My daughter, who’s 15, has a new boyfriend.
Her previous adolescent crushes mostly relied on texting.
Now, she’s trying to get my husband and me to go out every weekend while she’s “babysitting” her sister with this boy who’s 16 and in a higher grade.
My younger daughter’s eight-years-old and will definitely be asleep upstairs from 8:30pm.
That’ll leave these two teenagers undisturbed in the basement for several hours. I’ve never met the boy.
My daughter’s a good student, and pretty sensible about things like her homework/studying time.
But I think she’s vulnerable regarding dating.
How do I find out about the new boyfriend if she keeps manoeuvring to be alone with him?
What are the new conditions I have to insist on, and what others can I say are okay?
Protecting My Daughter
Your daughter’s reasoning ability appears at a good level, but don’t expect her emotional intelligence to be at the same level. Not during the confusing, often challenging, teenage years.
She’s at the age of experiencing major swings of emotions, over anything and everything that affects her self-image and her acceptance in her peer group.
At 15, she’s got an “older” guy interested in her and that’s pretty big within her intense social world.
Start the conversation with talking about the things that are acceptable, e.g., she can have him and a few friends over on a Saturday night.
You and her father will be home upstairs and meet him, casually, along with the others.
Another time, the two can go to a movie together… you’ll drive them and pick them up.
Then, if you feel pretty comfortable about him being on the scene, he can come over for an evening, while one or both of you are at home.
Invite them to the kitchen for a do-it-themselves snack, and pitch in so you get a sense of how they are together.
Another day, when you’re alone with her, gently ask her how she thinks it’s going, what she likes about him, what she doesn’t like, etc.
You want her to feel she can talk to you if there’s a problem.
Readers’ Commentaries Regarding the pain, sorrow and frustration of parental alienation (Nov I6):
“I was advised to wait until the children grow up and they’ll find their way back to me.
“Research is showing that scenario is most often not the case.
“Moreover, the children are suffering because of the alienation. Many live with lifelong emotional scars.
“The father should read, Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking The Ties That Bind by Amy Baker.
“Then find a lawyer/social worker who understands the damage done by parental alienation, to help him get access to his kids.
“The courts can force visitation or even switch custody to mitigate this dangerous emotional abuse.”
Reader #2 – “I’ve been through this.
“He has a court order for visitation rights. He can bring that court order to his ex-wife’s home on the day he has visitation rights and call the police.
“The police will enforce the court order unless the children don’t want to go with the father. Even so, he can then use that order in court against his ex-wife.”
Ellie - Having police appear at their door might terrify the children, especially if his ex-wife counters with nasty accusations against him
Their fears might result in the children rejecting the drama of even trying to see their father.
FEEDBACK Regarding the frustrated young woman whose boyfriend keeps insisting she has bad breath though her friends all say he’s wrong (November 19):
Reader – “Everything mentioned by you to tackle bad breath is important (Ellie - e.g. poor oral hygiene, strong-smelling foods and dental-health problems). But they’re secondary!
“The most important reason for bad breath is constipation and/or unclean stomach.
“If you don't have a clean stomach, your mouth will smell bad. Also, constipation leads to many problems including foul breath.”
Reader #2 – “Perhaps the boyfriend has a neurological problem regarding smelling things differently, such as his girlfriend's breath.”
Ellie - When specialists send possible explanations for an issue, I’m happy to share them with readers.
But we who aren’t dental/medical specialists and don’t have personal experience with the issue, should be wary of making actual diagnoses.
My best advice here is a visit to a dentist or doctor. Then, look closer at the relationship.
Tip of the day:
At least one parent should be home when a young teenage couple have their “date” there.