5 of them I wasn't talking to my parents anymore because they decided the should have as much if not more say in my romantic partners then I do. I would say if you are asked you can give your opinion but be gentle on either side. Don't gush over someone and don't tar them either. Consider that this person might be the person your child decides to marry and wether you really want them to remember the bad things you said after the marriage. Also consider that your child might break up with this person in two weeks and might be afraid of disappointing you if you praised him as the second coming!

You have no idea who is or isn't right for your child. You might have ideas and they might be accurate but as you aren't your child you can not possibly know for sure that someone is or isn't someone they could love the rest of their life. My mom saying that didn't make me thing "huh, maybe I should rethink this relationship". It did make me think "I guess my mom doesn't know me that well afterall".
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: artk2002 on January 05, 2012, 09:49:22 PM
Unless I see something actively dangerous, I'm keeping my mouth shut. If one of the boys seems unhappy in his relationship, I may ask him about it, but only to get him talking, not to tell him what I think of his partner. This is one area where parental interference really isn't going to help -- my boys are old enough (a bit younger than your daughters) to feel the pain of their own relationship mishaps and to learn from them.

Short answer to the question, "how to politely handle the choices your children make?": With your mouth shut.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: jimithing on January 05, 2012, 10:01:26 PM
IME ( I don't have children, but have worked with teens and their parents for 13 years), it's OK to give input, and of course, in a serious situation (abuse, drugs, etc.), intervene, but the minute you tell them they can't date or see that person, they will dig their heels in and get even more serious.

I had a frantic mom come into my office once. She had found out her daughter, who was a great kid, had snuck her BF into the house. She was soooo upset about it, and couldn't even talk to her or look at her, she said. And then she told me that her daughter really wanted to introduce her BF to them, and she just couldn't bring herself to do it. I finally got her to realize that most parents were KILL for their teenager to introduce their BF/GF to them, and that was a really good sign. She finally calmed down enough to get it.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Judah on January 05, 2012, 11:09:15 PM
Fortunately for me, I've never been on the parental side of this (knock on wood, and keep your fingers crossed), but my mom did occasionally give me input on the guys I was dating.  Although I was open to her input, I don't think I gave her wisdom the weight I should have.  I do appreciate that she was looking out for me and trying to protect me, but I have to learn things the hard way.  And I give her a lot of credit; she was right every time.  ::)
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Ygraine on January 06, 2012, 05:13:02 AM
If my two had girlfriends that I "disapproved" of, I used "The Godfather" method:  "Hold your friends close, and your enemies closer".   I never told them I disapproved, but I would have them invite their gfs over.  Often.  We had chummy talks over pizza and sodas,  went shopping, etc.  Usually wouldn't last very long. :)
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Twik on January 06, 2012, 09:00:36 AM
If my two had girlfriends that I "disapproved" of, I used "The Godfather" method:  "Hold your friends close, and your enemies closer".   I never told them I disapproved, but I would have them invite their gfs over.  Often.  We had chummy talks over pizza and sodas,  went shopping, etc.  Usually wouldn't last very long. :)

Wise, that.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Reason on January 06, 2012, 09:10:09 AM
If the children are old enough to have relationships, their choices are not really up for parental scrutiny. Unless there is violence involved, I would say nothing.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: MayHug on January 06, 2012, 09:13:55 AM
My daughter was 21 and engaged to be married.  We had deposits down on everything, dress was purchased. Wedding was three months away.  They were both in college together about three hours away. She brought him home one weekend ( not the first time) and I began seeing some things I didn't like. She would go quiet around him (not my daughters normal personality) . He would get angry if she was further then just a few feet away from him.

I asked her that night if she would get up early and go to breakfast with me. They were not sharing a room (their choice) . So we got up, went to breakfast and I had the hardest conversation of my life when I looked her in the eye and asked her if she was sure this was what she wanted. She broke down crying and said no, but that we had already spent so much money and had non refundable deposits and she was afraid of disappointing us! We had a long talk. She went home and broke it off.

That was 6 years ago, she is now very happily married to a great guy and has a precious little boy.

I would never have asked her if I hadn't seen things that made my antenna stand up. She's never said he was abusive but has alluded to it. So, I wouldn't say anything unless you see some warning signs. And I think it depends on what kind of relationship you have with your daughter.

It's become a family joke now, don't let mom take you to breakfast!
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Betelnut on January 06, 2012, 09:50:16 AM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: UpdatedName on January 06, 2012, 10:10:37 AM
Just don't do what my mom did. Drag a daughter by her hair on the school grounds because of her choice of boyfriends.  ::) Yeah, my mom acted with all kinds of crazy during that relatinoship.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: cheyne on January 06, 2012, 10:16:40 AM
I was able to nip some of this in the bud by making the rule that there was no d@ting until the age of 16 (with DH's full agreement).  Our DS started d@ting at almost 17 to his (now) fiancee.  They are both 22.  Our daughter is 15 and is not d@ting and is not really interested in d@ting anyone she knows (and can't until she is 16).

I would be prepared to step-in if the rel@tionship was abusive, there were drugs or alcohol involved, or any kind of illegal activity.  Otherwise, I let my kids know what I think when they ask my opinion (which they do all the time). 

With my 22 year old son, I really can't do anything about his rel@tionship.  He's an adult and has to make his own choices.  *Not that I disapprove of his fiancee.*
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Reason on January 06, 2012, 11:51:36 AM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Betelnut on January 06, 2012, 12:02:21 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.

Granted.  Here (U.S.) 14 is generally considered too young to be married.  dating is another thing.  My coworker had no problem with her son having a girlfriend--it was the sexual nature of her communications that she had a problem with.  14 is considered too young for sexual activity (generally) in the U.S.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: cicero on January 06, 2012, 12:17:22 PM
DS (due to his personality/ asperger's) hasn't dated yet. I know that when the time comes, i will guide him, and if i see something really "off", i will talk to him about it.

for teens - i would keep an eye on things. if i see something really bad - drugs, aggressive behavior, etc - i would talk to my child. it's tricky - because in some cases, when you stand up against a person, that is exactly what will throw your child into that person's arms.

If my child was going to get married to someone who was very unsuitable - i would step in and stop it. *my* parents didn't stop me from marrying my first (and my father didn't stop me from marrying my second) husband. as well as one of my sisters who married a horrible person. I think they should have at least tried. I don't know if it would have helped - but it would have saved a LOT of pain and heartache.  I was 21 and crazy in love but he was obviously haveing a lot of serious issues that later came back to haunt me.

I think what is important is to guide our children from when they are young. to focus on school, on what they will do when the grow up. friends, boy friends, having fun - all these are important (and when you are a teen - these *are* life!) but it's important also to remember that there is a life *after* school...
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Twik on January 06, 2012, 02:19:29 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.

How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: wolfie on January 06, 2012, 02:22:57 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.

How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?

The world's youngest mother was 6 so if she is having her period she can have a baby.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: wolfie on January 06, 2012, 02:24:59 PM

If my child was going to get married to someone who was very unsuitable - i would step in and stop it.

How? Assuming the child is over 18 what could you possibly do to stop it? That was my mothers idea too. She was going to step in and stop it. And I didn't talk to her for over 5 years and we still aren't close and never will be. That destroyed our relationship forever. Plus it didn't do her any good as I was over 18 so she couldn't prevent me from doing anything I wanted anymore.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Reason on January 06, 2012, 02:28:41 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.

How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers

Please refer to this for the physical aspect.

Mentally she was wiser and more mature than a lot of people are at 36. Basically, 14 is not a child in a lot of places in the world. I live in the US at the moment so I do understand how a majority of people would find this incredulous, but that does not mean that the world works the same way everywhere.

Incidentally the marriage age has since been raised to 16.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: magicdomino on January 06, 2012, 02:44:07 PM

If my child was going to get married to someone who was very unsuitable - i would step in and stop it.

That can be more difficult than you think.  My sister crawled out a bedroom window and eloped, even though she and her boyfriend had to travel several states over to get to one that allowed 14 year old girls to get married without parental consent.  Mother wanted to get the marriage annulled, but my father pointed out that they would have to chain her in her room to prevent her from doing it again.  (He was right, too.  Sister is incredibly stubborn if you give her advice.)
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: UpdatedName on January 06, 2012, 02:54:49 PM

If my child was going to get married to someone who was very unsuitable - i would step in and stop it.

That can be more difficult than you think.  My sister crawled out a bedroom window and eloped, even though she and her boyfriend had to travel several states over to get to one that allowed 14 year old girls to get married without parental consent.  Mother wanted to get the marriage annulled, but my father pointed out that they would have to chain her in her room to prevent her from doing it again.  (He was right, too.  Sister is incredibly stubborn if you give her advice.)

If you don't mind, where did they live? How old are they now?
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: SiotehCat on January 06, 2012, 03:00:08 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.

How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this? 14 yr olds can have children as long as they have had their period. I had my DS when I was 14. It didn't kill me and I didn't lose my mind.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 06, 2012, 03:22:21 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.


How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Twik meant that how would she manage the physical changes that a woman's body goes through, and what kind of strain would that put on her body because hers possibly hasn't fully grown yet.

SiotehCat: That doesn't mean everyone would be able to handle it as well as you did.  Just look at Pregnant at 16 (I refuse to watch it); many of those girls are nowhere near mature enough to handle it.  Obviously you were, and I applaud you for that...I was too worried about kicking boys butts at soccer at that point of my life and I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it well...
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: SiotehCat on January 06, 2012, 03:28:22 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.


How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Twik meant that how would she manage the physical changes that a woman's body goes through, and what kind of strain would that put on her body because hers possibly hasn't fully grown yet.

SiotehCat: That doesn't mean everyone would be able to handle it as well as you did.  Just look at Pregnant at 16 (I refuse to watch it); many of those girls are nowhere near mature enough to handle it.  Obviously you were, and I applaud you for that...I was too worried about kicking boys butts at soccer at that point of my life and I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it well...

I haven't seen 16 and pregnant, but I have heard of it and it is my understanding that that show only follows 5-6 girls. I went to a highschool for teenage mothers, so I have met many. The majority were like me and not like the ones on 16 and pregnant.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 06, 2012, 03:34:23 PM
My coworker's fourteen year-old son was getting very sexual texts and emails from his fourteen year-old girlfriend.  He was told that he couldn't see her anymore and his cell phone usage was restricted (confiscated after 9:00 p.m.)  I think that is appropriate due to the age of the teens.

This statement is not accurate worldwide. Appropriate dating age really depends on the mental maturity of the teen. My sister was married by 14. I've had 3 girlfriends before I was 14. I almost got married at 17 but it fell through. My parents would never think to dictate what I chose to do with my private life because they trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.


How exactly would your 14 yo sister have managed having a baby? Even physically, let alone mentally?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Twik meant that how would she manage the physical changes that a woman's body goes through, and what kind of strain would that put on her body because hers possibly hasn't fully grown yet.

SiotehCat: That doesn't mean everyone would be able to handle it as well as you did.  Just look at Pregnant at 16 (I refuse to watch it); many of those girls are nowhere near mature enough to handle it.  Obviously you were, and I applaud you for that...I was too worried about kicking boys butts at soccer at that point of my life and I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it well...

I haven't seen 16 and pregnant, but I have heard of it and it is my understanding that that show only follows 5-6 girls. I went to a highschool for teenage mothers, so I have met many. The majority were like me and not like the ones on 16 and pregnant.

I've never watched it either, I've only heard about it.  It is wrong to apply to the many what you have learned from the few (you=me in this).  I guess I really was just pointing out that not everyone has the same experience, but I used a clumsy way of doing it and for that I apologize.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Reader on January 06, 2012, 03:35:10 PM
When I was a teen and wanted to start dating my mom told me not until I was sixteen.  Since she had a habit of forgetting stuff that she didn't want to remember, I went and immediately wrote it into my diary.   When I turned sixteen and broached the subject again after being asked out to a matinee movie I was again told no.  I had to fetch my diary to prove she had said it a year before.  I was grudgingly allowed to let go.  So as being on the teen side, when I am a parent I probably will put the same restriction down.  Because I went to school with a girl in 8th grade that ended up pregnant, which I at the time was so shocked (I was very sheltered), especially since we had 3 years of health class that went over contreception.

On the same vein though, I have found that the moment you tell anyone that you disapprove of a person (as long as it's not life threatening) that it has the opposite effect.  When I was older and living with an aunt at the time I once was going to meet a friend to play pool.  As soon as I said I would be playing with Ramon I was questioned by my aunt and uncle on his ethnic background and when I replied he was indeed Hispanic I was treated to the lecture of how hard it would be to go through life with a mixed baby.  Cue my jaw dropping to the floor because I had never played scrabble before, and had no interest in dating Ramon because he was actually skinner and smaller than me.  I think this might have been my first complete silence gesture because I was too shocked to respond.  Guess what teenager self me did.  Yep I ended dating him for a few weeks just to irk my aunt and uncle.  I also have a girlfriend who has been dating the same man for 3 years.  She has never been to his house ever, he is very controlling and he is the very jealous type and even if she's out with me he will send her multiple texts asking what she is doing, who she is with etc.  I am suspicious that he is cheating on her and then projecting onto her that she is doing the same.  They broke up once and even then, was the only time we actually talked about his issues of trust, and how she has never been to his house etc.  Didn't do me any good, because they are back together, even after multiple people telling her the relationship isn't right including her own brother.  And because I raised early objections (I first thought he might be married) is probably the reason why I have never met him in the entire time she has been dating him.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Reason on January 06, 2012, 03:38:50 PM
SiotehCat: That doesn't mean everyone would be able to handle it as well as you did.  Just look at Pregnant at 16 (I refuse to watch it); many of those girls are nowhere near mature enough to handle it.  Obviously you were, and I applaud you for that...I was too worried about kicking boys butts at soccer at that point of my life and I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it well...

A normal well balanced 16 year old mother would not make for very good television, unfortunately. As such is is not at all reflective of reality. I watch Jersey shore sometimes too, but I don't automatically assume everyone from Jersey is a steroid chewing sociopath.

If you watch the show "Russian Dolls" and think you will learn anything about actual Russian culture from it, you will be extremely disappointed in the accuracy of your findings.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 06, 2012, 03:42:02 PM
SiotehCat: That doesn't mean everyone would be able to handle it as well as you did.  Just look at Pregnant at 16 (I refuse to watch it); many of those girls are nowhere near mature enough to handle it.  Obviously you were, and I applaud you for that...I was too worried about kicking boys butts at soccer at that point of my life and I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it well...

A normal well balanced 16 year old mother would not make for very good television, unfortunately. As such is is not at all reflective of reality. I watch Jersey shore sometimes too, but I don't automatically assume everyone from Jersey is a steroid chewing sociopath.

If you watch the show "Russian Dolls" and think you will learn anything about actual Russian culture from it, you will be extremely disappointed in the accuracy of your findings.

I was merely using an anecdote to convey a point, as I outlined in my response to SiotehCat.  I am very aware that tv is nowhere near reality.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: kethria on January 06, 2012, 03:50:23 PM
A) In reading the responses I got Reason and Reader mixed up and was SO CONFUSED for a second...\

B) My uncle and his wife got married when he was 17 and she was 14, they have 4 kids, 4 grandkids and have been together for ummmm... let's see oldest cuz is in his early 40's so I guess a year longer than that :P

C) I wasn't allowed to date until I was 17 and even then it was home before 10 pm. I was very very sheltered and protected and that probably contributed to me getting married at 19. I think if maybe I had been allowed to go out more like my sister was I wouldn't have gotten married to the first guy who asked.
Title: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: jpcher on January 06, 2012, 07:46:05 PM
I really appreciate everybody's input on this subject.

My gut feeling is that I should keep my mouth shut. My heart is going all over the place.

This is about DD#2 who has recently (almost 2 months ago) broken up with her BF#2. They were dating for 2 years.

Since the break-up DD#2 has been hanging out with Bob. Bob is 21 and DD#2 is 17-1/2. DD#2 says that they are "just friends." The hanging out has grown into more often and doing things like dinner and movies, etc.*

Bob has a part time job, goes to community college (part time . . . doesn't know what he wants to do with his life) and lives with his mother. He also broke up with his long time GF several months ago.

Here's the kicker -- Bob is DD#1's BF#1's brother. So I know him well, DD#2 knows him well and guess what? He was very close friends with BF#2. (BF#2 has been ousted from the core group of friends . . . even Bob says he wants nothing to do with BF#2 any more.)



*Anywhoo . . . my problem is that I'm thinking that Bob is taking BF#2's place in my daughters life. Someone to hang with. Someone to talk to. Someone to mend her broken heart.

I'd really like to curb the frequency that they see each other. I don't have any good reason other than I think that he's the "rebound guy."

There's more BG, like Bob's mom already has Bob and DD#2 married (a completely different thread ::))  . . . and the fact that Bob is "familyish" due to DD#1 and Bob's brother (BF#1) dating.



I dunno. Maybe I'm completely off base.

I will heed your advice, keep my mouth shut and try to gently guide DD#2 concerning healthy relationships . . . non specific discussions about relationships in general.

Maybe I'm more gun-shy than DD#2 is. I just don't want to see her get hurt again.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: katycoo on January 06, 2012, 08:02:23 PM
I'd really like to curb the frequency that they see each other. I don't have any good reason other than I think that he's the "rebound guy."

Sorry.  You can't.

I totally get your desire to protect her from being hurt again, but these are life lessons, and unless there is abuse, I really think you should stay out of it.

AND - not all rebound relationships are doomed.  My husband was to a degree, and we've been married 5 years now.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: Gwywnnydd on January 06, 2012, 09:31:54 PM
A) In reading the responses I got Reason and Reader mixed up and was SO CONFUSED for a second...\

Oh, I'm *so* glad it wasn't just me! =D
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: SisJackson on January 06, 2012, 10:05:31 PM
I just don't want to see her get hurt again.

In all likelihood the only way you can prevent her from ever being hurt by a man again is to have her sequestered.  Part of finding out what you want in a partner is sometimes finding out, the hard way, that someone isn't the right one, and ending it.  And the end almost always hurts, even if you're the one doing the ending.

An article I found online says that the according to a study of 2,000 people found that the average woman kisses 22 men, has four serious relationships, and has her heart broken five times before meeting "The One" - read it here (http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/235021/Your-prince-is-22-frogs-away) - so for most of us, breakups are a natural part of one's love life.

I understand the desire to keep your daughter's heart safe, but I'm afraid that probably won't be possible.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 06, 2012, 10:25:02 PM
In general, I think it's ok for a parent to voice their concerns in a reasonable manner.

In your case, I'd be concerned about the age gap. IMO, there is quite a bit of difference between a 17 year old and a 21 year old. The 17 year old is still a minor and (probably) still at school. By contrast, the 21 year old is a legal adult who can drink and go clubbing, etc, and is probably working or in college/uni. There can be a fair bit of difference in terms of maturity and life experience. I would also question why a 21 year old man would want to hang out with a high schooler.

With your DD2, I think you'd be fine in telling her that she can't go to pubs and clubs with him. I think you (and parents in general) are fine in laying down some "house rules" when it comes to having dates over. Eg "no alone time in the bedrooms" etc.

As for the rebound issue, I'd encourage her to explore being single. I'd encourage her to hang out with her friends, try a new hobby or interest, play some sport, focus on school, etc. I'd try to emphasise the fact that she doesn't need a guy to "complete" her, and that she's wonderful as she is, etc.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: jimithing on January 07, 2012, 12:07:37 AM
Given the information, I think you really need to stay out of it. I don't necessarily think rebounds are always unhealthy, and I definitely think at 17 1/2, it's pretty typical for a teenager to jump into another relationship so soon. At that age, most girls aren't looking for a husband and super serious relationship, but someone to date and hang out with.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: MrsJWine on January 07, 2012, 12:18:52 AM
Given the information, I think you really need to stay out of it. I don't necessarily think rebounds are always unhealthy, and I definitely think at 17 1/2, it's pretty typical for a teenager to jump into another relationship so soon. At that age, most girls aren't looking for a husband and super serious relationship, but someone to date and hang out with.

I agree. I wouldn't encourage a rebound relationship, but sometimes they can be very healing (that sounds so cheesy). My first really serious boyfriend broke up with me at the end of my freshman year of college, completely out of the blue. It was completely devastating. I couldn't eat for a week. And then a few weeks later this guy in my physics class that I'd had a sort of mild crush on for two semesters asked me out. I was definitely not over the first guy, and yes, it would have been better if I'd been able to climb out of that hole on my own. But I was 18, and he was my first love.

Physics Guy was fun and interesting, and he was exactly what I needed at the time. It only lasted a few months, but he got me a job at a summer camp, and those are some of the best memories of my life. I came back the next school year and got to be good friends with my now-husband. I'm not sure that would've happened if I'd still been pining for Guy #1.

Her relationship with Bob may be a very good thing, rebound or not, serious or not. Physics Guy was a terrible match for me, but he yanked me out of some pretty (in retrospect) idiotic self-pity and depression, and I don't know if I could've done that on my own--at least not as soon.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: mechtilde on January 07, 2012, 02:07:36 AM
Agreed- I started seeing someone six weeks after breaking up with someone. Yesterday was our 11th wedding anniversary.

Unless you think she's being mistreated, let her get on with it- even though you understandably want to protect her.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: cicero on January 07, 2012, 02:16:31 AM

If my child was going to get married to someone who was very unsuitable - i would step in and stop it.

How? Assuming the child is over 18 what could you possibly do to stop it? That was my mothers idea too. She was going to step in and stop it. And I didn't talk to her for over 5 years and we still aren't close and never will be. That destroyed our relationship forever. Plus it didn't do her any good as I was over 18 so she couldn't prevent me from doing anything I wanted anymore.

to all those who asked me how i would stop and if i could stop this - i'm not going to lock my son up in his room but i would do my best to stop him from making a mistake like that. we have a very good relationship and we talk everything out, so we would talk this out too. I know what it's like to make a terrible mistake like marrying the wrong man, and my son (unfortunately) knows what it's like to live in that kind of marriage as a child
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: cicero on January 07, 2012, 02:49:03 AM
is this the dd whose former bf you suspected stole from you?

i wouldn't focus on the rebound etc, but focus on her.

Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: LadyL on January 07, 2012, 09:35:26 AM
I'm going to add my comment to the host of people saying that you can't stop her being hurt.  You don't know if this is "just" a rebound, they could end up being together for the next 20 years.  If you want to discuss anything with her I would focus more on the age gap and making sure he wasn't trying to push her into anything, like underage drinking (if this is something you disapprove of).  Don't forget that women mature faster than men so they may well be on a par with each other maturity-wise.  My boyfriend was my "rebound guy" and we've been together for 3 years now.  There is no set time that needs to be had between relationships - it could be 2 weeks or 2 years.

POD to all of this.

Just for some perspective, my last ex was quite the charmer and my family really loved him. He was about my age (2 years older) and we were together for 3 years, from when I was 17-20. He also turned out be a compulsive liar. He was arrested for a white collar federal crime, and it still took me 6 months after that to fully break up with him because I was so entangled. My family had no idea he had such deep issues, and I was in denial about it until the last year or so of our relationship (which is also when his behavior escalated).

After that I was happily single and casually dating for about 3 months when I met LordL. We sort of accidentally started exclusively dating right away (we both lost any interest in other people but didn't realize we both felt that way until a few months in). For the first 6 months I really thought it wouldn't go anywhere. He was the opposite of my ex - honest to a fault, grumpy/cynical, socially awkward - but also extremely smart and kind. I don't think my parents knew what to make of him for the first few years we dated because he was very nervous around them. We've now been together almost 8 years and got engaged about a year ago.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . .
Post by: magicdomino on January 07, 2012, 10:50:29 AM

If my child was going to get married to someone who was very unsuitable - i would step in and stop it.

That can be more difficult than you think.  My sister crawled out a bedroom window and eloped, even though she and her boyfriend had to travel several states over to get to one that allowed 14 year old girls to get married without parental consent.  Mother wanted to get the marriage annulled, but my father pointed out that they would have to chain her in her room to prevent her from doing it again.  (He was right, too.  Sister is incredibly stubborn if you give her advice.)

If you don't mind, where did they live? How old are they now?

Sister eloped in the early 1950's, and got pregnant as soon as possible, probably to prevent Mother from getting the annulment.  Mother settled for packing up all of her stuff, and informing Sister at the door that if she was old enough to get married, she was old enough to move out.  Sister and new husband went to live with his parents and numerous siblings in a tiny house with no indoor plumbing.  The couple stayed together for about 15 years and two more kids before divorcing.  Sister is now 72, still living in Virginia, and as willful as ever.  Still doesn't have a lick of sense, either.   ;)
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Perfect Circle on January 07, 2012, 11:39:18 AM
Unless your child in is danger, I really think you need to let them live their own lives and make their own mistakes. You can talk to them and make sure everything is ok, but trying to influence their relationship is unlikely to have a positive outcome.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: TZ on January 07, 2012, 11:53:50 AM
Although they would deny it, my parents were pretty overprotective, which meant I didn't date much in high school. As a result, I jumped into a relationship with one of the first guys to come along when I was in college. I knew that my parents hated him. They never said a word, but I knew. I'm glad they didn't push the issue because, as a fairly immature 19-year-old, I probably would have grown closer to him out of spite.

However, I'm certain they would have said something if we had gotten engaged or moved in together, and rightfully so. There is a difference, IMO, between interfering in an official but relatively casual relationship and something more permanent if there truly are red flags. I'm not saying that's true for everyone, but I would expect those who care most about me to speak up if they think I'm about the make a huge mistake. Maybe they're overstepping, or maybe they're seeing something I'm not.

With that said, I not would allow my hypothetical 17-year-old daughter to date someone who's 21. Even as an 18-year-old freshman in college, I would have looked askance at a guy of that age who wanted to date a girl in high school. The difference in circumstances and life experience at that point are pretty dramatic. YMMV.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: jpcher on January 07, 2012, 02:45:21 PM
is this the dd whose former bf you suspected stole from you?

i wouldn't focus on the rebound etc, but focus on her.

Yup. Same dd and bf.

Focusing on her is an excellent point (as other posters suggested.) She does need to get herself centered in her own life. DD#2 needs to know herself before getting into another long term relationship.

I agree. I wouldn't encourage a rebound relationship, but sometimes they can be very healing (that sounds so cheesy). My first really serious boyfriend broke up with me at the end of my freshman year of college, completely out of the blue. It was completely devastating. I couldn't eat for a week. And then a few weeks later this guy in my physics class that I'd had a sort of mild crush on for two semesters asked me out. I was definitely not over the first guy, and yes, it would have been better if I'd been able to climb out of that hole on my own. But I was 18, and he was my first love.

Physics Guy was fun and interesting, and he was exactly what I needed at the time. It only lasted a few months, but he got me a job at a summer camp, and those are some of the best memories of my life. I came back the next school year and got to be good friends with my now-husband. I'm not sure that would've happened if I'd still been pining for Guy #1.

Her relationship with Bob may be a very good thing, rebound or not, serious or not. Physics Guy was a terrible match for me, but he yanked me out of some pretty (in retrospect) idiotic self-pity and depression, and I don't know if I could've done that on my own--at least not as soon.

Cheesy or not, somebody will be the rebound guy. At least I know and respect Bob.

Who knows what will come of this . . .


With that said, I not would allow my hypothetical 17-year-old daughter to date someone who's 21. Even as an 18-year-old freshman in college, I would have looked askance at a guy of that age who wanted to date a girl in high school. The difference in circumstances and life experience at that point are pretty dramatic. YMMV.


Age difference is a concern for me. But I allowed DD#2 to go to prom with BF#2 when she was a sophomore and he was a senior, so I really can't backpedal now.

Sigh.

Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Ginya on January 07, 2012, 02:52:48 PM
Quote
wouldn't say "that person is just not right for you" because that person actually might be and I'm not seeing it.

I love this. Mostly because my DH and I are like this. Many, many, many people told us we were not right for each other because we have very obvious personality differences to the point we are almost complete opposites but we work because of that. We balance each other. Like everyone else here, unless it's an abusive relationship or you can clearly see warning signs you should let your daughter do what she will. You can not keep her from hurt, it happens to us all and it's important for our development as a human being. Giver her general advice if she needs it and just be there for her if she needs you.  :)
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Winterlight on January 07, 2012, 03:12:37 PM
I'd only step in if there was a safety issue. Given what you've said, I'd stay out of it.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Shoo on January 07, 2012, 03:44:53 PM
Age difference is a concern for me. But I allowed DD#2 to go to prom with BF#2 when she was a sophomore and he was a senior, so I really can't backpedal now.

There is a world of difference between a 17 year old with a 15 year old, and a 21 year old with a 17 year old.  HUGE difference!

Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: UpdatedName on January 07, 2012, 03:55:37 PM
Age difference is a concern for me. But I allowed DD#2 to go to prom with BF#2 when she was a sophomore and he was a senior, so I really can't backpedal now.

There is a world of difference between a 17 year old with a 15 year old, and a 21 year old with a 17 year old.  HUGE difference!

Agreed. A good friend of mine in college had this age gap--she was 17 and he was 21. He was an extraordinarily nice guy, but it was indicative of his emotional unhealthiness. (Like I said, he was a great guy, but he thrived on complications, and who makes relationships more complicated than a high school girl?)
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: gramma dishes on January 07, 2012, 04:20:16 PM
Jpcher ~~

I may be way off base here, but I can't help but wonder if a small part of your discomfort with this current situation is that you're kind of afraid that if/when they break up, it will cause discomfort between the two families as long as your other daughter and the other brother are still dating?
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Sharnita on January 07, 2012, 04:24:51 PM
what do their siblings think about the whole situation?
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: MariaE on January 08, 2012, 02:11:46 AM
With that said, I not would allow my hypothetical 17-year-old daughter to date someone who's 21. Even as an 18-year-old freshman in college, I would have looked askance at a guy of that age who wanted to date a girl in high school. The difference in circumstances and life experience at that point are pretty dramatic. YMMV.

All depends on the 17-year-old and the 21-year-old. My sister and her now-husband started dating when she was 17 and he was 24. They're celebrating their cobber wedding anniversary next year.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: iridaceae on January 08, 2012, 02:32:20 AM
With that said, I not would allow my hypothetical 17-year-old daughter to date someone who's 21. Even as an 18-year-old freshman in college, I would have looked askance at a guy of that age who wanted to date a girl in high school. The difference in circumstances and life experience at that point are pretty dramatic. YMMV.

All depends on the 17-year-old and the 21-year-old. My sister and her now-husband started dating when she was 17 and he was 24. They're celebrating their cobber wedding anniversary next year.

Cobber wedding anniversary?
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Ceallach on January 08, 2012, 02:42:16 AM
No advice on the specifics here, but when giving advice to a teen I would actually go with specifics rather than general.  So instead of "that person may not be the best for you" I'd mention the actual concern.   When I started dating DH my Dad said "Be careful driving with him, he's a car guy so may drive fast".  In his mind DH was a boy racer (he knew DH as a friend of my brother), but actually DH is a technical car racer so probably a better driver than anybody else I know.  His "day" car was a giant station wagon - big enough to tow his race car to meets on the weekend but a definite family car otherwise!!  I always appreciated that type of advice from my parents.  They weren't telling me what to do or not do, but they were highlighting specific areas I should be aware of.  That's a good thing.

Age is a funny thing.  When I was 17 I dated a 22 year old.  He was waaay too old for me and in retrospect it was a mistake - he was a good guy who dated me against his own better judgment, but I just wasn't ready for that level of relationship.  The experience scarred me and I took a long time to recover.   I had another brief relationship, dated casually, and then when I was 19 I met DH - who was 28.   Yep.  The thing is, I was really old for my age, and it worked.  There were some initial issues, but now we're 27 and 35 the age difference is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: cicero on January 08, 2012, 03:01:44 AM
is this the dd whose former bf you suspected stole from you?

i wouldn't focus on the rebound etc, but focus on her.

Yup. Same dd and bf.

Focusing on her is an excellent point (as other posters suggested.) She does need to get herself centered in her own life. DD#2 needs to know herself before getting into another long term relationship.

see, my concern would be that she knew a bit more about the BF-suspected-thief than she was willing to admit. I've been that person - when i was 19, my then bf (now ex husband) was in a lot of trouble, very dysfunctional, and because i was in love with him, and (now that i can look back honestly) so desperate to have and keep a boyfriend, i went along with everything. He was AWOL from his army service? well, they didn't listen to him when he said he has problems. He ran away from home and slept in doorways? well, his parents were mean to him.he didn't finish HS/college? well, he was a sensitive soul. and so on. so yes, it would have helped me to know myself first, and it would have also helped me to be confronted about the things my bf was doing, and to talk about it with someone (maybe a parent, maybe  a professional) to understand just what a gf role should and shouldn't be.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: MariaE on January 08, 2012, 07:02:09 AM
With that said, I not would allow my hypothetical 17-year-old daughter to date someone who's 21. Even as an 18-year-old freshman in college, I would have looked askance at a guy of that age who wanted to date a girl in high school. The difference in circumstances and life experience at that point are pretty dramatic. YMMV.

All depends on the 17-year-old and the 21-year-old. My sister and her now-husband started dating when she was 17 and he was 24. They're celebrating their cobber wedding anniversary next year.

Cobber wedding anniversary?

Sorry, spelling mistake. Copper wedding anniversary :)

(In case that's a Danish tradition. Copper wedding is 12.5 years, Silver wedding is 25 years and Gold wedding is 50 years. Other years have names as well, but those are the three most commonly known ones).
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: IceCreamTEA on January 08, 2012, 11:43:30 AM

The problem is that one 17 year old is quite different from another. I am currently 18, and I firmly believe that I am only a tiny bit more mature than I was 16. I feel a bit more confidant in my own skin because I hold a part time job (unlike all my close friends) and maintain good grades.

There are many things I have been able to do since 14 that my other 17-18 year old friends cannot do now, cook clean etc. and I baby sit my baby cousin 4 hrs a day after and pre school.

I would have been downright furious if I was not allowed to date a 21 year old at 17.

I have always been told "If you behave like an adult, I will treat you like one".

Having said that, many, many of my 17=18 year old peers cannot take care of themselves, and are not equipped to deal with a mature relationship. Some of them still do have relationships with someone 21 ish, but they don't tend to end well.

It really is about what an individual is like, not simply what year they were born in. My stepfather's mother's parents died and she took care of four other children at only 16. There aren't many people who can do that in the world, but the point is that there is a huge difference from one teenager and young adult to another.

You might legally be an adult, but you might not mentally be one. You might not legally be an adult, but you might be able to take care of a household.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Daffodil on January 08, 2012, 12:02:40 PM

The problem is that one 17 year old is quite different from another. I am currently 18, and I firmly believe that I am only a tiny bit more mature than I was 16. I feel a bit more confidant in my own skin because I hold a part time job (unlike all my close friends) and maintain good grades.

There are many things I have been able to do since 14 that my other 17-18 year old friends cannot do now, cook clean etc. and I baby sit my baby cousin 4 hrs a day after and pre school.

I would have been downright furious if I was not allowed to date a 21 year old at 17.

I have always been told "If you behave like an adult, I will treat you like one".

Having said that, many, many of my 17=18 year old peers cannot take care of themselves, and are not equipped to deal with a mature relationship. Some of them still do have relationships with someone 21 ish, but they don't tend to end well.

It really is about what an individual is like, not simply what year they were born in. My stepfather's mother's parents died and she took care of four other children at only 16. There aren't many people who can do that in the world, but the point is that there is a huge difference from one teenager and young adult to another.

You might legally be an adult, but you might not mentally be one. You might not legally be an   adult, but you might be able to take care of a household.
 

POD to this. Everyone is different and OP would know DD best. I especially like the point that one can be an adult on paper but mentally not so. I would base it off of maturity level more than anything at this age.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: TZ on January 08, 2012, 12:09:14 PM
It isn't the age per se, it's the difference in experience. When I was 17, I lived at home, had never had a job, and had spent my entire life in a relatively small town. At 18, I had moved out on my own to a different city and gained some work experience. I was paying bills and managing a budget and learning how to balance my academic responsibilities with my new-found freedom. I hadn't changed maturity wise during that one year, but I was in a much better position to relate to someone older.

While this obviously won't be the case with everyone, it was certainly the norm in my part of the U.S. My DH is five years older than I am, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that we would not be together today if we'd met at 17 and 22 instead of 25 and 30.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: jpcher on January 08, 2012, 01:11:46 PM
Jpcher ~~

I may be way off base here, but I can't help but wonder if a small part of your discomfort with this current situation is that you're kind of afraid that if/when they break up, it will cause discomfort between the two families as long as your other daughter and the other brother are still dating?

No, you're not off base at all. That is a concern of mine, especially since the families have been friends for quite a few years. Including Grandparents and the Ex (BF#1 & Bob's father.) . . . by the way, Bob's Grandma agrees with me.

what do their siblings think about the whole situation?

I don't know how BF#1 feels, but DD#1 mentioned to me that she thinks its weird. I didn't get a chance to talk to her in depth about it . . .

it would have helped me to know myself first, and it would have also helped me to be confronted about the things my bf was doing, and to talk about it with someone (maybe a parent, maybe  a professional) to understand just what a gf role should and shouldn't be.

Bold above is big. In fact, DD#2 mentioned this to me when she broke up with BF#2 . . . "I really need to get to know me."

I didn't say this, but it's on the tip of my tongue "Then why are you starting a new relationship and spending so much time with him? So soon? You barely gave yourself a chance!"

I see it more as a relationship of convenience. Two people just broke up with long-term BF/GF, finding time on their hands that they otherwise would have spent with prior partners. Why not hang out with someone that you know well?




Thank you all for helping me keep my feet grounded. I really appreciate everyone's response.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: MariaE on January 08, 2012, 01:56:55 PM
POD to this. Everyone is different and OP would know DD best. I especially like the point that one can be an adult on paper but mentally not so. I would base it off of maturity level more than anything at this age.

Oh, absolutely. However, TZ said that she (I'm assuming) would never allow a hypothetical 17-year-old to date a 21-year-old and would "look askance" at a 21-year-old boy who wanted to date a 17-year-old girl. Now, this may be a linguistic error on my part (English not being my first language), but I read a lot of judgement into "look askance", and therefore thing that's quite unfair to the boy.

If the "never" wasn't 100% and the "look askance" without judgement then that's a totally different matter, because I completely agree that while some 17-year-olds are absolutely mature enough (e.g. my sisters), others just as absolutely aren't (e.g. me!) and that it should be taken on a case-by-case evaluation rather than by making blanket statements.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood and overreacted, TZ. I've just heard a tad too many people call my beloved BIL creepy or even a paedophile because he started dating a 17-year-old at age 24  :( :-\
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Searcher on January 08, 2012, 02:14:13 PM
I think a big part of the question would involve "What does this relationship consist of?"

If it's just sitting around talking, that's one thing.  If it involves going to parties at certain venues, that's another.

Some people want to go clubbing; others might just want to watch a ball game together.  If the former, I can see why that would be of concern, but if the latter, that strikes me as pretty innocuous and I wouldn't interfere.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Alida on January 08, 2012, 07:05:10 PM
In HS, DD dated a girl for a short period of time. At one point, she asked me if, while I accepted that she was bi-s*xual, if I didn't like her gf because she was, well, a gf.

Since she asked... I told her it wasn't that I didn't like the girl, I just didn't like her for DD. They were such polar opposites and DD was often miserable because of these differences.

She is now coming up on her 1 year "anniversary" with her bf. I like him even less as a partner for her than I liked her gf. Again - total opposites in a lot of ways, mostly when it comes to making a life for themselves. DD is in school, getting her degree. BF didn't graduate high school, doesn't seem to care if he even gets a GED or does anything else with his life.

Do I like him as a person? Yes. He treats her like gold and is always polite and respectful to me and our family. And we've had this talk, too.

But I will not tell her to leave him, nor will I throw up road blocks to their relationship (she is 18, he is 20), because like others have said: if you stand against the relationship, it seems to only drive people closer together.

Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 08, 2012, 07:41:00 PM
In HS, DD dated a girl for a short period of time. At one point, she asked me if, while I accepted that she was bi-s*xual, if I didn't like her gf because she was, well, a gf.

Since she asked... I told her it wasn't that I didn't like the girl, I just didn't like her for DD. They were such polar opposites and DD was often miserable because of these differences.

She is now coming up on her 1 year "anniversary" with her bf. I like him even less as a partner for her than I liked her gf. Again - total opposites in a lot of ways, mostly when it comes to making a life for themselves. DD is in school, getting her degree. BF didn't graduate high school, doesn't seem to care if he even gets a GED or does anything else with his life.

Do I like him as a person? Yes. He treats her like gold and is always polite and respectful to me and our family. And we've had this talk, too.

But I will not tell her to leave him, nor will I throw up road blocks to their relationship (she is 18, he is 20), because like others have said: if you stand against the relationship, it seems to only drive people closer together.

You sound like my parents.  I dated a girl in high school; I never told my parents then, because honestly, if they thought she was just my friend I could have her spend the night ;).  They did tell me they didn't like my one boyfriend not because he wasn't a good person, but that they just didn't like him personality wise.  He treated me just fine and I liked him, so that was all that mattered.  If he didn't treat me well, that's when they would have spoken up.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: Sterling on January 09, 2012, 12:28:07 AM
Also is there any proof this is a romantic relationship and not just a friendship or even a fling.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] Question . . . #33
Post by: blarg314 on January 09, 2012, 09:38:27 PM

As far as the age difference goes - for maturity, it depends on the individuals. A mature 17 year old and a nicely young 21 year old might get on fine.  A normal 17 year old and a responsible, considerate 21 year old can get along fine, although there is a distinct power/experience imbalance.  A 17 year old and an immature or selfish 21 year can be a total disaster - that's where the difference in experience and life situation makes a big difference. A 17 year old who is intent on dating 'up' (doesn't want a high school guy - wants one who can buy beer legally, and has more money to spend on her, and has his own place) can also set bad habits.

One important difference with a 21 year old dating a 17 year old is that the 17 year old is a minor, still under their parent's oversight. The 21 year old is an adult, who is responsible for their own romantic relationships without their parent's involvement - it's pretty common for university aged kids not to even tell their parents about their romantic partners/escapades unless it gets serious, and the parents can't demand that knowledge.   So you can talk to your daughter about things, but you if there are problems then you can't go to his parents to address them, anymore than you'd go to your daughters in-laws to if she were having marital issues. She and he will need to work things out on their own.

On the more general topic - once a teen is of legal age, or graduated from high school, they are responsible for making their own romantic choices, and the parents' don't get a veto. The parents don't necessarily even get told what they are doing with whom.  At this point, your best bet is having set the groundwork - raising a kid who respects themselves and knows that they deserve to be treated well, and who has the knowledge and tools to make responsible decisions in a relationship, (or fling), and to have a relationship with them where they can talk to you if they have concerns or need advice, and they'll respect your opinion enough to listen when you have genuine concerns.  And to voice concerns judiciously - "I'm worried about the way he treats you" is very different than "I don't think he's well educated enough to deserve you."

For minors - the younger they are, the more oversight and control a parent can/should exert. 17 1/2 is almost to the point of letting go - 14 is a very different story. And there are times when a parent should intervene - abuse, risky behaviour, statutory rape issues - although that should be done in consultation with a psychological professional.

Objecting to a particular person is likely to drive them further into the relationship, even it it's not a good one, so a delicate touch is needed.  Setting limits on behaviour in general, rather than a particular person, is easier- things like "No dating until 16" or "No sleepovers" or "We have to meet your BFs".
Title: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70
Post by: jpcher on April 09, 2012, 07:27:48 PM
I'm bringing this thread back to life simply because I want to say thank you to everybody, and I felt that I should let you all know what was going on because reading your stories and advice really helped me get past my parental angst.


I kept my mouth shut.


It's been 3 months since I've originally posted and I have to say that DD#2 has grown in so many ways. relationship-wise, she isn't dating. BF#2 really hurt her.

We've had several (many ;)) conversations about relationships and her future. I do believe that she's focused on what she wants out of life (including boyfriends.) I'm very content with/proud of her choices.

At the same time, I've seen Bob grow too. He went to a college interview and told me that he finally figured out what he wanted to do with his life. For the first time that I've known him, he seems driven. Maybe seeing his younger brother (BF#1) doing so well in college and seeing DD#2 focused on her career gave him the jump-start that he needed.

DD#2 does see Bob every now and then, a couple times a month, and has told me that she really likes him, but they're not dating. They are in the friend zone.


Also is there any proof this is a romantic relationship and not just a friendship or even a fling.

There was no proof. I was just scared, KWIM?

The last few times Bob was over here? It's completely different from when BF#2 was over. This seems more like a growing friendship rather than BF/GF type of relationship.

It's different and it's nice, pleasant and easy. No pressure. I do think that DD#2 sees the difference.


Once again, I just wanted to say Thank You for helping me deal with this situation.

You all are wonderful! ;D
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70
Post by: gramma dishes on April 09, 2012, 08:02:38 PM
I'm so happy to hear that things have smoothed out and are going well, for your daughter AND for you! 

Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70
Post by: Mental Magpie on April 09, 2012, 11:50:45 PM
I'm glad to hear it all worked itself out.
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70
Post by: Winterlight on April 10, 2012, 10:16:16 AM
Sounds like a good update for all concerned. Kudos to you for staying quiet!
Title: Re: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70
Post by: JoyinVirginia on April 10, 2012, 12:02:44 PM
Thanks for the update. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. But that is always easier said than done