Author Topic: Parental involvement in (teen) da[color=black]ting[/color] . . . UPDATE Pg5 #70  (Read 12181 times)

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Daffodil

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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.

TZ

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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.

jpcher

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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.

MariaE

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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  :( :-\
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

Searcher

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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.

Alida

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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.


Mental Magpie

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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.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Sterling

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Also is there any proof this is a romantic relationship and not just a friendship or even a fling.
93 93/93

blarg314

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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".

jpcher

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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

gramma dishes

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I'm so happy to hear that things have smoothed out and are going well, for your daughter AND for you! 


Mental Magpie

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I'm glad to hear it all worked itself out.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Winterlight

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Sounds like a good update for all concerned. Kudos to you for staying quiet!
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To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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JoyinVirginia

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Thanks for the update. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. But that is always easier said than done