Jump to content

Menu

I'd like your reactions to this please (teen issue)


Recommended Posts

Reactions and comments, please...but none that look like lectures. :D I'm checking in with the larger body, the collective hive, to get a sense of where "we" are as we tread very gently into new territory with our young teen.

 

As is referenced in a post elsewhere by Paz, our daughter, who turned 13 in August, has struck up a friendship with a young man from El Salvador who is in our karate class. We've "known" him for over a year, as a classmate. We don't know much else about him except that he lives with a sister and that his parents are, we think, still in El Salvador. He is an 18 year old junior in high school who is very polite, friendly, and pleasant.

 

We have allowed our daughter to email back and forth with this fellow for some time now, and I have had several talks with her about how he is too old (and, more importantly she too young) for them to take things to the next level and consider themselves in a relationship. She is clear on that, and is mildly embarrassed that she "likes" him. She has said, "You know, it would just be so much easier if I didn't." Okay, so I appreciate that she's being above board with me on that. :) She also recently gave him her cell phone number with the understanding that she is not allowed to chat with him by phone. The cell phone is new for her, and I believe she just enjoys being able to tell people she has it. New toy, kwim? But, she is not abusing that priviledge in the least, and she does not have texting.

 

Okay, so all this is in place. Now, today...rather tonight, after karate class, the young man gave my daughter a Valentine. Not just a simple card, but a red silk rose and a box of candy. :eek: Apparently, he asked her if she would "get in trouble" if he gave them to her. Dd was quick to tell me, to tell her father, and flustered in an adorable way.

 

We did not react in anger at all. I, for one, am proud of the way our dd is managing this situation and this boy's attentions. I don't want her to feel as if her feelings are not valid, and I don't want to shut down her openness about all this. At the same time, I'm aware that each "new thing" that happens sends a message to this boy that is a bit risky. This is new ground for us. We are not inclined to disallow dating entirely, but we are not expecting to "allow" it for a few more years. I am curious to hear from others who may (or may not have) been in these circumstances. Words of advice or wisdom to share? Other parents currently navigating similar uncharted territory? Do share.

 

Doran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dd is only 11 and hasn't expressed the least bit of interest in boys (except for a poster of that HSM star above her bed, LOL!). My honest opinion is that you/she are playing w/ fire. Praise God your dd is so open and honest with you and your dh AND that you are so open with her. You sound like you are handling this situation with grace and ease (if only I can be that way when my dd is 13!). The issue here isn't really w/ your dd...it's w/ the young man. As nice as he sounds and respectful of your feelings..he is still 18 and in a completely different place than your dd emotionally, physically, hormonally, etc. Your dd (any 13 yo girl really) is being "swept off her feet" by his charm, gifts (as benign as they were!), attention, etc. It's a first for her, right? Personally, I would limit the computer time/emails. Good for you that you already established the phone boundries. Don't let your dd get to emotionally involved. She will get hurt if not by him then by you or dh if and when you start pulling her away, KWIM? Remember, I have NOT btdt so this is just my non-expert opinion. A friend's dd went through this when she was in high school. She was 16, the nice young man was in his 20's, a church going, Bible believing Christian. The kind of guy you WANT your dd to be with...just not at 16...when he is in his 20's. My friend's dd really fell for this guy and him for her so my friend had to put a stop to what there was of the relationship before it went too far emotionally. Her thinking was...if this relationship were meant to be it would wait until dd was older. Anyway, just mho. Sounds like you are really handling it great, though...better than I think I would!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think first of all that you being calm about this is the way to go. That said, I would not have permitted emails back and forth. Frankly I wouldn't want an 18 yr old boy to be involved with my 13 yr old daughter.

 

I've got five teens, two girls, and we've told them all for years that any "dating" will be done in a family context, under supervision. We don't have the courting thing all figured out yet, but we're working on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

to you but we put a rule in place years and years ago for our kids in response to a "boy-girl" problem that had arisen and we have stuck to it....you can only "date" kids your age or one year older.

 

In our situation this was to avoid any of our boys fighting over a girl, but it is a handy rule in that it deals with this other issue as well - wanting to date people of an inappropriate age.

 

Here's what I'd say, Doran, and I appreciate how "good" your daughter is and how careful you are being. An 18 year old boy is an 18 year old boy. Of course she likes him if he's nice, sweet, paying attention to her, etc. But there are big red warning lights flashing off all around.

 

1. Why is an 18 yo boy pursuing her? I'm sure she's a great kid, but...she's a kid. On some level this boy is wanting a relationship where he has the "power", even if it's for a relatively benign reason like he doesn't want to be dumped by an equal.

 

2. If he knows she might get in trouble for getting that kind of valentine, why did he do it? In other words, he's testing her, he's testing you and he's getting some kind of kick out of "getting away with something."

 

3. Um....he's 18. You don't want your 13 yo with an 18 yo. 'Nuff said. And I think it's better to head it off now rather than later when it's gotten too entrenched and too far.

 

4. Situations like these are thrilling for the 13 yo while it's in the romantic pre-dating stage. It can be a nightmare later. Protect her innocence and childhood. Don't let him drag her out of it before her time, even if she thinks she's going willingly. I doubt your dd wants anything more (really) than to be adored by some older guy. She doesn't want to be stuck in a serious relationship, she doesn't want heavy petting and she sure doesn't want sex. Not really. Not even if her hormones or body may make her think she does.

 

What would I do? The next chance I would take this kid aside and tell him, "Look, you seem like a nice guy, but you are crossing our boundaries. My daughter is not allowed to date and won't be for three more years. The way you have acted now means that I can't even trust you to be friends, let alone her boyfriend and that's sad - she would have liked to be your friend. It's time for you to back off. My daughter knows why I'm asking you to do this. She won't be pursuing a friendship, either. It's okay for you to talk in class, but not to call or email her outside of class. I expect you to respect my wishes in this."

 

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this and I expect you really know what you want to do - since you're the one there seeing all this. But some of this comes from personal experience. Those few years between 13 and 18 make all the difference in the world, really - you want to protect your daughters as much as you can for those important years, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take my opinion for what it is worth to you as I am not of the courting or no dating allowed crowd--I simply could not do that to my child.

 

That said, she IS only 13 and even though I am not a reactionary person, him being 18 would, in fact, slightly bother me (yes, really!). I **might** allow him to talk to her on the phone, for a set amount of time, with her in my presence, I would allow email, but I would be very clear with him on the boundaries because no matter how much I don't like it, the law says he can be labeled a sex offender for dating her and I'd want to seriously avoid that, especially since he is not.

 

That said, I'd allow her to have the valentine. I'd allso speak to the young man the next time you saw him because in his native country, these things just are not a problem for them. They are used to "courting" at a younger age becuase their survival rate just isn't as high as the US's is.

 

So for us, I wouldn't allow dating at his age with her, but I would allow a friendship with very strict boundaries (yes, I'm serious!). My DD has been "dating" since she was 13--her first "boyfriend" was a young man who I thought was a decent boy, homeschooled, Christian--he turned out to be abusive and SHE dumped him (made momma proud too). Her second "boyfriend" was actually the boy I homeschool now. We are neighbors and SHE dumped him because he (in the past) had a horrible mouth and she did not like it one bit. They are still best friends, but he's learned his lesson because my DD stood her ground.

 

Now, she's 15 going on 16 and she's dating the young man's best friend and this would also be the first boy she's kissed (cheek!) and held hands with and I don't have a problem with it one bit because I know his mom quite well and her and I are on the exact same page--we break bones if anything else happens :)

 

Honestly, if you can believe this, I do have a problem with the age difference, right now. Were she 14/15, I might not. But I would also take in to consideration his upbringing and try to get him on the same page as you. If he disagrees, then call up the Auntie Posse (me) for some bone breaking. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have similar views to Toni about allowing the friendship with strict boundaries. I was never interested in boys my age or 1 year older in high school as they seemed to me to be way too immature (not that I was the model of maturity). My parents handled the first few years in a similar fashion, but actually, the first guy (18) who was seriously interested in me decided on his own that I was too young (I was 14) to date. My parents, who had heard of our interest in each other, had already told me I could only see him at our house in our living room. This was quite generous, as this guy's older sister and brother were drug pushers--not every parent would give someone in the same family that much of a chance.

 

I will say that when I was 16 and had a 22 year old boyfriend, it wasn't my emotions that got too serious, but his. I was sure I was too young to fall in love and get serious, but he was ready to be serious. Not all 22 yo's are, but he married his very next girlfriend and they've been happy together, which makes me happy because I really did care for him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is hard. I have all boys but can imagine how protective I'd feel of a daughter. I'm not sure, but I think if I were in your shoes, I'd stop everything now. They can be friends in class, but that's it. The age difference is so big. I'd probably feel differently if the young man in question were 13-14, but 18 is just too much of an age difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course, dh would have scared the guy away by now, but it sounds like you all

keep much cooler heads than we do :)

 

I have a 14 and 12 y.o.

Dating isn't really an issue because we have talked with them about having a courtship mindset since they were much younger and it's pretty much taken for granted now.

But, as they have gotten older and had more opportunity to meet other kids and develop friendships on their own, the question of the 'type' of friends they choose has come up (especially with our 14 y.o.) and we have learned the last thing we want to do when discouraging a friendship is to lay down the law and forbid it.

It just makes the other person all the more attractive.

Instead we keep our dc busy enough that contact is kept to a minimum, and then closely supervised when they do get together.

We also talk alot about how friends come and go but family stays forever-this impacts dd much more than ds, who is our main challenge.

 

No doubt, your dd is flattered by the attention, but I think I'd have some heart to heart talks with her about the type of attention she is getting and developing some discernment in encouraging certain friendships.

A valentine to her may just be a valentine-to an 18 y.o. boy it may be something else altogether.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Amy on this one. The age difference is too much... I think your dd needs protection from either the pain that could arise from being too inexperienced in relationships to be able to handle her interaction with her well, or from the potential danger of him being overpowering... or even obsessed. I'm so sorry that you have to face making this choice, that I'm going to go give you some rep points right now just for being such a sensitive mom.

 

Good luck to you,

Robin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surprisingly the age thing is not the issue for me. The biggest issue is not knowing much about the boy. I don't yet know how we'll handle the dating thing in the future. I tend to think along the courtship lines, but dh thinks the whole thing is a little weird. :-) But, the nicest, purest, most un-pushy boy I ever dated was a senior when I was a freshman. In fact, he was my first real boyfriend and gave me an unrealistic picture of how boys can be. The one who was the most aggressive (and I dumped him) was a year younger than me. So, I don't think age alone should be the factor. Now, having said that, there is no way on God's green earth that my dd will be dating anyone at 13. NOT gonna happen!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've tried to forestall premature romance because it was quite unhealthy in my young life. I was completely addicted to the chase, to romance, to flirtation. So we've been honest with our kids about my precociousness and encouraged them "not to awaken or arouse love before its time".

 

And we got horses. Those furry four-legged boyfriends are pretty enamoring. Do you think you'd have problems with the city zoning officials if you got a horse????

 

 

I was the kind of girl who got put on restriction for whole summers at a time, but unbeknownst to my parents, I free ranged out the window every night! So, when I look at myself, putting the complete kabosh on things just made me sneaky. I would examine carefully your daughter's typical reactions before I just slammed a door shut for her. I'm of two minds about what course I would take: 1)include the young man as a part of the family and *only* as part of the family or 2)wean her away without her really realizing it. But I guess ultimately I would be uncomfortable with the relationship blooming outside of my watchful eye. I remember myself too well! And there are some memories that just shouldn't have been made at age 13.

 

 

 

**My dd just asked what I was posting about, so I told her. She remarked, "Yeah, all my boyfriends have tails." Tee hee!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, I think you're managing this extremely well right now. Make sure if you do interefere that you maintain good rapport with your daughter.

 

Frankly, I think the age gap is too big. 18-13 If she meets a nice boy under 16 or so I'd me more open to the idea.

 

As for the boy, he seems good, courteous and straightforward. I'd treat him well. Tell him the age difference is difficlut and you feel your daughter is too young to date adults, recommend he find somebody closer in age to him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still have young children, but I was once the 13 year old with an 18 year old "friend", in fact, he was our pastor's son. I think I was a lot like your daughter. I got my first rose on Valentine's Day from the friend. I was horrified, but thought that I should be flattered. He was a nice guy, polite, etc., but I really wish my Mom would have said something to him. I agree with all the posters who said that you should talk to the boy and let him know that right now your daughter is too young to be dating/courting. It would have been so nice to have had my Mom be the 'bad guy' and for me to just enjoy the innocence of knowing someone liked me but I had no pressure to respond to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope my reactions and comments won't look like a lecture.;) With all boys, the oldest of whom isn't yet 13, I'm in no position to be lecturing, anyway. But since reactions are allowed, I'll share mine. I think you're going to need to reverse directions here, big time. Imo, you're sending your daughter mixed messages. On the one hand, you say you don't expect to "allow" dating for a few more years. You've nicely, calmly told your daughter that she's not old enough to take her relationship with this boy to the next level. On the other hand, she's allowed to email with him. He's a nice young man, I've no doubt, and perhaps a lonely one since he's from elsewhere. But a guy about whom you know very little ~ a guy who, imo, shouldn't be particularly interested in hanging with a girl five years his junior. So-o-o-o...why would they be allowed to further their friendship/relationship by emailing one another?

 

Next thing that comes to mind is the cell phone issue. She gave him her number with the understanding that he can't call? Now she's sending him mixed messages. I'd certainly be a tad confused if a guy gave me his number and asked me not to call.

 

As far as the Valentine gift is concerned, that may be what he thought was expected of him. It's a bit awkward, since he's from another country and we don't know how he views this Hallmark holiday. (Heck, most of us don't know how to view it!;)) But bottom line, he has formed an attachment to your daughter (and she to him) and she is too young to manage this by herself. So as others have suggested, you need to step in and explain to this to him. It's commendable, Doran, that you value your daughter's feelings and don't want to shut her down. But don't be afraid to establish the boundaries that you feel are best for her. I so wish someone had done that for me, when I was the young teen being befriended by older guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Here's what I'd say, Doran, and I appreciate how "good" your daughter is and how careful you are being. An 18 year old boy is an 18 year old boy. Of course she likes him if he's nice, sweet, paying attention to her, etc. But there are big red warning lights flashing off all around.

 

 

What would I do? The next chance I would take this kid aside and tell him, "Look, you seem like a nice guy, but you are crossing our boundaries. My daughter is not allowed to date and won't be for three more years. The way you have acted now means that I can't even trust you to be friends, let alone her boyfriend and that's sad - she would have liked to be your friend. It's time for you to back off. My daughter knows why I'm asking you to do this. She won't be pursuing a friendship, either. It's okay for you to talk in class, but not to call or email her outside of class. I expect you to respect my wishes in this."

 

Jennifer once again said it for me. Two addendums I would make -- an 18 year old is a MAN in the eyes of the law, and all statutes (IYKWIM) apply for him, and because of their age difference, for them.

 

I remember being 13 and having an 18 y/o boyfriend. And I was very upfront with the adults in my life -- about the parts that I *wanted* to be upfront about. Them thinking I was very upfront and open allowed me to get away with... I don't want to think about it. :eek: It ended badly enough as it did, and it could have easily ended very, VERY badly. Life-long consequences badly. Ugh. *shudder*

 

In addition to the kind way that Jennifer talked about *him* taking the responsibility for staying the hell away from your dd, personally I would be reminding him that dh has a shotgun, heavy weights, and access to miles and miles of open ocean. ;)

 

{{{Doran}}}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just kidding. But, natalieclare, I loved your response!! :D

 

Doran, it sounds like your focus is on keeping your relationship with your dd in a happy place through all this, and that's good. As we just read in the lying article, that doesn't have to mean permissiveness, which you're not leaning to, which is good.

 

So, brava. Doing well so far, as far as I can see.

 

Going forward, I think you can go in two directions that are each potentially okay (and I might get flak for one of them), but in completely opposite directions. I think the general reaction here is correct--you are currently going in a direction that is fraught with potential danger.

 

Your daughter is old enough and your relationship with her strong enough that you can be open with her about the fact that a choice needs to be made on how to proceed, and solicit her input (which is not the same as a vote).

 

So, option 1, which every one is suggesting, is cutting off all non-class-related contact with the kid. It sounds like your dd would probably follow your wishes in this, at least initially, but you and she should be prepared for this to spark more interest/contact/boundary-locating from the guy. (And this could be in a fairly innocent way--"Well, am I allowed to even chat with you after class??"--or a decidedly not-innocent way--"Your mom won't know if I'm calling, will she?") If you talk about it with her beforehand, let her know that you won't be blaming her for anything he says or does, and tell her that she can and should come to you with anything, I'm sure you'll be fine. It sounds like she cares about maintaining your trust, and so you can probably get through option 1 in a relatively smooth fashion, even if the guy (who probably is really just a sweet kid who likes your dd because, well, who wouldn't?) starts showing other colors.

 

Option 2 is start having him over for dinner.

 

By that I mean that if she knows she's not ready for dating but still seems to "like" the guy, still wants to have something more than an after-class-friendship with him, she needs to have every. single. part. of that relationship happening right in front of you. All emails from both of them get cc'ed to you. No cell phone calls, or maybe only in the evening and when she's right in front of you. No going to mutual friends' houses together. No dates. Invite him to the house as often as she likes (within reason), and no, none, not a single minute where they are not in your presence together.

 

And it has to be clear to both of them that the first time this "in my eyesight at all times" thing gets violated, by either of them, the relationship is over. And that this is going to be the way things are for the next 5 years, non-negotiable, yes-I'm-serious, and-I'm-chaperoning-the-prom-if-you-guys-go-together.

 

Now, option 2 is fraught with more danger than option 1. But it's less danger, I think, than the path you're taking now. And the danger is more about what happens two or three years from now than what happens in the next two months, which is when your current path starts heading into the Fire Swamp. And it has the benefit of sounding absolutely ridiculous, which could just make your daughter say, "Wait a minute, do I want to be chained to this guy for the next five years?! Fuggedaboudit!" Even explaining it to her would likely push her to choose option 1, esp. since you "could probably see her dating with fewer restrictions in a couple years, if only it were a guy her age . . . "

 

To be quite honest, I couldn't say which one I'd pick if I were in your shoes. But I really think these are your only two not-icky choices.

 

Well, three, if you'll consider the horses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more thing, Doran.

Mine is only ten, but I did witness a friend's experience with his 13yodd. I think too many people had too much access to her. When I was a kid and someone called - the house phone rang and mom answered and knew who we were talking to, or we answered and she heard the entire conversation because the phone was attached to the wall and the house was small.

 

Take this please with the love I am sending with it....

You said:

She also recently gave him her cell phone number with the understanding that she is not allowed to chat with him by phone.

What's the point of that?

I would only let friends call MY house phone for my kids.

 

My friend's dd was influenced easily. Was going through a divorce @ home. Made NEW friends the parents did not know. Called her whenever they wanted to - even after 10pm!!! At 13 this girl lost her v*rg*nity in the woods to a boy she just met while spending the night at a "friend's" house whose parents were so obliterated they never knew the kids were gone.

 

Obviously your kid is different - YOU are different.

It's a completely different situation.

But please don't let her cell phone number out of your control.

 

FWIW - I actually like the valentine.

Just not his age.

But in five years........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

at that age and it was a total disaster. One thing that you always need to keep in mind is that whatever she does now, will not be new and exciting later. OUr family personally does not believe in dating. Have you looked into the idea of courting? If she were of the courting mindset, you could easily have her explain to this young man, that she will not accept valentines or other tokens of love until someone asks to court her which is a pre-engagement scenario.

 

Before then, she makes clear to every young man that she believes only in friendship or courting (in which a young man has a meeting with her and her parents and says he is considering asking for her hand in marriage and would like to spend considerably more time with her, with chaperone always present to be sure she is the one before he proposes)....

 

and that friendship should be primarily just emails or group situations, but never tokens of affection.

 

This may help your dd to continue with this friendship and both of them know it won't accidentally turn into anything else.

 

I just have to say your dd is handling this beautifully. She sounds so honest and close with her parents. I am so amazed that you are also handling this so calmly.

 

This really has major potential for disaster. I personally would not want my dd in that situation...can you transfer her to the adults women's classes?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read the other replies, nor have I btdt, but my first thought was that your dh needs to have a friendly but firm chat with the young man and explain that, while your dd enjoys his company and is flattered by his attention, she is far too young for any sort of romantic attachment. The young man may not realize how tender a girl's heart can be - or he may, but may not understand that the age difference makes this a no-go situation. I would let your dd know that this conversation is happening and make clear any expectations about her behavior as well.

 

Bless you for being so careful with your dd's heart! I have heard so many stories from my age-peers and from younger ladies about their teen heartbreaks. Often the parents had no idea what was going on, or did, but thought nothing of it. The fact that your dd is so open with you speaks volumes about your love and care for her. Keep up the excellent work!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've gotten some good advice here and I would like to share just a bit about my experience.

I became involved with older guys when I should have been just hanging out at the mall (it was safe back then:)). It lead slowly but steadily into a downward spiral. I'll spare you all of the details but I will say I am very blessed to be here today.

The fact that he is 18 sends a huge red flag to me. He may be a very polite and innocent young man, but you really don't know much about him and what his motives are.

I know this isn't any help, but I just want you to know that I went down that road and it was absolutely horrible. Life-changing, and for awhile life-defining.

I'll be praying for you and your dd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I"m pretty much in the same camp as most of the other posters. The guy, while probably very nice, is just too old for a 13-year old. I like Plaid Dad's suggestion of having your dh have a talk with him. In addition, I'd ditch the cell phone. Why does your dd have one if she's not allowed to use it? Is there a reason for her to have it? Our rule w/ our kids is that they can get a cell phone once they are employed and able to pay for it themselves. If that day hasn't come, I'll give them my cell if they are going somewhere they'll need one. As far as emails go, I think this is a slippery slope as well. My kids use the family email, and they know I can read whatever comes in. We've recently allowed our ds (15) to get his own email account; he also has Facebook (but we are friends on Facebook and monitor things).

 

Hugs, Doran. Raising teens is always a bit of a guessing game. You'll figure this out.

 

Ria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and , nicely of course (I like giving him the benefit of the doubt) tell him to back off. Point out that in a few years a five year age difference won't matter as much but for now he is a MAN getting involved with a CHILD. And we just don't do that here.

 

On the other hand - how romantic for a 13-yr-old to be getting so much attention from an older guy! The romantic teen in my is getting all warm and fuzzy about it...which is what sends off red warning lights in my adult self.:rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I originally posted late last night and spent all day today full-on busy, so this is my first opportunity to read through your replies and respond. They were, for the most part, the replies I expected "you'd" have and not terrifically far removed from my own feelings on the matter. With one exception. I am troubled by the prospect of asking these kids to end their relationship completely. I realize this probably sounds naive on my part, though I would argue that it is not. And I also recognize that although I don't need to feel especially charitable towards this young man, I do. Mostly because I'm not sure he realizes that he's done anything so wrong. As GothicGyrl said, I have the sense (though I don't know it outright) that culturally, there is a difference of approach going on. I don't think he really understands that, to us parents, it feels terribly inappropriate for him to be paying so much attention to our young daughter. Of course, he's a testosterone laden guy, but he's also still a novice to our country's customs. My guess is -- and admittedly, this would be a case of us allowing our daughter to send mixed signals -- he doesn't see that he's really doing anything that wrong. In order for him to "get that", he needs to hear it from the parents. That has not happened. I feel we owe him the courtesy of a real conversation about our wishes. He has only heard those as translated through our daughter. It will sound different coming from one of us. At this point, we would be remiss in not having that conversation, but up to now, there was no real reason for us to assume it was necessary. The Valentine changed that.

 

JennifersLost says:

 

The way you have acted now means that I can't even trust you to be friends, let alone her boyfriend and that's sad - she would have liked to be your friend. It's time for you to back off.
I disagree. I think, probably, more than anything, this fellow wants a friend. If, after a direct, friendly conversation with me and/or dh, to explain to him what the boundaries are, he still doesn't comply, then I think there would be reason to curtail contact. But now? Now seems harsh and without compassion for either of these kids' feelings.

 

I consider my own junior high years in private school. As an eighth grader, I had already had a "first relationship" which was sweet and harmless. I was in school, where I giggled and blushed and twittered on all day long about girls, and about boys. I had exposure to the nuances of the way boys and girls relate -- not the big, illegal, loss of virginity bombs. I'm talking about the little stuff. The stuff that helped me start learning how to navigate being around boys without being a complete idiot, although that lesson took about a gazillion more years for me to get.

 

In the homeschool environment, especially here in a small community where interactions with peers are so limited, how else is a young person to learn how to "do" that stuff? I imagine sending our daughter to the public high school next year (this is a strong possibility) with absolutely no exposure to this kind of experience. What does she do then, when she's gone 8 hours a day and interacting with boys who may be the same age but who I can't see, who I don't meet? Will there be more or less "sexual tension" at that stage of her life? Will she be better served by her parents shutting down this, her first foray into a "relationship" with a boy, or by her parents helping to guide her through it, helping her see that it could be dangerous, that it may not be what she wants, that it may even be odd that a young man of 18 would be "pursuing" a young woman of 13.

 

I believe that all of the reactions offered here are valid and I really do appreciate them. But, I think we've got one more step to go before we get there -- that being the pointed conversation. The one that lays out all the details. The one spoken by the parent(s) to the guy. In my ideal world, there would be some way to preserve the openness, the acceptance my daughter is offering to this fellow who is, I'm thinking, not well received in his high school because he's different. Yes, absolutely, she is flattered by his attention. To boot, her closest two friends are 15 year old girls. She herself is a decidedly mature teen. She neither looks nor acts like the "typical" 13 year old. That could be disadvantageous in these situations, for sure. But, they are realities that are not going to disappear. We've got to help her learn how to deal with them in ways that are appropriate for her and appropriate for us. I think we have some more work to do, and a little more trial (hopefully without the error) before we put the total kibosh on this thing.

 

I certainly feel supported by all of you. It's good to know I have this community for feedback.

 

Peace,

Doran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm coming to this late but for what it is worth, I don't think his age or the age difference is the real issue, but simply your DDs young age. When she is 18 and he 23, no big deal. I would attempt to incorporate the young man as a family friend but I'd discourage/forbid any private communication/activities between just him and your DD. So, no e-mails and no phone calls, but he could come to dinner at your house every so often, etc.

 

Pegasus

(Mom to DD11 and DD8)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just kidding. But, natalieclare, I loved your response!! :D

 

Option 2 is start having him over for dinner.

 

By that I mean that if she knows she's not ready for dating but still seems to "like" the guy, still wants to have something more than an after-class-friendship with him, she needs to have every. single. part. of that relationship happening right in front of you. All emails from both of them get cc'ed to you. No cell phone calls, or maybe only in the evening and when she's right in front of you. No going to mutual friends' houses together. No dates. Invite him to the house as often as she likes (within reason), and no, none, not a single minute where they are not in your presence together.

 

And it has to be clear to both of them that the first time this "in my eyesight at all times" thing gets violated, by either of them, the relationship is over. And that this is going to be the way things are for the next 5 years, non-negotiable, yes-I'm-serious, and-I'm-chaperoning-the-prom-if-you-guys-go-together.

 

.

 

That's what my parents did. No one had cell phones or PCs when I was 14. Our living room was not private--no doors to close, lots of 3 foot walls (it was built in 1972 and the architect was a hippie, lol, later a yuppie). Everything would have been in plain sight. That way they would avoid the repercussions of major rebellion (I was rebellious to some degree already), etc. I also went to ps, so it's not like they could watch me all the time, so this would have been smart had the guy not been too conscientious to date a 14 yo (he was very kind and quite suprised to find out I was only 14--I didn't lie about my age.)

 

I have had friends who dated at 13 and it rarely turned out well if it was unsupervised, but not always dastardly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course, he's a testosterone laden guy, but he's also still a novice to our country's customs. My guess is -- and admittedly, this would be a case of us allowing our daughter to send mixed signals -- he doesn't see that he's really doing anything that wrong.

Doran

 

I think that you've gotten a lot of good advice already. I wanted to add two thoughts. The first is that it is possible that he is looking at dd from the point of view that a 15 year old might in fact be of marriageble age. I am presuming a lot here about what his home background might be. But it is not inconceivable that he might consider 13 much closer to marriage than you or your dd do.

 

The second thought, and I will admit up front that it is uncharitable, is that a relationship and marriage to an American might have advantages from an immigration and visa standpoint. Part of why this comes to mind is that it was very common for young women from Turkish families in Germany to be married to men from Turkey in order to bring them to Europe. On the other hand, your dd is not old enough to marry without consent. However, the young man may be filtering this through a younger marriage custom.

 

I'm not trying to sling mud on a man who may not deserve it. But it was a thought that I had yesterday when I read your original post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...your dd is not old enough to marry without consent. However, the young man may be filtering this through a younger marriage custom.

 

You could be right, and I referenced the potential for cultural differences in my reply today. That doesn't make it "right" for us, but it does make it seem less like he's some pseudo-pedophile (not that anyone implied that either!) :rolleyes:

 

Doran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And say, "Son, you're a nice young man but you are too old for my daughter. You may be friendly with her in karate class, but she is too young to date, to chat or IM or Text with you. Please respect our position on this and do what you can to make sure her heart and spirit are not damaged."

 

Also, I can't help but wonder if the age difference is a non-issue in San Salvador. Maybe there is some cultural component that puts a better spin on this than we might here in the USA.

 

Also, are you 100% certain that HE knows she is only 13? Maybe he is assuming she is older.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And say, "Son, you're a nice young man but you are too old for my daughter. You may be friendly with her in karate class, but she is too young to date, to chat or IM or Text with you. Please respect our position on this and do what you can to make sure her heart and spirit are not damaged."

 

Also, I can't help but wonder if the age difference is a non-issue in San Salvador. Maybe there is some cultural component that puts a better spin on this than we might here in the USA.

 

Also, are you 100% certain that HE knows she is only 13? Maybe he is assuming she is older.

 

 

Sorry for the cliche opening line there...I loved that song as a kid, and almost rented the movie today.

 

About your post -- at the risk of sounding unappreciative, which is not the way I feel -- yes, your remarks are fairly universal. I practically said the same thing in my post just above...or I tried to. And, yes, it seems likely that his country does things differently than we do in the US when it comes to "courtship". Hence my reason for wanting to speak to him ourselves rather than treating him like a mangy guy with only one thing on his mindIf it turns out he IS a mangy guy with only one thing on his mind, at least I will have done my part to educate him a bit about one US family's customs. :o Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Doran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And, yes, it seems likely that his country does things differently than we do in the US when it comes to "courtship".

 

Doran, I've been interested in all the comments, but especially the cultural points made above. My own 13yo dd had a similar situation here and the cultural difference never crossed my mind. My oldest daughter is a knockout-gorgeous 17yo who has been forced to deal with (often unwanted) male attention since she was 12. Conversely, her next youngest sister has grown up sort of in her shadow, not realizing how lovely she is herself. She is also quite tiny and until recently looked a year or two younger than she actually is. So when the 17yo (very good-looking) Mexican boy across the street started coming over to chat whenever he saw Jenna reading on the porch, we were all blindsided by the attention he was showing her. We weren't really sure how to handle it. My first reaction was, "keep that child indoors!" and her older sister was ready to threaten the young man with bodily harm. Jenna insisted he was just friendly :p She is still pretty naive.

 

I never considered the cultural angle. Maybe I should have since my husband's family is from South America, but he was born in the states and is very American in his outlook. Luckily the young man in question moved away before things got out of hand, but I wasn't prepared at all so I understand how easy it can be to find yourself unexpectedly mired in a situation.

 

That said, you asked for advice. Doran, do you realize that if you don't discourage the relationship, a relationship is what you're going to have to deal with? I don't mean that in a judgemental way, but as a way to look at this thing with a realistic eye. Take this to its logical conclusion. They obviously have feelings for one another, so it's no longer a question of whether they will date or develop a romance because it has already happened. I think the next step is to move out of the "how do I keep them friends" phase and move into the "how do I manage this romance so no one is too hurt" phase. I like the idea of pulling him into the family, allowing them to see one another but only in the context of the family. Also, I'd cut out the email...it's easier to say things in writing you'd never say in person. House phone only...no cell phone.

 

Explain to your daughter it's not a matter of trusting her, but of protecting her. Feelings this large are difficult to manage even as an adult, so you will provide scaffolding to support her while she's learning to handle them.

 

Barb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Feelings this large are difficult to manage even as an adult, so you will provide scaffolding to support her while she's learning to handle them.

 

No advice, but just wanted to tell you, Barb, what a terrific quote this is and a great way to approach our parenting of these young people. (My dh HATES the word teenagers ;))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No advice, but just wanted to tell you, Barb, what a terrific quote this is and a great way to approach our parenting of these young people. (My dh HATES the word teenagers ;))

 

Thank you for saying so, Heather. Too bad the philosophy formed too late to stave off a really bad situation with my oldest dd about 2 years ago, but live and learn. She was always such a 'good girl' so I was so shocked to learn she was sneaking around to see this kid I'd grounded her from. He was a doofus and I don't know what she saw in him, but we all have one of those in our past, LOL. Thank goodness she came out of it relatively unharmed and we both learned a lot in the process. I'm happy to hear the guy in question in Doran's situation seems respectful. Our guy was manipulative and unwilling to respect our (or even her) boundaries, and I was shocked to see how our strong daughter was easily led when faced with this kind of person. Made me realize even the strong ones need more support than we may realize.

 

Barb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

II am troubled by the prospect of asking these kids to end their relationship completely.

 

I knew you were going to say that.:) I know you want be equitable to everyone in this scenario ~ and that you aren't comfortable dictating the end of relationship.

 

I feel we owe him the courtesy of a real conversation about our wishes. He has only heard those as translated through our daughter. It will sound different coming from one of us.

 

Right ~ and that's what many here recommended: A pointed conversation with him directly. Question is, what are you going to convey during that conversation? I really, truly appreciate that you want to give this guy (and your daughter) the benefit of the doubt, Doran. But please don't be afraid to be (or have your husband be) the authority figure here. They need it. As Barb said, it's not a question of whether to allow a relationship; rather, of how to direct the relationship that already exists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoa! I would stop this in a firm, but gentle way. I would make sure my dd understood why, but I would stop it. I am thinking that if it looks like a horse, smells like a horse, whinnies like a horse...it is a horse. Don't fool yourself into thinking it is a zebra, 'cause love is in the air, my darlin'.

 

Josie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you have a problem. I think they actually do have a romantic relationship, even if it is within certain bounds. If it was a 14 year old boy, fine, but the difference between a man of 18 and a girl of 13 is too vast in their emotional development, expectations, and experience. There are likely to be cultural differences in dating and what is appropriate in the country he's from.

 

You are dealing with an adult having a romantic relationship with your 13 year old, so I think as the adults in your family, you need to deal with him, not ask her to deal with him. Because of the cultural differences, it will be important that your dh is the one to speak to him. I would suggest that dh explains that in the US, it is not appropriate for their to be relationship between an adult male and a 13 year old girl, return the Valentine gifts, and ask him not to email. This is for his protection as well as hers. If there is any touching, in most states, he's in legal trouble. Additionally, I'd stay in class with her and sit there and watch. That will keep in check any potential "flirtly" interactions, or if they are there, you will see them.

 

I would also get a new cell phone number for her and set up a rule whereby she must check before that number is given to anyone. He will not be on the list. Right now, I'd scour the phone bill and make sure that they are not calling. Your dd may not be telling you everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I know this is a difficult situation. One of our dc got involved in a relationship similar to this. It's very difficult to undo what has been done where the heart is involved.

 

What we did was talk to this child about why we would rather not see such a relationship develop at this stage of life. I think it helped that we had already been talking about why we would rather see lots of friendships with others as opposed to serious one on one relationships - esp. at a young age. We used examples of others our child knew who had been hurt, talked about the inevitable conclusion of the relationship, our own experiences and regrets, etc. Then we prayed with our child and on our own - a lot.

 

I think our child thought about all of this and decided on their own to "end" the relationship in the form it had developed into. Not cut off completely, just stop some parts of it. Anyway, the reaction of the other person involved confirmed many of the things we had talked about and our child came to us saying, "You were right." The relationship died completely at that point. Our relationship with our child was preserved.

 

I hope that there is a peaceful conclusion to this situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

your position, Doran - I really do. And you're right in that forbidding something may be unfair or even counter-productive. I guess one question to ask yourself is are you ready to make this kid a big part of your life? Because it sounds like if you go forward in this way you might need to. Or, it could be you say a little something in his ear, he gets totally embarrassed and that's the end of it.

 

All I know is that as a freshman and sophomore in high school I attended several parties hosted by one of my friends' older brothers. Plenty of senior girls attended these parties, but me and my friends (all about 14 yo) received a heck of a lot of attention from all those senior boys. And in every (EVERY) case the attention to me translated into trying to get into my pants. I don't think these were "BAD" kids, either. They were just 17 - 18 yo boys with a lot of raging hormones and 14 yo girls looked like easy pickings.

 

Having said that, I hated all interference from my parents as a teen and I felt they really interfered. Because I didn't get enough attention from boys my own age, I skipped them, made myself a fake ID, started hanging out in bars and went straight from 17 year-olds to 30-something year old men.

 

And yes, ended up a complete basket case for years. So, I appreciate the fact that you're trying to handle this differently. Most likely, if this kid finds out that he can hang out with your daughter, but there are going to be four adult eyes following his every move, then if it's sex he's after he'll disappear pretty quickly. If he turns out to be just a lonely kid, then everything could be fine.

 

Just remember that hormones rage on both sides, and it doesn't take much unsupervised time to accomplish "the deed". And young men can be very, very, very persuasive, especially when young women are feeling a bit carried away themselves.

 

Man, I wish we could have kept up the pretense with my boys that sex before you're 18 was a capital offense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People, I really do feel grateful for each of you taking time to post. You have given me your honest "reactions" and in some cases a new perspective has been brought to the table. Unfortunately, at this point, I'm starting to feel lectured. This is the result of so many replies all basically saying the same thing but not really noting that we do intend to take action. That action was stated clearly here:

 

"If, after a direct, friendly conversation with me and/or dh, to explain to him what the boundaries are, he still doesn't comply, then I think there would be reason to curtail contact."

Yes, it may become necessary for us parents to play hard ball. But, we're going to do our best to give this story a reasonably happy ending. I don't look forward to any of us having to spend class time with a guy who has a chip on his shoulder. He may have one anyway when all is said and done, but I'm going to be sure we've done our part to be considerate first.

 

Please know that I have taken your replies to heart, and have shared the gist of them with dh. He is (in fact already was) in total agreement. We will be acting on "our next step" as soon as possible. Not sure how that will transpire. Maybe we'll invite the guy here for dinner (and ship out the younger sister for a couple of hours :o), or we'll invite him out to dinner. I will let you all know how it goes.

 

Oh, for the record, am in the same karate class with both daughters and this young man. I take the class, I don't drop off my kid and leave. We have been in class with this young man for over a year. The two kids in question do not have any unsupervised time together, and I have already informed my dd that if we didn't get the results we want from our own conversation, I would be informing their sensei as back up. :D

 

I know that you only want what's best for my daughter. We're all on the same page on that one. So, thank you, truly, for your care and concern.

 

As it happens, poor daughter is really sick today -- she's been slammed with a respiratory infection that came on overnight and has her feverish and feeling awful. On top of that, her cycle started today. Talk about rains it pours! So, I'm feeling very protective and sad for this beautiful budding woman in my house today. We'll do right by her, you can mark my words!

 

Doran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, at this point, I'm starting to feel lectured. This is the result of so many replies all basically saying the same thing but not really noting that we do intend to take action. That action was stated clearly here:

"If, after a direct, friendly conversation with me and/or dh, to explain to him what the boundaries are, he still doesn't comply, then I think there would be reason to curtail contact."

 

 

I'm sorry you feel lectured. We all have instances when we post here seeking advice, but in our heart of hearts we already have a general idea what direction we want to go. I think that was the case here. As for people not noting the fact that you intend to take action, well...You stated that in your second post, and not everyone reads the entire thread prior to replying. As well, many people did suggest that you talk with the young man. It seems to me you overlooked that when responding to the responses.;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...