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Can we have a fierce discussion of teens and privacy?


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1 hour ago, Quill said:

See, and I always find this position a bit odd. I mean, “letting” them date. They will be going to Homecoming dance soon. Isn’t that a date? Or would you forbid going to hoco with someone until they are (whatever age - 16, say)? I also just don’t understand how “no dating until age X” really works. He goes to school. He goes to sports events. He goes places with friends. If I was, like, let’s pretend he’s “not allowed” to date, do I think that means he’s not going to spend any time with someone he likes in the romantic manner? 

In my experience, that seems to be when kids get sneakier. And some of the sneakiest kids end up with bad outcomes. 

To me it is a matter of kids knowing what is expected of them by the adults.  Of course 14 year olds are going to have crushes and romantic ideas about each other.  But acknowledging that is far different than encouraging kids to couple off  at such a young age.  

14 year olds can develop deep and long lasting feelings for each other....and if they are encouraged to couple off early it will only intensify it imo.  

I see more benefit in saying yes 14 year old child, it is normal to feel romantic at this age but unwise to act on that.  So let’s focus on building your sense of self and building friendships with all sorts of ages and people and then when you are old enough you will be better prepared for such a relationship.  

And of course some kids will defy all the rules and sneak around and do whatever they want and end up with some bad results.  But that is on them if the parent is doing their best to parent them.

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Eh, I didn't date until college. My first kiss was when I was 22 and I've only kissed three guys total in my life. It isn't such a bad thing to approach dating and relationships with a more matur

Why are you in charge of this other teen? Is the kid dating your teen and the parents want you to supervise them constantly when they are at your house? If that’s what’s happening, I don’t think

I’m not sure about the “practice at 14” thing. I had no restrictions on dating when I was a teen, but now that I’m older than dirt, I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t have been better off wait

53 minutes ago, Pen said:

What do they each know about relationships, about TeA etc? 

 

I’m not going to know what the girl knows/thinks/believes about that, right? 

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

Well, this is still pretty new, so there’s only been one evening there, one evening here so far. But the parents are expecting no blankets, all body parts visible, parent in the room 100% of the time. Also, since we live on a secluded, substantial amount of acreage, the other parent requested no going outside together (because they would not be supervised). So, basically this is what is sanctioned: sitting together in the main area, watching a movie or playing a video game, no blankets or snuggling, no time unsupervised at all. 

When the other parent picked kid up, they said, “well...how did it go?” Like, I don’t know...it bugged me. Like there was a desire to know exactly what was happening the whole time, which I did know, because we ate homemade pizza, watched a Harry Potter movie, and then they played a game with me present in the room. I could account for 100% of their activities, but it sort of annoyed me how the parent seemed to be expecting some sort of bad behavior. 

Bolded would bug me too.  Kinda weird.  Again though I think it speaks to to the point that this is really not lining up with their own values overall. 

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

Well, this is still pretty new, so there’s only been one evening there, one evening here so far. But the parents are expecting no blankets, all body parts visible, parent in the room 100% of the time. Also, since we live on a secluded, substantial amount of acreage, the other parent requested no going outside together (because they would not be supervised). So, basically this is what is sanctioned: sitting together in the main area, watching a movie or playing a video game, no blankets or snuggling, no time unsupervised at all. 

When the other parent picked kid up, they said, “well...how did it go?” Like, I don’t know...it bugged me. Like there was a desire to know exactly what was happening the whole time, which I did know, because we ate homemade pizza, watched a Harry Potter movie, and then they played a game with me present in the room. I could account for 100% of their activities, but it sort of annoyed me how the parent seemed to be expecting some sort of bad behavior. 

 

1 hour ago, Catwoman said:

 

 

I was wondering the same thing, because if they are very strict, it seems odd that they would allow their 14yo dd to date at all. 

I’m probably kind of old fashioned about this, but it makes complete sense to me that the girl’s parents don’t want their 14yo dd snuggling under blankets with her boyfriend, and they only want the kids in common areas of the house and not in a bedroom.

The part that seems over the top to me is that a parent needs to be in the room with them at all times (and not in a nearby room, able to pop in or walk past the family room at any time,) and that the kids aren’t even allowed to go for a little walk around the neighborhood. The idea of ZERO privacy seems a little extreme, especially since both kids are going to school, because there are a lot of opportunities to sneak around in school and after school, where the parents would have no clue as to where they were or what they were doing.

No snuggling under blankets together seems wise at that age, although not sure I'd make a big point of saying it, just remove the blankets from the area without saying anything. 

And I'd be around to wader in and out - so they can have a conversation without me listening in, but do know I could walk in at any moment so better not be doing anything they don't want me seeing. 

I think it is true kids need some independence and space at that age, but I also think it is unwise to shove temptation in their face. Sort of like on the thread with the kid who was cheating - everyone pretty much agreed that leaving the teacher's manual out in plain sight was too much temptation. I think leaving 14 year olds alone in certain situations and expecting them to act responsibly may also be too much temptation. When I was a teen my dad had a job where he was out and about all day, and would often stop home between stops to get a bite to eat, use the bathroom, whatever. So I might be "home alone" but I also knew that at any moment my father could show up with zero warning. That was a VERY good thing. VERY GOOD. Because at that age hormones have a way of overruling logic, and having a bit of external executive function/external conscience can be a help. 

Also, I think that if either party feels a bit pressured, or uncomfortable, it is NICE to have the out of saying, "ugh, sorry - my mom could walk in at any minute. Parents are the worst!" while secretly being VERY glad they have that excuse. Able to save face as it were. I know as a kid being able to say, "oh man, I wish- but my parents would ground me forever if I got caught" was a great way to shut down peer pressure over something I was uncomfortable doing. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Quill said:

I’m not going to know what the girl knows/thinks/believes about that, right? 

 

Your Ds might know.  

Or you’d know if they have a health class together that covers that sort of thing at least basically.  

ds reported surprise that some kids at school—especially girls—know almost nothing.  Junior/ high school had a special day devoted to explaining basics like menstruation and use of menstrual pads because it turned out that some girls were totally clueless and freaking out in bathroom thinking something was horribly wrong.  Unaware they could get pads at office if needed, etc.      unaware of basic TeA facts...  like it might be the 1950s. 

Could be that some parents are trying to have supervision, chaperoning instead of knowledge? 

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1 hour ago, Catwoman said:

I was wondering the same thing, because if they are very strict, it seems odd that they would allow their 14yo dd to date at all. 

I felt like the "How did it go?" check in illuminated why for me. They don't sound like they're attached so much to chastity per se, but to micromanaging. I've known parents like this - parents who think they can decide the exact right moment for a kid to do everything, be exposed to everything, etc. Parents who think they can "guide" their kids' taste style. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, so I could definitely be off base, but my hunch says they're the sort of parents who want to construct the perfect life for their kid - sweet chaste boyfriend relationship so she can go to dances and have the perfect, assembled high school experience. I'll bet they still pick out clothes to gift her in the style they think is right. I'll bet they go over her homework - the sort of parents who are hitting refresh on that school grades page all day, questioning her about every single assignment, has she done it, why'd she get a B, talking to every teacher way too much.

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7 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Your Ds might know.  

Or you’d know if they have a health class together that covers that sort of thing at least basically.  

ds reported surprise that some kids at school—especially girls—know almost nothing.  Junior/ high school had a special day devoted to explaining basics like menstruation and use of menstrual pads because it turned out that some girls were totally clueless and freaking out in bathroom thinking something was horribly wrong.  Unaware they could get pads at office if needed, etc.      unaware of basic TeA facts...  like it might be the 1950s. 

Could be that some parents are trying to have supervision, chaperoning instead of knowledge? 

I’m positive that is not the case here. For one thing, our schools here have thorough education at multiple grade levels and all freshman have a health class which covers “family life” thoroughly. 

They do not have a health class *together*, but she is in the same school system, so...

I have a notion the parents are adherents to a particular religion and it is one that places a high value on chastity. I do not know this for absolute certain, but it seems likely from tidbits I have heard. I think it’s mainly that they haven’t been through this age before and they are a little freaked out by the possibilities. One parent phoned me before they spent any time together to outline their views on what is permissable. (That was when I first heard about the no blankets thing, which, BTW, I don’t think that’s a crazy rule or anything; I did use blankets to do things I wouldn’t have done with no blankets when I was young, so it does make sense to me.) Then it was re-iterated to me when the friend was coming over here and then the other parent talked to me as well. It seems like overkill to me. 

It’s honestly just a bit weird to me because, over the years, one thing I liked about the homeschooling community is that my kids’ friends’ parents had similar standards to mine, whereas that was less common with public school parents. So it feels weird to be the more relaxed parent instead of the stricter parents. We have more often been the stricter parents. 

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19 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I felt like the "How did it go?" check in illuminated why for me. They don't sound like they're attached so much to chastity per se, but to micromanaging. I've known parents like this - parents who think they can decide the exact right moment for a kid to do everything, be exposed to everything, etc. Parents who think they can "guide" their kids' taste style. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, so I could definitely be off base, but my hunch says they're the sort of parents who want to construct the perfect life for their kid - sweet chaste boyfriend relationship so she can go to dances and have the perfect, assembled high school experience. I'll bet they still pick out clothes to gift her in the style they think is right. I'll bet they go over her homework - the sort of parents who are hitting refresh on that school grades page all day, questioning her about every single assignment, has she done it, why'd she get a B, talking to every teacher way too much.

Yeah, the “How did it go?” Is sort of hard to convey in writing, but it was the way it was asked and the way the parent seemed to hustle into my house to see the layout and where they were. It’s hard to explain, but it was the parent’s manner of moving quickly through to the kitchen and family area that sort of bugged me. Like there wasn’t a moment to spare seeing where they were and what they were doing. There was still flour and pizza pans all over my kitchen, so I felt like, “glad I didn’t clean that up because it’s evident we did indeed have homemade pizza like I said...” 

I do get the impression the parents are freaked out. 

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2 hours ago, wintermom said:

Really? They aren't even fully grown physically or mentally. What is the purpose of "practicing" any of this at age 14? Their lives are learning to eat, clothe themselves, do some homework and get some physical activity. Maybe get a part-time job mowing lawns to buy candy or hockey cards, maybe scrape together enough money to upgrade computer parts. What earthly reason is there to put the pressure of learning to navigate a relationship other than parent-child at this age. That is way too much pressure.

Do you have teenagers?  I'm curious because your vision of teenagers seems a naive.   10 year olds are getting a part time job for candy and hocket cards, 14 year olds are saving for a car, buying video games or going out to the movies.   And by that age they certainly should not need much more learning about eating or clothing themselves.  

I'd prefer they "practice" at 14 where there's less pressure, everyone is new at this and less likely to have uneven expectations, supervision is easier (since they can't drive etc), and things are less likely to be serious.   I don't want my kids getting their first practice when they are 17 or 18 and everyone else has been dating for years and may have different expectations about how fast relationships move, supervision is harder since they are driving themselves or may even be away at college, and they are more likely to be looking for a serious relationship.   

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2 hours ago, Catwoman said:

 

 

I was wondering the same thing, because if they are very strict, it seems odd that they would allow their 14yo dd to date at all. 

I’m probably kind of old fashioned about this, but it makes complete sense to me that the girl’s parents don’t want their 14yo dd snuggling under blankets with her boyfriend, and they only want the kids in common areas of the house and not in a bedroom.

The part that seems over the top to me is that a parent needs to be in the room with them at all times (and not in a nearby room, able to pop in or walk past the family room at any time,) and that the kids aren’t even allowed to go for a little walk around the neighborhood. The idea of ZERO privacy seems a little extreme, especially since both kids are going to school, because there are a lot of opportunities to sneak around in school and after school, where the parents would have no clue as to where they were or what they were doing.

While I can certainly understand the girl’s parents not wanting her to snuggle under a blanket or be in a bedroom at age 14, what I don’t understand is why Quill is supposed to enforce it if her rules are different (although it doesn’t sound like they necessarily are). If their daughter is not ready to say no to these things, then maybe she is not ready for dates where these things might be a temptation. Do they accompany her to all high school events where she might encounter her boyfriend so they can constantly monitor their behavior?

Edited to add that after reading more of Quill’s posts, it does sound like the combo of religion, a daughter, and first teen is seriously freaking them out. Did their daughter hear them inquiring about how the night went? Overall, it sounds like a pretty overbearing situation for the girl. Hopefully with time and experience the parents will come to trust their daughter more.

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3 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

Do you have teenagers?  I'm curious because your vision of teenagers seems a naive.   10 year olds are getting a part time job for candy and hocket cards, 14 year olds are saving for a car, buying video games or going out to the movies.   And by that age they certainly should not need much more learning about eating or clothing themselves.  

I'd prefer they "practice" at 14 where there's less pressure, everyone is new at this and less likely to have uneven expectations, supervision is easier (since they can't drive etc), and things are less likely to be serious.   I don't want my kids getting their first practice when they are 17 or 18 and everyone else has been dating for years and may have different expectations about how fast relationships move, supervision is harder since they are driving themselves or may even be away at college, and they are more likely to be looking for a serious relationship.   

I have 4 teens right now, and yes, my 3 teen boys are very invested in eating ("Please stop slurping your Mr. Noodles."), clothes ("Are those clothes clean, have you washed them or yourself this week?), physical activity ("Get outside and do some biking/basketball/standing in the fresh air"), and making a little cash for themselves. They still need to work on this stuff before they'd be appreciated in a romantic relationship with anyone. Who are they going to attract besides a teen girl who is probably miles ahead in these areas? What is the attraction for a female at the age of 14? They must be pretty despirite, or feel that there is a pressing need, for some reason. 😉 

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4 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I have 4 teens right now, and yes, my 3 teen boys are very invested in eating ("Please stop slurping your Mr. Noodles."), clothes ("Are those clothes clean, have you washed them or yourself this week?), physical activity ("Get outside and do some biking/basketball/standing in the fresh air"), and making a little cash for themselves. They still need to work on this stuff before they'd be appreciated in a romantic relationship with anyone. Who are they going to attract besides a teen girl who is probably miles ahead in these areas? What is the attraction for a female at the age of 14? They must be pretty despirite, or feel that there is a pressing need, for some reason. 😉 

I think this is a HuuuuugE reason some 14 yo girls end up with "older" teen boys. 16, 17+

Many 14 yo boys are likely to be less (emotionally and socially) interested in dating than many 14 yo girls. The maturity level is not equal even if the chronological age is.

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Another mom of a fourteen year old boy here who is still learning basics like feeding and clothing himself. 

I'm very, very grateful that he is not showing an interest in building a romantic relationship with anyone. Definitely not ready.

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4 hours ago, Pen said:

I think it would be unreasonable to be asked to monitor the other teen’s cellphone use unless the teen were going to be with you for an extended stay.  

How much monitoring, oversight, otherwise of a visiting teen would depend on circumstances.  

I think saying you are able/willing to do _____ (whatever you feel to be right) is reasonable and if the other family doesn’t feel that’s okay, then the kids can go to other family house rather than yours — if you are comfortable with your kid being at their place.  

 

 

4 hours ago, Quill said:

I wouldn’t prefer this outcome, though. 

When I was a teen, I spent 100% of my free time at my bf’s house. He didn’t spend time at my family’s house. (In our case, it was more for the opposite reason - his family had looser standards than mine.) I would be bothered by this outcome. I want friendships and relationships to be fairly equal on whose house and in which parents’ presence the kids spend their time. 

I will say that, if I were to find out that my 14 yr old DD was spending time at a home that had a level of supervision that I felt was inadequate, I simply wouldn't let my 14 yr old go over there.  It's certainly true that the other parent can't really expect you to hold to *their* standards within your own house.....you also can't really expect them to use *your* standards in regards to parenting their own kids.  Your desire for the friendships and relationships to be fairly equal doesn't really superseded their desire to have their child supervised to a particular level.  It might come to figuring out which is more important to you....granting your kid the level of privacy/supervision you are comfortable with, vs having them spend as much time at your house as at his.  

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I don’t think this is actually about teen privacy but what to do when you don’t like or disagree the parents of the kid your child is dating.

For me, I think the answer is keep your mouth shut and nothing.

Part of navigating relationships is learning what you are willing to put up with - which includes the parents.

I hold no judgement against the other parents. I’ve seen a wide range of crap in 25 years of parenting and friendships.  Maybe if you knew the parent far more closely, you’d be more understanding of why they have their opinions. Maybe not. It’s doubtful that you know any of them even slightly as well as you think you do. That’s true for nearly everyone we aren’t extremely close to. 

If the relationship ends, that’s okay. I’m not really interested in my kids having partners that are given to hyper controlling and weird views about intimacy. Maybe if the young man deals with his parents, then he will be ready for a relationship with my kid. Or not. 

My daughter dated a young man like that and it didn’t last long. Which was sad but okay. I don’t supervise though we do strongly encourage participation in family gatherings bc we want our own kid to do so and a date unwilling to ever do that is going to find themselves not seeing our kid as much.  Some break up quickly bc they don’t come from families they want to be around and don’t get it.  Some view family involvement as something only serious couples do and they can’t make that adjustment early in dating. 

I rarely deal with the other parents. 

My kids always come find me and update on what all is going on since last we saw each other. I ask things like how was that date?  I wouldn’t ask another parent though.

One asked me once and I just sorta said I’m not worried, should I be? I mean if they don’t want their son alone with my daughter, sure I’ll take them at their word and I won’t want him alone with my daughter either!  If they think my daughter is some kind of ho just because she’s an evil female - well then again,  I agree don’t want her alone with any of them either. 

I mean I half-joke with my kids by yelling out the upstairs window to make room for Jesus when they have been kissing goodbye for 20 minutes on the patio and it’s after midnight and I just wanna go to bed already. But I’m not reached the point of background checks and vetting yet. 

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10 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

 

I will say that, if I were to find out that my 14 yr old DD was spending time at a home that had a level of supervision that I felt was inadequate, I simply wouldn't let my 14 yr old go over there.  It's certainly true that the other parent can't really expect you to hold to *their* standards within your own house.....you also can't really expect them to use *your* standards in regards to parenting their own kids.  Your desire for the friendships and relationships to be fairly equal doesn't really superseded their desire to have their child supervised to a particular level.  It might come to figuring out which is more important to you....granting your kid the level of privacy/supervision you are comfortable with, vs having them spend as much time at your house as at his.  

Well, sure. That’s why I am complying with their stringent rules. Maybe the folks will relax as time goes by (if they remain together). Maybe the kids will break up ten minutes after homecoming is over. (I have seen that before...) 

I’m willing to operate within these parameters because I don’t want the outcome to be he can only go over there or wherever else the parents can vigilantly supervise. So I’m going along with standards I think are too strict. This is the current reality, so I’ll do what is necessary. But to you all, my invisible friends, I’m saying: I find it annoying. The parents are getting on my nerves. I won’t be so sad if this first blush of love doesn’t last. She’s a cute girl and seems nice, but the parents annoy me. I won’t miss them much if this turns out to be short term. 

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1 hour ago, Where's Toto? said:

I'd prefer they "practice" at 14 where there's less pressure, everyone is new at this and less likely to have uneven expectations, supervision is easier (since they can't drive etc), and things are less likely to be serious.   I don't want my kids getting their first practice when they are 17 or 18 and everyone else has been dating for years and may have different expectations about how fast relationships move, supervision is harder since they are driving themselves or may even be away at college, and they are more likely to be looking for a serious relationship.   

YES! 

This is such a huge concern for me. The not-yet-dating isn’t limited to DS; it doesn’t seem like many teens here date (at least not in his crowd/s). But he'll likely attend university in a big city with a much more urban and diverse community than we can offer him here, and I don’t want him to be naive in that department. There’s enough to navigate in university; a first girlfriend/boyfriend or first kiss/hookup/breakup shouldn’t be one of them. Far better to go through it at home, IMO. 

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49 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

Do you have teenagers?  I'm curious because your vision of teenagers seems a naive.   10 year olds are getting a part time job for candy and hocket cards, 14 year olds are saving for a car, buying video games or going out to the movies.   And by that age they certainly should not need much more learning about eating or clothing themselves.  

I'd prefer they "practice" at 14 where there's less pressure, everyone is new at this and less likely to have uneven expectations, supervision is easier (since they can't drive etc), and things are less likely to be serious.   I don't want my kids getting their first practice when they are 17 or 18 and everyone else has been dating for years and may have different expectations about how fast relationships move, supervision is harder since they are driving themselves or may even be away at college, and they are more likely to be looking for a serious relationship.   

 

I’m not sure about the “practice at 14” thing.

I had no restrictions on dating when I was a teen, but now that I’m older than dirt, I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t have been better off waiting until I was older and a bit more mature. Of course, I felt like I was so grown up and so mature because I had boyfriends, but in retrospect, I was still just a 15yo — and I was fortunate enough to have dated nice guys. 

I don’t think young teens need to experience romantic relationships and broken hearts and the pressure to have sex in order to be perfectly capable of dating when they are older. Plenty of kids don’t date until well into their college years (or even later,) and they turn out fine.  I think there is a lot to be said for not being in romantic relationships when a kid is still emotionally and psychologically immature.

I’m not against the idea of young teens dating, but I think it may actually be a whole lot healthier for them emotionally if they wait a few more years until they are more mature. Young teens have their whole lives ahead of them and I don’t think there’s any rush for them to have to deal with the more adult responsibilities and choices that dating can require. What’s the hurry to have them try to be grown up and have those worries and potential heartbreaks?

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2 minutes ago, MEmama said:

YES! 

This is such a huge concern for me. The not-yet-dating isn’t limited to DS; it doesn’t seem like many teens here date (at least not in his crowd/s). But he'll likely attend university in a big city with a much more urban and diverse community than we can offer him here, and I don’t want him to be naive in that department. There’s enough to navigate in university; a first girlfriend/boyfriend or first kiss shouldn’t be one of them. Far better to go through it at home, IMO. 

 

There is definitely something to be said for that and I understand what you’re saying, but a 14yo still has a long way to go before she starts college. 

Also, I hadn’t realized how many kids never dated in high school, but apparently there are a lot of them, so your ds will probably have plenty of company if he’s in no hurry to start dating. 

With my own ds, I always figured he should make his own decisions about whether or not to date. If he didn’t want to deal with the drama and the pressures and the distractions from his other interests, that was fine with me. 

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7 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

I’m not sure about the “practice at 14” thing.

I had no restrictions on dating when I was a teen, but now that I’m older than dirt, I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t have been better off waiting until I was older and a bit more mature. Of course, I felt like I was so grown up and so mature because I had boyfriends, but in retrospect, I was still just a 15yo — and I was fortunate enough to have dated nice guys. 

I don’t think young teens need to experience romantic relationships and broken hearts and the pressure to have sex in order to be perfectly capable of dating when they are older. Plenty of kids don’t date until well into their college years (or even later,) and they turn out fine.  I think there is a lot to be said for not being in romantic relationships when a kid is still emotionally and psychologically immature.

I’m not against the idea of young teens dating, but I think it may actually be a whole lot healthier for them emotionally if they wait a few more years until they are more mature. Young teens have their whole lives ahead of them and I don’t think there’s any rush for them to have to deal with the more adult responsibilities and choices that dating can require. What’s the hurry to have them try to be grown up and have those worries and potential heartbreaks?

I am uncomfortable with the idea of "practice relationships."

I cannot really put my finger on why...But I think you've touched on some stuff. I mean we are talking about *people.* Practicing on people? Uh...yeah, it doesn't sit right.

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17 minutes ago, MEmama said:

YES! 

This is such a huge concern for me. The not-yet-dating isn’t limited to DS; it doesn’t seem like many teens here date (at least not in his crowd/s). But he'll likely attend university in a big city with a much more urban and diverse community than we can offer him here, and I don’t want him to be naive in that department. There’s enough to navigate in university; a first girlfriend/boyfriend or first kiss/hookup/breakup shouldn’t be one of them. Far better to go through it at home, IMO. 

Eh, I didn't date until college. My first kiss was when I was 22 and I've only kissed three guys total in my life.

It isn't such a bad thing to approach dating and relationships with a more mature brain; getting started sooner doesn't make the prefrontal cortex mature faster.

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Re: privacy, it really depends on the kid. On my third and last teen now. Two definitely needed a bit more watching for their own protection. One of those, I really should have watched more, but I was a little clueless. For me, it's not so much about keeping them chaste, but more about preventing traumatizing circumstances with long term effects.

My three have been all over the place as far as dating. One had no interest, for better or worse. One had a lot of interest, but was super nervous and awkward about it. She ultimately met her future husband (who was a few years older) senior year and got married right after college. Now the current one (almost 16yo) has had interest in dating since she was probably 9 or 10, and has had an exclusive (same age) boyfriend for a year now. Sounds premature, but I would not be shocked if these two end up married a few years in the future.

For all of them, I'd much prefer gatherings of friends of both genders without romantic attachments through high school. But, it is what it is. You watch enough kids grow up under various sets of rules and you begin to think that the rules are somewhat irrelevant to the outcome. But, again, I do want to prevent traumatizing events, as much as it is in my control.

To me, the other parent in the OP's situation sounds more anxious than controlling, and is very concerned about managing her oldest child's dating experience in the "right" way. Hopefully she will chill as she has more kids grow up, but is super annoying right now. That is definitely the case with my current teen's boyfriend's parents. Though I find they are a bit all over the place as far as consistency of rules. For example, she texted me at length about the use of blankets. Then the same night had the kids over there, where I found out later she turned on American Pie to watch with them...lol, what? These two are sincerely pretty innocent and will initiate watch Disney movies on their own. She lost some credibility with me with that move. 🙂

Oh, my rules: doors open, someone home with the teens, though not necessarily in the same room. Outdoor activities would be fine. I'd actually be thrilled if they wanted to be outside. I reserve the right to monitor phones.

Edited by GoodGrief
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I would peg the mom as an anxious first time mom of teens. I would probably say something stupid like that, not knowing what to say when picking up my kid from someone’s house. 

Hopefully I would say something better like, “Hey! Looks like you made pizza! Yum!” but maybe not.

I am watching other moms who are dealing with their first teens. Some seem to be able to let go of the reins, but others are still trying to micromanage.

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For me, it's not so much that they're practicing if they date at 14 or 15 or whatever. Those are real relationships, just like a friendship between two kindergartners is a real friendship. But the boundaries, expectations, etc. of a relationship at 14 is going to be different from age 17 or age 20 or whatever, just like how the sort of boundaries and rules of a little kid friendship are different from a teen friendship and so on. I think it's a little easier to try things out and to be able to fall back on the whole "I'm too young/my parents don't allow me" thing when you're dating at 14 than when you're older. There's a safety there that kids protest, but often really like - just like they moan about rules, but need the structure. For kids who go off to college and have their first romantic experiments there, I think sometimes they would have liked to be able to say that, but don't feel like they even can because they're legal adults. And I think there's also just the fact that you're there, you can talk them through it. I don't think there's anything wrong with waiting, and in the moment, when a relationship falls apart, it's going to feel dramatic no matter what. But the longer kids wait, the more that some of them will build up a sort of barrier where they don't know how to do it, don't know how to start, feel like they missed a step and would rather be able to have had that phase of feeling it out and experimenting - and I don't mean with sex necessarily, but just with romance and relationships - and have done it in a context where they were at home and with parental support, even if they proclaim to find it lame or annoying or horrible or whatever.

 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Yeah, the “How did it go?” Is sort of hard to convey in writing, but it was the way it was asked and the way the parent seemed to hustle into my house to see the layout and where they were. It’s hard to explain, but it was the parent’s manner of moving quickly through to the kitchen and family area that sort of bugged me. Like there wasn’t a moment to spare seeing where they were and what they were doing. There was still flour and pizza pans all over my kitchen, so I felt like, “glad I didn’t clean that up because it’s evident we did indeed have homemade pizza like I said...” 

I do get the impression the parents are freaked out. 

So more like they're just suspicious of you and your kid. Ugh.

The whole "boys are only out for sex all the time" narrative also hurts boys. I don't like it.

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Let’s also be very clear that no one is pushing or pressuring their kids to have relationships. If your 29yo isn’t ready, great. If your 17yo is, fantastic. We are discussing appropriate ways to respond to young people who wish to be in/have developed relationships. Having robust discussions about how to manage these fledgling attempts at pairing off is entirely appropriate. Forbidding ‘dating’ doesn’t stop it from happening and ignoring those relationships as they spring up seems like a recipe for disaster.

Edited by Sneezyone
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If monitoring cellphone were part of it, I’d find it really weird if some other parent wanted to monitor my dc cellphone.  

Snuggling under blankets and kissing seems to happen while sitting in the cold stands watching Homecoming games from what I’ve seen.  

I think currently there are potentially a variety of issues to be concerned with such as vaping, pot, violent or pornographic video games,...

I think I’d be more worried about a 14yo dd at a boy’s house than a 14yo Ds at a girl’s house.  

 

And 14yo can range from very little kid-like to easy to confuse for an adult, both physically and in other ways.  And the same 14yo can even jump around in maturity moment to moment. 

 

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1 minute ago, Farrar said:

So more like they're just suspicious of you and your kid. Ugh.

The whole "boys are only out for sex all the time" narrative also hurts boys. I don't like it.

 

As the parent of a son, I have heard many moms of sons complain that girls are the ones who are out for sex all the time. I don’t like that, either. I hate it when people generalize like that!

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2 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

As the parent of a son, I have heard many moms of sons complain that girls are the ones who are out for sex all the time. I don’t like that, either. I hate it when people generalize like that!

Exactly. They're teenagers. It's common for all of them to have sex on the brain. It also doesn't make any of them unusual to not have sex on the brain or be curious but not at all ready.

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3 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

As the parent of a son, I have heard many moms of sons complain that girls are the ones who are out for sex all the time. I don’t like that, either. I hate it when people generalize like that!

This has been our experience. Oldest has had to friend zone a lot of girls who were just WAY out of his comfort zone. 

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28 minutes ago, maize said:

Eh, I didn't date until college. My first kiss was when I was 22 and I've only kissed three guys total in my life.

It isn't such a bad thing to approach dating and relationships with a more mature brain; getting started sooner doesn't make the prefrontal cortex mature faster.


It’s equally possible to have great relationships as a younger person too. You’re either mature enough or you’re not. I think helping my kids complete a clear-eyed self-assessment (interest/needs inventory) is part of the process. 

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7 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Let’s also be very clear that no one is pushing or pressuring their kids to have relationships. If your 29yo isn’t ready, great. If your 17yo is, fantastic. We are discussing appropriate ways to respond to young people who wish to be in/have developed relationships. Having robust discussions about how to manage these fledgling attempts at pairing off is entirely appropriate. Forbidding ‘dating’ doesn’t stop it from happening and ignoring those relationships as they spring up seems like a recipe for disaster.

 

I agree!  But I have to admit that I have known quite a few parents who have pressured their young teens to start dating so they would be “popular.”  I don't particularly understand why any parent would worry if their kid wasn't dating... and I don’t understand the mentality behind expressly forbidding dating, either. 

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A family that I was semi a part of in part of my youth had 10 kids, 8 of them girls.  Two girls got different level of supervision because they were not as able to cope for themselves as the other 6– Not because the parents were over anxious about first teen.  So not knowing the girl well there’s no way to know really if she might have a reason to need more supervision.  And maybe not something the family would want to talk about, like high functioning ASD or ADHD that might make for more impulsive or sensory seeking behavior...

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1 minute ago, Sneezyone said:


It’s equally possible to have great relationships as a younger person too. You’re either mature enough or you’re not. I think helping my kids complete a clear-eyed self-assessment (interest/needs inventory) is part of the process. 

 

I think hormonal and peer pressure factors can keep a lot of teens from being “clear-eyed” about what’s best for them, though. It’s great to talk things through with them in advance, but when that guy from math class with the big brown eyes starts smiling at them, sometimes all of the rationality and good sense flies right out the window!

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1 hour ago, Catwoman said:

 

I agree!  But I have to admit that I have known quite a few parents who have pressured their young teens to start dating so they would be “popular.”  I don't particularly understand why any parent would worry if their kid wasn't dating... and I don’t understand the mentality behind expressly forbidding dating, either. 


Yeah, that makes no sense to me. I WISH we had more time but my oldest has ALWAYS been socially precocious so having arbitrary rules/years was never gonna work here. We’ve worked to establish academic and behavioral milestones instead...

1. Grades

2. Exec. Functioning

3. Judgement/What you do when we’re not looking

4. Interest 

5. Partner characteristics (academic performance, behavior, willingness to meet mom/dad, etc.)

1 hour ago, Catwoman said:

 

I think hormonal and peer pressure factors can keep a lot of teens from being “clear-eyed” about what’s best for them, though. It’s great to talk things through with them in advance, but when that guy from math class with the big brown eyes starts smiling at them, sometimes all of the rationality and good sense flies right out the window!

 

Sure. That kind of social pressure will be there for LOTS of things and we talk about it in that context. The ability to define who you are/aren’t, what you want/don’t want, and whether any particular person/thing fits isn’t just for relationships. These conversations are ongoing and didn’t start in high school. I don’t think it’s fair to extrapolate immaturity to all teens any more than maturity. My DH and I were never in school together and it was very insulting to hear our youthful relationship described that way. It was much deeper than that.

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Haven't read all the responses, but I have to say--my experience with observing parents of teens is really all over the map.  

Some are so lassez faire that there is not any restriction at all--they figure on kids making their own decisions about sexuality and don't care whether they are doing it at home or not.  They might even try to facilitate it .  I have known parents who introduced their kids' friends to soft drugs.  I have known people who attended parties in middle school where hard drugs were freely available and where you would be criticized if you didn't partake.  These sound extreme, but they are well within the continuum of 'supervision or not'.  So I can sort of see why inquiries would be made.  

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Meh - I haven't read responses but you are nicer then me.  I feel like my teens are old enough to to know what my standards are and they can enforce them on their own.   At my house technology is in common places.  My kids have never had opposite genders in bedrooms and the way our house is set up and the way my kids keep their rooms that would be awkward anyway.   I assume my kids are using reasonably good judgment at other people's homes.  I can't imagine shaking down another set of parents to enforce my rules for kids age 13/14+.   And I especially can't imagine grilling another parent for info.  If you feel you need to do that maybe you should work on the communication skills with your own kid.  

My kids haven't really been interested in romantic relationships to this point really though there have been opposite gender situations I've wondered about.  Though one of my kids I think may be LBGTQ, we'll see.  I also haven't had many reasons NOT to trust my kids either.  I am not super excited about high school age dating.  I felt like I wasted a lot of emotional energy on that too early.  But if my kid was interested in "dating" I would be fine with it.  Honestly, I'm glad my teens have had very full and busy schedules that have kind of limited those options developing too quickly.  

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We all bring our own experiences to the table. I had both good and bad relationships as a teen. I don't regret any of them though. How I handled specific things, sure. But I don't generally regret that I dated or had sex as a teen. I feel fine about all of that. It feels to me like it was just part of growing up. I'm more grateful that I had access to bc and a half decent understanding of consent than anything else. But I've known a lot of people who do regret their teenage relationships - a lot - and I assume that makes them want to clamp down more. I just don't know if it helps. The relationship I had to keep secret where the parents really disliked us together (and these parents, for the record, still hate me to this day, which is just baffling to me...) was by far the least healthy. I guess I think the secrecy and sneaking around was part of what made it more unhealthy for both of us.

I was very interested in dating and sex and all of it in high school. My kids... I mean, I know they have had crushes. Or, at least, one of them has. But neither of them seem close to getting a dating partner.

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I actually don't regret dating or having sex prior to marriage at all.  I regret wasting WAY too much emotional energy as a teen on boys to the point where I found it distracting.  We are far from a celibate until marriage family.   My kids went through OWL sex ed which has a rep.  I didn't marry until 29.  I found the best parts of my teen years were when I was busy and engaged with many things - academics, extra curriculars, volunteering, working, jogging regularly, etc.  and maybe or not a teen "relationship" on the side where maybe a few times a month we did something with friends or went to a movie or whatever.   When teen relationships were distracting, they weren't mature and they weren't necessarily emotionally healthy either.  Dating in my 20's was mostly great though.

I feel like my teens are more consistently busy.  And they've had crushes both directions and have done a few things one might call a "date".  Just nothing super long term where I'd feel like I'd have any business consulting with the other set of parents on how it was going to go (well, that would not be my jam anyway).  If I really felt like my kid wasn't mature enough for a situation, we'd avoid that situation.   And having known a lot of teens at this point, they really aren't all made the same.  My son has had some friends I thank my lucky stars I didn't need to try and parent.  My kids are generally pretty level headed and pragmatic.

I do not constantly supervise teens, and have dropped my teens off at houses I don't know.  And my teens have ridden in cars with other teens.  This is just not an area we've needed to put a lot of thought and energy into because of them.  My oldest is a freshman in college now and he LOVES college academically.  He wants to take all the classes and majors.  Honestly, I don't see him jumping into a relationship any too soon but anything could happen.  But I definitely don't feel like he's socially stunted at all.  

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I believe in young love.  And that is the problem as I see it.  Humans are capable of falling deeply in love at a young age....long before they have the maturity to make such a decision.  And then emotions are all involved when some of these kids aren’t even old enough to drive.  I think it is better if that entire dating thing is delayed until they know themselves better and they know better what they want out of life.  

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5 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

 I actually think this too, tho I didn't have the oomph to enforce it.

I'm like, yeah maybe dating at 15 made sense when we had a shorter life span, but we live a long time! So wait till you get your first degree to spend time on relationships, lol.

In practice, my kids have been 'allowed' to date from 16, and I'm a pretty easy going supervisor of dating teens. But in my ideal world ? Very different 🙂

Oh trust me it is not easy to enforce.  Ds was well in love with his now wife before he was 18 I feel almost certain.  But I do believe it is worth saying to teens even if they don’t listen.  

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So, the level of supervision they want to require is stifling and will only hurt their relationship with their teen.

With my own two, I had regular conversations with them (still do) about relationships. We worked out good boundaries together, and then I trusted them and kept the conversation casually open and ongoing. Awesome.

A friend of our family tried radical hypervigilance with her oldest, and my friend's need to supervise and control drove a terrible wedge into her formerly positive relationship with her daughter. Friend tried to keep limits on daughter's behavior well into college years that were more appropriate for junior high. With boyfriends, my friend made a point of being busy with laundry or chores wherever daughter and boyfriend were. Friend also went to extraordinary measures to make sure daughter and boyfriend were never alone elsewhere either--sending along a sister or inviting daughter's friends or whatever. Daughter felt hounded and untrusted, and it was hard for her to really get to know the guy when there was constantly an audience. This daughter (a close friend of my daughter through high school) is someone who is absolutely trustworthy and delightful, and my heart grieved to see the mother-daughter relationship become more and more strained. Ultimately daughter chose to accept college debt rather than her parents' financial contribution, because her parents need for control over her (specifically over relationships) was so invasive. And that daughter barely speaks to her parents now. She is not "living in rebellion"--she has the same standards she has always had and the same common sense (and the same religious values), but her mother's need for intense oversight was absolutely destructive. 😥

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When I was 15 I had a crazy and intense relationship with a 16 year old boy.  It is a miracle I didn’t do something really off the charts with/for him.  I did a fair amount of sneaking around to see him......I can weep,now even thinking about how intense the feelings were.  But a little something in the back of my mind ( probably my mother’s voice) told me this was a very bad idea.  We talkedagain after I was married and he wanted to see me.  I refused because I knew that was a disaster in the making.  2 months later he was murdered by his step dad.  

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One thing I want to mention is that this thread seems to be mostly touching on the aspect of teen sexuality.  BUT, there a whole lot more issues to be concerned about with teens.  I know the OP has talked about things that point towards the concern being about sexuality....but it's not always. From cyber bullying to sexting to drugs to whatever else....there are lots of reasons to feel like keeping tabs on young teens is necessary.

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Also, I think there's a WIDE spectrum of supervision level between "radical hypervigilance" and "complete permissibly."  I think that there is also a WIDE spectrum of kids and how they respond to various levels, so I think the most important thing is to meet the teen at where that teen is.  That doesn't mean doing so will result in a sunshine and rainbows sort of teen/parent relationship.  But it does mean that sometimes, what's appropriate for one teen, might not be appropriate for another.

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16 minutes ago, Danae said:

Quill, when you say parent in th room 100% of the time do you think they really mean don’t take your eyes off of them for a second? Like, is it not okay to go into the kitchen to grab a drink or to step out to use the bathroom?  Or are they just saying they don’t want the teens alone in one room while you’re busy with a project or watching a different show somewhere else.  I think that’s where I would draw the line between “closer supervision than I would require” and “ridiculous.”

I don't know about Quill, but for me, having to physically supervise my teenagers in a common area of the house and not being able to be in the next room doing my own work and occasionally getting up to walk past absolutely would meet my personal definition of ridiculous.

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3 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Totally ridiculous. If they need that level of supervision to allow their dd out, they need to provide a chaperone. Plenty of mothers are far too busy with more important things to be able to spend hours of their precious time provding constant physical supervision of teens.

 

 if there were some issue unbeknownst by Quill and her Ds, with the girl perhaps having an impulsive tendency or something like that, then it might be safest for Quill to supervise closely rather than have her Ds accused of something he didn’t start. 

If it’s an oldest child , parents might not even realize they have a non nt child, but just have had a feeling that she requires close supervision. 

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4 hours ago, Danae said:

Quill, when you say parent in th room 100% of the time do you think they really mean don’t take your eyes off of them for a second? Like, is it not okay to go into the kitchen to grab a drink or to step out to use the bathroom?  Or are they just saying they don’t want the teens alone in one room while you’re busy with a project or watching a different show somewhere else.  I think that’s where I would draw the line between “closer supervision than I would require” and “ridiculous.”

I think they really mean don’t take my eyes off them for a minute. There are some details as to why I think this but I would rather keep those details off the board; suffice it to say both parents discussed details with me multiple times, on the phone, in texts to me and in person at my house. The mom in particular re-iterated the blankets and going outside multiple different times. 

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3 minutes ago, Quill said:

I think they really mean don’t take my eyes off them for a minute. There are some details as to why I think this but I would rather keep those details off the board; suffice it to say both parents discussed details with me multiple times, on the phone, in texts to me and in person at my house. The mom in particular re-iterated the blankets and going outside multiple different times. 

Do you know what the parent's interpretation of thier relationship is? Do they think they are dating boy/girl friend? Or is the girl telling them 'just friends' but the parents see something else?  This  may explain the parents over-zellous rules.  Maybe they think you are getting a "just friends" story too?????

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