Subject: 16 year old daughter dating
Question: My 16 year old daughter started dating a 18 year old boy about 4 months ago. He graduated from high school last year and doesn’t seem to have a lot of ambition in life. He is such a nice guy and that is why we allowed her to date him.
To be completely honest with you, we never thought it would last this long.
Anyways, now they are getting very attached and are constantly wanting to be together or talk on the phone. It’s like nothing else matters.
The rules that my husband and I set for our daughter seem to no longer apply. We’ve been trying to clamp down on the curfews, etc.
She listens to us, but always fights with us and asks WHY? 4 days ago the 18 year old’s grandma called (he lives with her due to his mother passing away of cancer a couple of years ago) to ask me if I knew anything about the apartment the kids were going to be renting. My husband and I went over to their house to check this out. It was an application for an apartment (not a lease!!). It had both kids names on it. We explained to the 18 year old that he is no longer allowed to see our daughter.
Our daughter is soooo devastated that we have ended (or tried to end) this relationship. She admitted last night that she used someone else’s cell phone to call him.
I realize that this is the first love for both of them and they are both heartbroken. Our daughter said that “he” didn’t tell her to sign the apartment application. She did it because she ….just did! (She works very part-time at McDonald’s)….
We are not letting her talk to “him” on the phone…..or go see him. I have been taking all of the house phones and cell phones to work with me every day to make sure she doesn’t have access when she gets home from school.
My problem is that I feel SO bad for both of them! This “tough love” thing is killing me. Am I doing the right thing by forbidding them to see each other?
Answer: Dear Lynn:
It is not a matter of doing the right thing. It is about whether or not you are really doing it. Your daughter is 16 and not that far off from being a legal adult. In my professional experience if you pull this off it is because she allows you to because quite frankly you just don’t have the power to really keep her from seeing him. Kids will find a way to have what they want at this age.
Often if they do persist it is because they are doing what kids this age do…separate from their parents. Preferably getting to know him, having him over to your house, keeping an eye on them, etc…might be a good back up plan in case this fails.
I and others have found the best way to influence kids this age is to focused a lot of time and attention on your relationship with your daughter. Go out of your way to do things with her, spend more time with her and always LISTEN, EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU HEAR! Listen, listen and listen some more! Without criticizing, judging or advising……
This is the HARDEST part of parenting…and as my grown daughter reminds me that’s why it is called parenting.
M Kay Keller