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AimeeM

Teenage daughters, boys who are friends and who have girlfriends. Oh my.

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I'm not sure if I should (or *how* I should) approach this with DD14 more than I already have.

 

The other night we hosted a Christmas party for some of DH's old friends. Friends that he has known for 20 years or so. One set of friends has a teenage boy - who DH has known since he was a babe. 

 

Since the party, DD14 and this young man (17) have been texting and talking almost non-stop. We do monitor her cellphone, but a good number of those conversations are had in our presence anyway. 

Nice, nice young man. Him and DD don't really have anything in common, so I'm not sure that they will have much to chat about soon, but they seem to find things to discuss, lol. He's a soloist in his church choir, DD doesn't care for such activities; he's definitely Southern Baptist, DD is definitely Roman Catholic; DD likes Marvel, Harry Potter, and Dr. Who, this young man doesn't like any of the above; DD enjoys art and science, this young many plays football and baseball at his high school.

 

Whatever. We like the boy. He invited us to his church Christmas concert (he had a solo in it) and it was adorable.

 

He also has a girlfriend. Who is in his church youth group. They have been dating for a year and appear to be serious. 

 

I know I'm getting "up there" in age, but as a former teenage girl, I can't imagine I would have reacted well to my boyfriend talking to another girl so frequently (as in, a very, very large portion of every day and night).

This young man has invited DD to join his church youth group. We aren't sure we'll allow it, but for reasons I'm loathe to go into on the forum. With that said, even if we considered it (assuming DD made Mass every Sunday with us first), I feel like this is asking for drama.

 

DD doesn't see the big deal. She considers them friends. Honestly, it could very well be that - the young man IS the type to befriend people (he was hooked on DS6 as soon as he found their mutual love for Minecraft). That's great and a-okay... but I'm also realistic. Most teenage girls I know wouldn't be happy with this arrangement (speaking from the perspective of his girlfriend, I mean). 

 

Again, I think it's entirely possible that this young man views this as entirely platonic and friendly... but I can't speak for his girlfriend - who is also in youth group AND is the daughter of the church's preacher. 

 

 

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Just my two cents...

If you have other reasons to say no to youth group those are reason enough to not drop your dd into a kettle of drama.

 

It sounds like a mess waiting to happen and unless these kids are extraordinarily mature I'm afraid your dd would get grief as the new girl and also, sad to say, as a Catholic.

 

I'm pretty pessimistic about youth groups though.

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Just my two cents...

If you have other reasons to say no to youth group those are reason enough to not drop your dd into a kettle of drama.

 

It sounds like a mess waiting to happen and unless these kids are extraordinarily mature I'm afraid your dd would get grief as the new girl and also, sad to say, as a Catholic.

 

I'm pretty pessimistic about youth groups though.

I wanted to learn more about the youth group before saying, "no." It's a very, very small southern baptist church with a very, very small youth group... but it's been my experience that the smaller the group, the MORE possible drama is. When DD attended the very, very small private school the drama was just... insane. 

And yes, I do assume she'll catch grief about being Catholic, and I can't imagine my reaction (or the reaction of my husband) being good if, as was suggested by the preacher after the Christmas concert to anyone in attendance who "felt it," she were to be baptized or... saved... in the church. I heard enough from the preacher to know that we definitely do not subscribe to his theological views, but I'm not sure how much that trickles down into the youth group. 

I also, however, do not have a hard time seeing this boy as someone who would want to evangelize. He is definitely a kid who is "on fire" for his faith. 

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Sounds like he's just being friendly with the younger daughter of a man that he's known since was a baby. 

Agreed. For the most part. He's made a few comments to DD that has me watching, but in general, I would agree with you.

 

My concerns aren't so much his intentions as they are the reaction of others in the youth group, should DD attend. Teenage girls can be emotional and I don't really want DD caught up in the drama of it. I also know her - since he is the only one she knows, and since she tends to be weary of new people, she will latch onto him during youth group... if for no other reason than that he is the only face she knows. 

We had enough boy/girl drama at the private school to last a lifetime, and have no desire to repeat it. I do, however, realize that this experience could be coloring my POV on this situation.

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Well, I wouldn't really worry about the drama part, but I wouldn't do the youth group thing.  Baptist and Catholic have some pretty big differences, and I think the religious views of the pastor will definitely show in the youth group.  So if your beliefs aren't the same, I'd say a definite no on it.

 

 

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Yes the theology of the church and pastor trickle down to the youth group. I would start there first. If that's a no go you don't have to worry about the drama. ;)

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The invitation to youth group may have been friendly (or more than friendly), but it's also evangelical. Yes, the goal of the leader (not sure of the boy! ;) ) will be to "save" as many youth as s/he can. You're not off base there. It doesn't align with your theology.

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The invitation to youth group may have been friendly (or more than friendly), but it's also evangelical. Yes, the goal of the leader (not sure of the boy! ;) ) will be to "save" as many youth as s/he can. You're not off base there. It doesn't align with your theology.

Would they do that without the okay of the child's parents (baptize or save)? Or am I agreeing to that possibility by even sending her, if only by default?

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No, they wouldn't do it without *her* okay.  But kids are independent from their parents in spiritual matters.  So no, I don't believe they'd need your permission to 'get her saved' or baptize her.  

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Would they do that without the okay of the child's parents (baptize or save)? Or am I agreeing to that possibility by even sending her, if only by default?

Yes to saving, probably no to baptism in a 14 year old. Not sure what the age would be for that. They would believe that the Holy Spirit did the saving, and the Saved Person came forward to profess the acceptance. Yes, you agree to her being evangelized to by sending her to church activities. (See also Vacation Bible School...) If the boy is an earnest, eager believer himself, he may be evangelizing everywhere. Everyone is a missionary, and everyone needs to hear the missive.

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Leaving possible drama situation. We are Catholic, if kids are interested in a youth group it will be a Catholic group :)

Oh, I plan on it (getting her involved in our parish youth group). I just wasn't sure if it would be okay for her to be involved in this one, too.

 

I'm not very well versed on these denominational youth groups, what they do, what they mean... and I'm even less well versed, obviously, on the entire saving and baptizing and evangelizing front, it would seem.

 

It doesn't sound like a good fit for many reasons. 

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I feel like 14 and 17 is too big of an age gap. Yes, it's only three years but it feels bigger than say, 18 and 21 or even 16 and 19. So the fact that a 17 yo boy was displaying this much interest in my 14 yo DD would have me on high alert. Add in the serious long-term girlfriend and the potential church drama . . . no. Just no. I'd be doing my best to put the brakes on. I think she would find herself suddenly very busy for the next few weeks.

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I'd probably assume that he and the girlfriend have targeted your DD for evangelism.

And yes, I'd bet they'll let her 'get saved' - ie, pray the sinner's prayer, at youth group without asking you first. Though a good group wouldn't jump straight to it and would chat with you first if they see her seem receptive.

If I were you I'd bypass the group and monitor the chats. And I do attend a Baptist Church (not southern, different country!)

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As someone who had almost exclusively male friends as a teen. (and only dated one of them) and now, as a married woman, has an extremely close friendship with a married man from those years without any drama or concern from my husband or his wife I think the idea guys and girls can't be friends, or that a girl should be immediately jealous of her boyfriends female friends, absolutely frustrating, petty, and showing no trust from anyone involved.

 

Just my 2c...

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Would they do that without the okay of the child's parents (baptize or save)? Or am I agreeing to that possibility by even sending her, if only by default?

Based on everything you have said, I would say no to youth group and use the difference in theology as my reason.

 

As to the discussion of whether a baptism can be done without parental consent, I can only offer the following by way of example.  My son is applying to a private high school that is affiliated with a Baptist church (we are not religious but our public schools here stink and all private schools are church affiliated).  During the prospective parent Q&A session the Head of School told us that the students go to chapel every Wednesday and some decide to be baptized.  He said it would never be done without the full knowledge and consent of the parents.  Whether that is the school policy or the Baptist church's policy I do not know.  I have no idea about the "saving" part.  (Oh dear, now I have a lot to think about myself.)

 

ETA:  as to the friendship part, I have a few concerns.  I had a serious boyfriend in part of high school and a lot of guy friends.  It isn't so much the friendship that would concern me as it is the amount of time you say they spend communicating.  I wouldn't have cared if my high school boyfriend spoke with a girl on the phone in a "hey how you doing, what did we have for homework" kind of way, but if he was spending hours and hours talking to her I would not have been happy. 

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I had a lot of guy friends before I was married too.  My parents didn't understand it, in their generation, you only spent time on the phone or out with someone of the opposite gender in a dating type situation.  I hung out in groups (and sometimes one on one) with guys, until I was in my late 20s.  I got married at 29, to one of my best guy friends!  :laugh:

 

However, this is a little different.  I think you may be on to something with him wanting to invite her to church.  I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but it very well may be to "save" her.  

 

I do attend a Southern Baptist church, however, there are some things I don't agree with, one of them being their stance on Baptism (must be at a certain age, must be in a particular church, etc....)  I don't agree with the Catholic church's stance on baptism either, FWIW, but that is irrelevant to the conversation.  

 

Can you sit your DD down and have a heart to heart with her about some of the fundamental differences in your theology (and maybe even the core values/beliefs that are the same as well.)   

 

Dawn

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So you know where I'm coming from:  I've long attended non-denom Bible churches which hold beliefs similar to SB churches.  I am not a fan of youth groups because I think too many take the approach, oh yay, let's go bowl/eat pizza/get locked in with little focus on true spiritual growth and discipleship.

 

Oh, I plan on it (getting her involved in our parish youth group). I just wasn't sure if it would be okay for her to be involved in this one, too.

 

...
 

It doesn't sound like a good fit for many reasons. 

 

It's not a good fit for theological reasons.  If this were my kid, I would focus on that issue ONLY.  It would not be any better or any different if this were a favorite girlfriend asking her to come along. I would leave anything about the boy out of it completely, as she will be protective and defensive of her friends.

 

Unless your dd is very familiar with and grounded in your Catholic beliefs, she will not easily recognize the difference beliefs of the other church.  If your faith, if HER faith, is important to you, you want to protect her from that. Don't let her go. She's 14.

 

And if this is important to you, why are you just planning now to get her involved in your own church's youth group?  (Not being snarky at all, just curious.)

 

 

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The invitation to youth group may have been friendly (or more than friendly), but it's also evangelical. Yes, the goal of the leader (not sure of the boy! ;) ) will be to "save" as many youth as s/he can. You're not off base there. It doesn't align with your theology.

 

That was my first thought as well.

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I think he is trying to pull her into his church's influence.  

 

Yes. Listen, this is a 17 year old boy, with a girlfriend. Who is spending multiple hours a day communicating with another girl, one who you said he has very little in common with. 

 

Either he's starting to have feelings for her that are inappropriate given that he has a girlfriend OR he's trying to "save" her. Neither is a good thing. 

 

You need to explain to DD that she's old enough to understand that his girlfriend won't want him spending hours a day talking to another girl. That you certainly wouldn't want your husband doing that, etc. And then explain that many Baptists don't view Catholics as Christian, and may try to convert her. That some actually think the Pope is an anti-christ, etc. She needs to know what she's getting into. 

 

That said, I wouldn't forbid a 14 yr old from going to a religious thing she chose, but we'd have to have some hard conversations about it. As a Catholic mom whose son is bordering atheist (St. Monica, pray for him!) I'd be grateful my son was interested or exploring anything to do with faith, but that's not your situation. Does she know how some Baptists view Catholics?

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I know this is an unpopular stance, but I think that this situation is a very likely outcome of giving teenagers their own private communications networks (cell/text/FB/etc).  If you are going to allow cell/text, I think a policy of "we don't text people of the opposite gender" is a very good idea.  If they really want to talk, let him call the house phone (and he can learn to say, "Hello, Mrs. AimeeM, this BoyWhoWantstoTalktoYourDaughter.  May I speak to YourDaughter, please?") and they can *actually* talk.

 

As to the youth group thing, I just say no to all youth groups.  They seem to vary between trivializing religion (pizza party under a Jesus heading) to downright awful.  Even if you were the same religion I wouldn't let her go.

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I would not confront your daughter about it. She is 14 and most likey has a crush.  Just give it time, do not go to youth group, just be busy when it meets etc... I would want to keep it light and breezy as you will see this boy again and again. 

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Yes. Listen, this is a 17 year old boy, with a girlfriend. Who is spending multiple hours a day communicating with another girl, one who you said he has very little in common with. 

 

Either he's starting to have feelings for her that are inappropriate given that he has a girlfriend OR he's trying to "save" her. Neither is a good thing.

 

:iagree:

 

Personally, I think 14yos should largely be free to make their own decisions (they're almost adults), but I don't have a kid anywhere near 14yo yet, so you can take that with a grain of salt if you want. I do think it's definitely worthy of a discussion about the boy's possible intentions and how his girlfriend may feel etc.

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Well, as the mom of teen boys that date and are Catholic in the Bible Belt I can relate to this one.

 

As far as the youth group goes- I would say no to that for a 14 yo but allow it for an older teen with plenty of discussion of what to expect, etc.

 

As far as the girl being friends with a boy with a girlfriend goes- my boys have girls they date exclusively and seem pretty into.  But, they are outgoing and flirtatious and they talk/text/interact on social media with lots of girls.  Some it seems like they talk to alot.  Some it seems they spend enough time chatting with to make me raise an eyebrow.  

 

But- while I pop in with my advice and commentary occasionally "how does sweet girlfriend feel about you spending so much time talking to other girl?" "Does this other girl have a boyfriend?"  

 

But, I know some on this board would call me permissive.  We allow teen dating (with lots of rules and supervision) and we allow cell phones and social media.  As my kids have gotten older I find that I tend to give them enough rope not to hang themselves but to get tangled up.  Sometimes there is something to be learned from messing up and getting into some drama and pain.  My kids have done pretty well and when we've had some drama we have all learned from it.  

 

So, my take would be no to the youth group until a bit older.  I would allow the communication with the boy while being there to offer some wisdom and guidance along the way. The situation might be fine. If not you pick up the pieces and learn from it.  

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Honestly, if they have nothing in common I'd suspect he's trying to "win" her over in an evangelical sense. What is the purpose of the youth group? Is it to help the members grow in their particular faith? If so, then honestly it isn't the place for a Catholic girl unless she is ready to deal with potential denigrating comments about her own faith and a lot of unnecessary pressure to fit in. I recall a childhood friend and neighbor who frequently invited my siblings and me to attend church and church activities with her family. She was Baptist relocated from the Deep South. We were Catholic. My parents were firmly in the "no" camp.

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Sounds like a lot of drama. I'd say no to the youth group and find things to occupy my dd so she isn't spending all her time talking to this boy.

 

ETA: This type of situation is another reason I'm not in favor of teen dating. In theory, there should be nothing wrong with a boy and a girl being friends. In practice, when you through in boyfriends and girlfriends, it gets messy with jealousy and all that. Blech. Not worth it (this from a former teenage girl who wasted way too much time on boyfriends and wishes my parents would have discouraged it).

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I don't see the point of a kid joining a youth group of a church with such a different doctrine than her own.  The discussions are going to be based on Baptist doctrine, and your daughter will either have nothing to say, or will say something others perceive as wrong. 

 

I would also be concerned about my daughter developing a crush on the boy and having her feelings hurt.  Obviously I could be wrong on that about your daughter. 

 

Some people are just friendly and want to invite friends to things.  I wouldn't assume the boy is trying to evangelize and convert her.  He may be; I just wouldn't jump to that assumption.  We know a boy who has invited lots of kids to youth group, including my son.  The doctrines of the two churches (his and ours) are compatible so it's not a problem for us, and it's not evangelical so there's no talk of being saved.  The boy just likes the youth group and wants to share, "the more the merrier" kind of thinking. 

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I would be more concerned with the drama of the religious differences than I would be about an unknown girlfriend not liking her boyfriend's friend.  

 

I would not necessarily discourage the chatting, but I would say no to the youth group.  The conversation will hopefully wind down on its own.  

 

Keep a close eye on it.  As a former Protestant now Catholic, I know how *some* protestants perceive Catholics, and it's not something to subject your dd to.  (That was not a blanket statement.)

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I had a somewhat similar situation in high school, I was also Catholic at the time.  Baptist friend suddenly became my bestie, invited me to all the churchy things.  I got the feeling over time that kids were pressured to bring in other kids.  Felt very culty after awhile.  No offense to our Baptist friends on the board, I certainly know plenty Baptists that are not pushy.  I would say another church's youth group is not a great use of time.  Most teens I know are plenty busy.  If she has a bunch of free time and is looking for things to do, I would encourage something else.

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:iagree:

 

Personally, I think 14yos should largely be free to make their own decisions (they're almost adults), but I don't have a kid anywhere near 14yo yet, so you can take that with a grain of salt if you want. I do think it's definitely worthy of a discussion about the boy's possible intentions and how his girlfriend may feel etc.

a 14yo is most definitely NOT almost an adult.  I think a 14 yo's wishes should certainly be taken into consideration, but very few are ready to make adult decisions.

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Yes. Listen, this is a 17 year old boy, with a girlfriend. Who is spending multiple hours a day communicating with another girl, one who you said he has very little in common with. 

 

ETA:  as to the friendship part, I have a few concerns.  I had a serious boyfriend in part of high school and a lot of guy friends.  It isn't so much the friendship that would concern me as it is the amount of time you say they spend communicating.  I wouldn't have cared if my high school boyfriend spoke with a girl on the phone in a "hey how you doing, what did we have for homework" kind of way, but if he was spending hours and hours talking to her I would not have been happy. 

 

I agree. This may be my age showing, but the boy's behavior seems totally inappropriate to me. *Hours* spent talking to your daughter is too much. I would discourage the relationship.

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I think it is likely that he is trying to save your daughter, the assumption being that she is not already saved. However, that hardly means there are no intimate feelings accompanying his efforts. In my experience growing up in a similar environment, teens can fool everyone, including themselves, regarding the nature of their intentions. He may very well have romantic feelings for her, but he can hide them under the guise of caring for her spiritually. A lot, lol. His gf certainly can't complain and stand in the way of the Holy Spirit working, right? Your daughter's salvation is at stake after all, and he is just trying to save her!

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OP, I have no issues with people of the opposite gender texting and talking. When I was a teen, we didn't stop talking to friends on the phone when they got a boyfriend/girlfriend, so I don't find that unusual either. 

 

Two things would make me wary in this instance. First, 17 is a lot older than 14, especially when they don't share particular interests. Second, he might be 'love-bombing' her with lots of attention so that she's reluctant to turn down his invitation to youth group. Because the girlfriend is the preacher's daughter, I think this is even more likely. 

 

We've had that happen time and again. One or two kids from a youth group start texting my kids frequently, they're just so nice and fun, and by the way, maybe they want to come to youth group? Not a regular meeting, more of a party, it will be so fun, it's really just to hang out, we really want to see you... 

 

The intense interest and texts stop as soon as they know dds are never going to youth group. 'Bringing a friend' is a strong focus in many youth groups, to the point that some of them offer recognition and prizes for it. 

 

So, I'd treat the youth group and the texting as two different issues. I wouldn't tell dd about the potential love-bomb at this point, bc it will likely only hurt her feelings and get defensive. It's extremely flattering to have an older teen take such an interest in you, and extremely hurtful to realize it's for an ulterior motive (not saying that it is for sure, but she'll find out soon enough). 

 

You say you have other reasons you are reluctant to allow her to go to the youth group, so simply bring those into play. My kids were quite happy to have me 'forbid' them to go to other youth groups, bc it cut the whole drama short, lol. Your dd may not be so happy about it, but maybe you could offer to host a teen event at your house or the park, to which these new friends could be invited. That removes socializing from the context of religion, and age difference is less of a concern in the context of a big, mixed-age group.

 

 

I know this is an unpopular stance, but I think that this situation is a very likely outcome of giving teenagers their own private communications networks (cell/text/FB/etc).  If you are going to allow cell/text, I think a policy of "we don't text people of the opposite gender" is a very good idea.  If they really want to talk, let him call the house phone (and he can learn to say, "Hello, Mrs. AimeeM, this BoyWhoWantstoTalktoYourDaughter.  May I speak to YourDaughter, please?") and they can *actually* talk.

<snip>

 

 

 

 

I actually think a cell is less private than a landline. With a landline, there is zero record of who you talked to or what was said. With a cell, there is, at minimum,  a record of calls and texts. Plus, lots of people don't even have landlines. 

 

I was in high school in the early 80s, and we all talked to people of the opposite gender on the phone, those with boyfriends/girlfriends and those without. Nobody listened in or asked who we were calling. I would say we had less oversight regarding who we talked to than kids do today. 

 

Texting,to me, can be the same as "actually" talking. It's just a different mode of communication. If you're not face-to-face, I'm not sure why verbal is superior to written. 

 

edited to partially fix weird formatting.

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a 14yo is most definitely NOT almost an adult.  I think a 14 yo's wishes should certainly be taken into consideration, but very few are ready to make adult decisions.

 

I don't think talking to a boy is "making an adult decision". Nor do I think joining a youth group is "making an adult decision". And if the OP was Jewish instead of Catholic, her DD would've had her bat mitzvah already, meaning she'd have responsibility for her own actions, i.e. be pretty much an adult.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

"Prior to reaching bar mitzvah age, the child's parents hold the responsibility for the child's actions. After this age, the boys and girls bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics, and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life."

 

 

That said, I said I think 14yos should *largely* be allowed to make their own decisions... not always in everything though. But, in less than 4 years the girl will legally be able to make whatever decisions she wants, so some amount of practice would be a good idea now, even if it might involve some drama.

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I think it is likely that he is trying to save your daughter, the assumption being that she is not already saved. However, that hardly means there are no intimate feelings accompanying his efforts. In my experience growing up in a similar environment, teens can fool everyone, including themselves, regarding the nature of their intentions. He may very well have romantic feelings for her, but he can hide them under the guise of caring for her spiritually. A lot, lol. His gf certainly can't complain and stand in the way of the Holy Spirit working, right? Your daughter's salvation is at stake after all, and he is just trying to save her!

 

what the what what?

 

I really must live under a rock.  What is he trying to save her from?

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So you know where I'm coming from:  I've long attended non-denom Bible churches which hold beliefs similar to SB churches.  I am not a fan of youth groups because I think too many take the approach, oh yay, let's go bowl/eat pizza/get locked in with little focus on true spiritual growth and discipleship.

 

 

It's not a good fit for theological reasons.  If this were my kid, I would focus on that issue ONLY.  It would not be any better or any different if this were a favorite girlfriend asking her to come along. I would leave anything about the boy out of it completely, as she will be protective and defensive of her friends.

 

Unless your dd is very familiar with and grounded in your Catholic beliefs, she will not easily recognize the difference beliefs of the other church.  If your faith, if HER faith, is important to you, you want to protect her from that. Don't let her go. She's 14.

 

And if this is important to you, why are you just planning now to get her involved in your own church's youth group?  (Not being snarky at all, just curious.)

It isn't important to me, really.

DD never wanted to be involved in our church youth groups because she didn't know anybody in it. She doesn't attend CCD at our parish (we do religious ed at home).

I think, though, that this may be an area where I have to insist she participates - at first. It was the same with art and chess club; she was hesitant because she didn't know anybody, but now she loves it (and has made friends in art and chess).

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what the what what?

 

I really must live under a rock. What is he trying to save her from?

Burning in hell after death

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what the what what?

 

I really must live under a rock.  What is he trying to save her from?

 

Hell, duh.

 

Only *real* xians of the right kind don't go to hell, right? Or something?

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what the what what?

 

I really must live under a rock.  What is he trying to save her from?

Baptists in this area do not believe Catholics are Christians, and do believe that they need to be "saved" (from the idol worshipping Catholic church, or something - not entirely sure). I know this much already.

DD looks at Youth Group as a fun activity. If I'm honest, if they were to say something to her along the lines of that she "needs to be saved" and that "Catholics aren't Christian." she is more likely to cause drama because she isn't one to think before she speaks and she is very likely to tell them that they can stick their doctrine in certain bodily crevices. I don't say that with any amount of pride, either - we have working to help her learn to think before she speaks and to curb her words a bit (i.e. you can get your point across without being offensive). We've been in this situation before, and I know how she'll react. 

The boy insists that it's just fun - but even the Christmas concert, which was not supposed to be a "service" did turn into a service with the preacher inviting people to speak to him about being saved, following Christ, not a religion, etc.

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Baptists in this area do not believe Catholics are Christians, and do believe that they need to be "saved" (from the idol worshipping Catholic church, or something - not entirely sure). I know this much already.

DD looks at Youth Group as a fun activity. If I'm honest, if they were to say something to her along the lines of that she "needs to be saved" and that "Catholics aren't Christian." she is more likely to cause drama because she isn't one to think before she speaks and she is very likely to tell them that they can stick their doctrine in certain bodily crevices. I don't say that with any amount of pride, either - we have working to help her learn to think before she speaks and to curb her words a bit (i.e. you can get your point across without being offensive). We've been in this situation before, and I know how she'll react. 

The boy insists that it's just fun - but even the Christmas concert, which was not supposed to be a "service" did turn into a service with the preacher inviting people to speak to him about being saved, following Christ, not a religion, etc.

 

If she's unlikely to be converted by them, then I'd explain to her that they'd probably try to convert her because they believe she isn't saved, since they *are* a religious youth group. That she shouldn't be rude about it if they do try to convert her, and then I'd be willing to let her go to the youth group if that's what she wanted to do. She and/or they will probably quickly figure out it's not a good match and that will be the end of that. Maybe there will be some drama, maybe not. Drama is not the end of the world.

 

And if the boy has more interest in her than just in converting her, her going to the youth group might be a good way for his girlfriend to find out that her boyfriend is a piece of work. In which case there is likely to be drama, but w/e.

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We had to put our foot down when neighbors kept trying to get our son to go with theirs to AWANA. We are Catholic and they know it. Finally asked them if their son could go with our boy to a Catholic youth group and they were aghast at the idea... then they "got it" and stopped with the AWANA invitations.

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Baptists in this area do not believe Catholics are Christians, and do believe that they need to be "saved" (from the idol worshipping Catholic church, or something - not entirely sure). I know this much already.

DD looks at Youth Group as a fun activity. If I'm honest, if they were to say something to her along the lines of that she "needs to be saved" and that "Catholics aren't Christian." she is more likely to cause drama because she isn't one to think before she speaks and she is very likely to tell them that they can stick their doctrine in certain bodily crevices. I don't say that with any amount of pride, either - we have working to help her learn to think before she speaks and to curb her words a bit (i.e. you can get your point across without being offensive). We've been in this situation before, and I know how she'll react. 

The boy insists that it's just fun - but even the Christmas concert, which was not supposed to be a "service" did turn into a service with the preacher inviting people to speak to him about being saved, following Christ, not a religion, etc.

 

Most youth groups are way too savvy to say anything of the sort until they feel dd is receptive.

 

And they always insist it's just for fun. That's why I always made sure there were other places for my kids to meet up with them - if it's not about religion, no reason it has to be at youth group or a church event, right? 

 

At 14, I would not forbid my kid from exploring another religion; however, it would be in the context of learning actual facts first, relating them to current beliefs, thinking about it, etc, all before so much as attending a church service (a service, not a youth group and not youth or children's church). 

 

Attending 'just for fun' youth groups is not the way to truly learn about a religion/denomination. 

 

For those who think that a 14-yr-old should 100% be able to decide to attend on their own, I would urge you to do a bit of research. Many of these youth groups use very sophisticated tactics that are a bit much for a young teen to deal with. Try googling stuff like love bombs, incentives to bring a friend to youth group,  youth group tactics, and so on. 

 

These are actual quotes/ideas from various sites on how a youth minister can 'pull in' a new kid: 

  • if they come to a meeting, play on their team in games
  • hang out at the fast food place closest to the high school or go to high school football games, and strike up conversations with the kids not in a crowd of friends
  • if they are wearing a Dr. Who or any special interest t-shirt, read up on it and casually bring it into conversation next time
  • invite them to your house to watch a movie or hang out
  • take them shopping 
  • offer incentives for inviting friends (ranging from pizza to extravagant praise to ipods!) 

Remember that many youth ministers are specifically trained in recruitment and development; it is a bit much to expect the average young teen to see past all of their tactics (some of which I find creepy and akin to 'grooming'). 

 

So, while I don't think it's either right or wrong to allow a 14-yr-old to make the decision, I do think it's worthwhile looking closely at the situation. 

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"offer incentives for inviting friends (ranging from pizza to extravagant praise to ipods!"

 

this. Neighbor said their boy would earn points (or something) for bringing in a new kid.

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I'm in the camp of Say No to the Youth group.  The age difference and the fact that they have no common interests are huge red flags to me.  I'd be keeping her busy and trying to find ways to help her find peers within her faith (or at least some that don't have a reputation for their disdain of all things Catholic.)  BTDT.  For myself and my kids.  It is amazing how fast things cooled once we passed on their invitation and affirmed our choice to remain Catholic.  My kids were the subject of bullying at our local homeschool Co Op.  I was shunned by most of the moms.  We didn't continue. 

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"offer incentives for inviting friends (ranging from pizza to extravagant praise to ipods!"

 

this. Neighbor said their boy would earn points (or something) for bringing in a new kid.

 

 

Yup.  When I was in high school, a Baptist friend won a VW bug for bringing friends to church and church events.  I think she had brought over 250 visitors to church in the course of the year.  

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