Teen Dating

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    Hello Everyone,

    I am confused, conflicted and overwhelmed by what is the best way to raise our children, child in my case. I am having a hard time accepting the fact that my daughter wants to date a boy from her school. I have such high expectations of her that at this age (15), this is nothing but a distraction. And she is so easily influenced. It makes me so mad when the other parent is so laissez-faire about this situation. I, on the other hand, am ANGRY. She is ONLY 15 – still a kid. Since when is it OK to encourage our children to get into this relationship and I see parents get so involved, as though these are going to last a lifetime. I do not want this for my child. I want her to be mature enough, to handle heartbreak, or aware of her feelings. I don’t even ask her about this boy. She is mad that I am not even interested, but I am not. I am not going to encourage this. But I see that is creating conflict between us and it makes me so sad, mad, that the outside world is getting in between us.    How can I SWAY my daughter from these relationships? I want her to focus on her future. There are going to be many other boys she’ll meet in the future and will probably regret getting in these early relationships. In addition, I don’t want her to get any type of reputation at this small high school. I obsess about her 24/7 to the point that is affecting my marriage, as she is my MAIN focus daily.

    I was not raised in the US and my upbringing is so much different. If we liked someone, we didn’t act on it, certainly not at 15 and it was a good thing. Am I still stuck in my culture?

    I would really appreciate any feedback. I really don’t know how to handle this. She is my first and only child. I want to make as little mistakes as possible. So much pressure. It makes me physically ill.

    Please help 🙁



    Dear Emmie:

    I “hear” your distress, it is quite intense and I think I understand. I want to re-read your post and reply to you tomorrow morning, in about 11 hours from now. I hope other members, parents perhaps, will answer you as well. I do home you calm down some (we do our best thinking and problem solving when calm!).



    Dear Emmie:

    Your post is about two people, a mother and a daughter.

    What you reveal about the daughter: she is 15, she “wants to date a boy from her school”, she is “so easily influenced”. She is mad at you because you don’t ask her about the boy she is interested in, showing no interest in her dating (while other parents encourage their children to date and “get so involved, as though these are going to last a lifetime”).

    What you reveal about the mother: although living in the US, you were raised elsewhere, and your upbringing was different there, “If we liked someone, we didn’t act on it, certainly not at 15, and it was a good thing”. Your 15 year old girl is your “first and only child”. You are “confused, conflicted and overwhelmed.. want to make as little mistakes as possible. So much pressure. It makes me physically ill”.  You have very high expectations of your daughter. You don’t want her to date until she is “mature enough, to handle heartbreak, or aware of her feelings”. The conflict between you and your daughter in regard to dating makes you “so sad, mad, that the outside world is getting in between us”. You “obsess about her 24/7 to the point that is affecting my marriage, as she is my MAIN focus daily”.

    You asked: “How can I SWAY my daughter from these relationships?”

    My answers:

    1. First, somehow, you need to find a way to calm down, to relax. Distress is like fog that clouds our thinking. We simply don’t do a good job thinking when distressed. Ways to relax: a daily routine of aerobic exercise, such as half an hour of fast walking per day, a routine of a few guided meditations per day, and if needed, quality psychotherapy. I hope you will not need psychiatric medications for anxiety, but that is an option  too, if all else fail.

    2. Once relaxed, look for other resources to help you in your parenting situation: testimonies of other parents of teenagers,  including parents who were raised in your country/ similar cultures who now live in the US, or in other western world countries. What is their experience, what is their input. Are there articles and books on the matter. Don’t accept everything you read, of course, consider what you read and look for the advice of experienced parents who can tell you after the fact (their daughters are now adults),  what worked for them and what backfired.

    If needed, you can consider family psychotherapy for you and your daughter to participate in together, with a family therapist who is experienced on the matter of teenage dating and mother-daughter relationships.

    3. My personal input (I am not a mother), if I was you: my first concern and responsibility would be the physical health of my daughter. Dating can cause sickness and even death- STDs, that is, sexually transmitted diseases. Herpes is a non-deadly disease but it is extremely unpleasant and lasts a life time. I would (calmly!) show my daughter pictures of genital herpes (or have someone else, someone you trust to be responsible and calm, show her that).

    Equip yourself with statistics: how many teenagers in the US alone contract herpes yearly? How about other STDs, including HIV. There has been progress in treating that, but who wants to be taking heavy medications for the rest of their lives and live with that distress, of being HIV positive. How many teenagers in the US get diagnoses with HIV yearly? Share these statistics with her.

    And then (I doubt you can do that, but have someone do that, take a deep breath as you read the following) present her with condoms. I know this is distasteful to you, would be unpleasant for me as well. But this is your responsibility because it is possible that this will save her life. With this .. gift, give her the correct scientific information about the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of these condoms  in preventing the various types of STDs and pregnancy.

    4. Discuss pregnancy with her, what does she think about getting pregnant at 15 or 16, or 17… How does she feel about it, what will she want to do about it, how will it affect her life? Let her know statistically how many teenagers in the US get pregnant every year, how many get abortions, how many die because of abortions, how many keep the babies and how does that affect their lives.

    If you are not calm enough to have this conversation with her, have someone else talk to her, or in family therapy where you will be present.

    5. Discuss dating/ teenage relationship with her: what do her girlfriends do when they date??? (She is likely to be doing the same, especially if she is so easily influenced by others). Don’t  criticize her girlfriends and what they tell her, or what she, your daughter, thinks and feels. Instead, as questions so to point to things her girlfriends/ your daughter didn’t think about or consider. Shine light on the bigger picture. Teenagers tend to see only the pleasant, pretty corner of a picture; shine light on the rest of the picture (STDS, pregnancies, heartbreak and depression, lower grades in school are some of the not-pretty parts of the teenage dating picture).

    * If you remain angry and refuse to talk to her, she is likely to date behind your back, or try to do that, which will bring about a relationship between you and her where she lies to you, telling you she is spending time with a girlfriend but instead, meeting a guy.. leading you to spy on her, maybe check her phone… a bad situation all the way around. So, talk  to her, calmly, without criticizing her and prevent that undesirable sneaking/lying/spying situation.

    * If she tells you that she wants to date but not get sexually involved, you can suggest that she brings the guy to your home, to spend time with her in your home while you are there. But frankly, teenage hormones have a way of motivating the teenager to.. find ways. How can you be stronger than her and the guy’s teenage hormones- I don’t have the answer to that. I suppose you do  all you can and should do on the matter, and hope for the best.

    In summary: relax. She is not likely to listen to you if you sound angry or crazy. She is likely to listen to you if you sound calm and sane (#1). Research and seek family therapy if needed (#2 above). Then do scare her with real life facts regarding STDs. And pregnancy (#3 and #4). Then, remaining calm (in family therapy, if necessary) talk to her about what dating means for her girlfriends/ herself (#5). Following doing all that you can and should do, hope for the best.








    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by anita.

    Dear anita,

    I am a teen having problems trying to get my girlfriend’s hopes up but everytime it brings her lower. What should I do?

    Worried deathkillercba

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