Need Advice about teenagers and boyfriends. Help!!!!!

mlaj2000April 2, 2007

My 16 year old daughter has recently developed fairly strong romantic feelings for a boy that her best friend has liked for the past 6 months.

The boy really, really likes my daughter also. He wants to ask her out, but she keeps putting him off because of her best friend. Her best friend, although upset with the situation, has reluctantly given my daughter and this boy her blessing to start a relationship. Obviously my daughter is still torn.

They are a large group of friends between the boys and the girls, and of course, some have taken "sides". Some kids tell my daughter to "go for it". While others are calling her a traitor. It also doesn't help that her best friend's mother is absolutely irate with my daughter and telling her daughter that she should stop being my daughter's friend.

I am distraught over this. This boy would be my daughter's first boyfriend. She has no experience with matters like this. I cannot stand to see her so unhappy.

Before I tell you what advice I gave to my daughter. I would love to get your opinions. You are all impartial, so I feel you can be a better judge of the situation.

Thanks for your help. I sincerely look forward to any and all responses

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Well, they say all's fair in love and war but...

FWIW, my take on it is that boyfriends may come and go but girlfriendships are what get you through the good times and bad, at any age.

If your daughter's friend has (although reluctantly) given her 'blessing' to their going out, that sounds like a pretty strong friendship.

I'd have my daughter make a list of pros and cons to starting the relationship now. Perhaps when tempers settle and interest moves to a different soap opera, they will be able to see each other with less drama involved for all.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:09PM
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Tough one, mlaj. It's got to hurt to see your daughter hurting like that.

The reality is that it is tough to just turn off romantic feelings, especially for teens. A lot depends on how strong her feelings are for this boy.

Looking back to my teen years, I dated my best friend's ex boyfriend very soon after they broke up when I was 15. We weren't friends during the time I dated him, but we became friends again after. And later, a different best friend dated a boy I was dating right after we broke up. I really liked that boy, but the friendship meant more to me so I got over it. We all turned out ok in the end.

How long has this girl been your daughter's best friend? Is it a more transient thing, or are they childhood friends? And was this boy dating her friend, or was it a crush?

I agree that girlfriends should never let a boy come between them. But I don't think that means that any time a girl has a crush on a boy, the rest of the girls in their "group" should be forbidden from dating him. That would put the poor boy in a pretty bad position, imo.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:30PM
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you say "her best friend has liked him for the past 6 months." so her best friend has not been "going out" with this boy, just hoping to I guess and everyone knows she likes him. He likes your DD, not her friend.

If they all hang out and go out as a group, it will cause frictions and divisions I guess but it will pass, imo.... It seems like the boy picked your DD and not her friend.

My daughter had this happen to her; it estranged her from her friend for a while (it miffed me the mother a bit, I didn't like to see my daughter hurt but I didn't hold it against the friend)
but the 2 girls friendship prevailed and that was 10 years ago, they are still friends to this day. The boy is long gone, it didn't last.

I'm guessing her dilemma is that she would like to continue having the same best friend relationship with the girl, but fears that she won't be able to since obviously it will be awckward to share and talk about the coveted boyfriend.

My guess is that there will be ruffled feathers at first but the friends will get used to it after a while.
I think your daughter has to follow her heart, there will be consequences either way; choices have to be made.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 6:02AM
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I think the best friend's mother needs to grow up! Just because you like a boy doesn't give you 'dibbs' -- And it sounds like the friend's interest wasn't really reciprocated. So long as your daughter's interest wasn't sparked by her friend's crush (it can be), then it should be OK for her to date this boy. Yes, the friendship may suffer -- but it might be suffering already because the boy in question picked your daughter over the friend.

While I love your philosophy about girlfriends being lasting friendships, Pecan, at that age, they're often not. (Later - absolutely) But at 16, there's still so much adolescent jealousy and competition and cliquishness going on...

My take is that your daughter has to be totally honest with herself about her feelings for the boy and her friendship with the girl, then act in a way that's honorable and true to herself.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 10:09AM
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Thanks for your responses.
I definitely see it as a lose/lose situation for my daughter.
The worst part is how the friends mom is handling the situation. I know if we stay out of it as parents, they can work this out on their own. They have been best friends since 1999.

I feel badly for my DD's best friend. She's is smart and sooooo pretty. But for some reason this boy has never liked her "more than a friend" I don't think she ever expected my daughter to be a "threat" to this potential relationship.

AT first, I told my daughter to just back off. The boyfriend will only last a few weeks to months and your friends might not ever forgive you.

But now how I see how her best friends mom is reacting to everything, I want her to go out with the kid.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 10:32AM
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I guess I disagree with everyone else. Girlfriends last a lot longer than boyfriends do. Unless things have changed, most high school relationships rarely last more than 6 months. The other girl is showing what a great friend she is by giving her "blessing" even though she is very hurt (even if her mother's advice is misguided). If your friend really likes a boy he is hands off unless she changes her mind (and changing your mind means REALLY changing your mind, not being gracious and saying it is ok when you don't really feel that way).

If you want to have friends you have to be a good friend. My bet is that if she doesn't go out with the boy the friend will really get over him and give a real blessing. Your daughter is hurt now, but better to be hurt because you can't go out with someone you want than to be hurt because your friends have turned against you.

I haven't dated since I met DH, but even in my 20s my friends and I would basically call dibbs. It maintains harmony.

I am still friendly with the group of girls I met in 8th grade and earlier (some I am still good friends with). They live all over the country (and some outside the U.S.) now.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 10:49AM
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Your story reminds me a lot of the way things happened when I was in high school in our group of friends. I found myself in the shoes of both your daughter and her friend at various times, and neither were easy places to be. But, in retrospect, it was probably some great training ground for learning to deal with some of the heartache & realities of adult life. While there may not be a "winning" side in terms of your daughter being happy about everything, there may be some great potential for her to grow - to learn about real life, about what she values, about how to make choices, etc.

I might encourage her to make her own thoughtful choice - the best one she can after she's considered all the angles and decided which things are most important to her - and then support her as she works her way through dealing with any reprocussions or consequences of those choices. You have a great opportunity to help her grow in some valuable ways!

I know it's hard to watch sometimes, but this may be one of many important "life lessons" she'll get to learn - and what a great thing that she has you as her coach/mentor/encourager as she figures it all out! Good luck to you both.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:17AM
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You really have a way with words, halfdecaf.
I was a very imature teenager. I crossed the line many times and dated friends boyfriends. I did not learn that that behavior wasn't OK and also made some very hurtful mistakes as an adult. I have finally learned my lesson, but it took far too long.
The "right" thing to do would be to not date the boy. I think you should tell her the pros and cons, in your opinion, and let her decide herself.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 2:26PM
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Thanks, Donna!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 7:46PM
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This really is hard. Yesterday the group that my daughter hangs with came over to my house for pizza and a movie. The best friend and boy were also there.

Her best friend is an amazing kid. She is mature and gracious and I would only hope that if the shoe was on the other foot, my daughter would reciprocate the generosity displayed by her friend.

I watched my daughter with this boy and it is clearly evident they have strong feelings for each other (for the moment.) Now I am getting agitta for other reasons.

My poor husband was in the bathroom all night with a stomach ache. Not easy watching your children with boyfriends or girlfriends.

God, I hope she's not like me at that age!!! LOL

I should mention that my daughter and the boy have decided to take things slowly and not rush into "going out"
I wonder what their idea of "slowly" is. I hope it's at least a month.

Anyway, thanks for your help. Unfortunately, there is no salvaging the strained relationship with the friends mother. She hates my daughter now. Life lessons.............

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Sounds like the teenager is more mature than her mom! I'd bet money that this is touching on some issue from that woman's past. But that's not for you to deal with.... I think you're smart to have them over to your place, too. Hope your husband is OK soon! :/

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 11:06AM
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The boy kissed my daughter last night. Just a peck on the mouth, but still, is this taking things slow???
Shes says they are still not going out, they are just "together".
Apparently this is the term used by these kids as the period of getting to know each other before you officially start dating.

Whatever, when I was kid, if the boy kissed you, you were boyfriend/girlfriend. I feel so old and out of touch.

And I was a pretty wild child in my youth. My husband was even worse than me. I guess we turned out okay. I think it was easier for my parents because I never told them anything about what was going on in my life as a teenager.
Ignorance is bliss, so my parents were obviously on cloud nine.

I am glad she can come to me and we are so close, but still makes me worry.
Thanks for letting me vent. It's too early in the morning here to call anyone yet.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:22AM
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I'll likely get skewered for this, but to me it sounds as if your DD may be too young for a boyfriend. I admit to being way old fashioned about things like this, but for all the reasons you listed above, I believe she shouldn't proceed at all with this boy, except for group activities. Certainly no one-on-one contact, kissing, etc.

You're in turmoil, her friend is in turmoil, she's in turmoil, and she's still developing so rapidly that it's frightening. Start adding in the complexities of a relationship and the fickleness of that age-group, and you've got yourself a recipe for some pretty major upheaval when/if things go sour with this boy.

(You may all hurl tomatoes in my direction now.....)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:54AM
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No tomatoes Reno, but what's Mlaj supposed to do? Forbid her daughter from dating? I'm assuming there's no strong immigrant culture at play here that forbids girls from dating, so for a 16 year old girl from a 'culturally mainstream' American family, that probably wouldn't play well. Mlaj's daughter is young, but she hasn't mishandled things. And heck, we were ALL pretty young at 16, weren't we?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 9:56AM
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It seems like the kissing came fast, which means that the relationship will probably run it's course quickly. It's time for you Mlaj, to shift gears; don't worry about the other teenage girl or her mother, I'd recommend that you speak to your daughter about where this relationship is heading and how she wants to handle her relationships with boys. And how YOU want your daughter to handle her romantic life. In our sex-saturated society things move faster than teenagers have the maturity to grasp the consequences of and they need clearly stated expectations from their parents so that they can navigate these pressures successfully.

To me, test-driving a romantic relationship with pre-mature kissing is a very poor way to build a healthy relationships. And if this becomes a habit or if your daughter feels pressured (which I'm guessing shes feeling to some extent), she may end up feeling very confused about what's expected versus what she's getting from a romantic relationship. Have you spoken to this boys mother? Do you know much about his background?

Really, I don't see why any sixteen year old needs to date. They aren't equiped to handle the pressure at this age and the physical relationship becomes more intimate faster than the emotional relationship, which short-circuits the development of a good friendship, the ultimate goal of any romantic relationship. I have a sixteen year old and a seventeen year old, so I've sailed these waters before.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:49AM
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I was just about to post something when I saw Cup's post. She said it better than I could have, but I agree with her 100%.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:52AM
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In a perfect world, I would love to see kids start dating older. However, I think it's very naive to try and stop a 16 year from having a BF/GF relationship.
But believe it or not, I was 13 when I had my first kiss. I had lots of boyfriends, And although pressured at times, I remained a virgin til I was in college. I married that boy 19 years ago.

I do not know his parents, but she does, because they have all been friends for a while. I have met the mom and said hello, but I really do not know them. He comes from a stable home with loving parents. He has an excellent relationship with all his siblings. And he does exceptionally well in school. He is tall, cute, and very athletic. I get why she likes him.

He is only marginally more experienced than my daughter with the opposite sex. And I honestly think that the fact that she has never had a boyfriend appeals to him.

If it wasn't for her best friend and her mom, I would be very happy for them.

I am just preparing myself for the inevitable fall out.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 5:01PM
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"And I honestly think that the fact that she has never had a boyfriend appeals to him."

It appeals to most men/boys. DH likes to pretend he was my first, even though I was 29 and divorced when we met. ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 5:46PM
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I have no experience with 16 year old girls, except for when I was 16. The world is much different then than it is now. My MIL has a saying. It goes," If you are not 16 when you are 16, you'll be 16 at some other time in your life. Better to be 16 when you actually ARE 16". The age is a fill in the blank #, BTW. Her point is that if you're not allowed to feel the feelings, and act like you are whatever age you are, then you'll probably act that age when you are 35, 40, 45. We've all seen that! So, I disagree with the posters who say don't let her date. Let her date; just make sure it's under the rules that you want her to follow. Kissing at 16 is fun! More than kissing is a problem. Hopefully she knows herself, knows her family's beliefs and wishes and will act accordingly. A large base ball bat located near the front door in plain site of all potential boyfriends is always a good thing too!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 6:51PM
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I had my first "real" kiss at 15 and I was a late bloomer among my friends. And that was in the 80's. I can't imagine being 16 and not allowed to date. Twenty years later, I hear kids are starting younger and younger. Making it to 16 without kissing seems a miracle to me!

If I had a 16 y.o. daughter, I would actually prefer that she had a steady boyfriend. Many teens at that age hang out in a giant group and "hook up", which means they get to experiment with their hormones with no sense of commitment.

mlaj, I think you are doing beautifully. Keep those lines of communication open!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:46PM
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mlaj, are you interested in some advice from a recently 'been there, done that'?

FWIW, this is DivaD1's take on it- in her rear-view mirror (caution, situations in mirror may be closer than we'd like to think!)

1. If she's going to see the boy, make sure they go on actual 'dates'. He needs the responsibility of planning an evening, picking her up, making conversation, paying a bill, being a gentleman and getting her home on time. They may be able to talk in a group, but not face to face. Good to find this out. Early curfew- HOME, not a friend's house. Remember any unaccounted-for time will be spent making out.

2. When he picks her up, make sure he comes in to talk to parents- every time. Parents should look him in the eye and tell HIM what time she needs to be in, no alcohol, etc. He will feel much more responsible and more likely to 'behave' if he knows he will have to account to her parents.

3. If he parks in the driveway and honks the horn for her, the dad should march out and tell him in no uncertain terms this is the first and last time he will ever honk for "Maggie", does he understand?

4. Early curfew when their group goes out to 'hang out'. See above about unaccounted-for time.

Oh, my- what goes around comes around!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 11:54PM
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Wow, is time marching backwards? I was 16 in 1971. All of my friends had boyfriends at 16. We went to parties and out on dates all the time. What about the prom? If she's not allowed to date at 16 what will happen when she is 18 and goes off to college? She needs to have the experience to be able to handle adult life. I really don't understand how some of you can say she shouldn't date at all. I don't think that is realistic.
The best times of my life were when I was 16. Young love is so pure. I wish I could still feel that way when I kiss someone. LOL Yes, kissing can lead to sex. And no, I don't think a 16 year old can handle the emotional or physical responsibility of having sex. Having said that I think that many girls start having sex around that age. Please don''t go crazy here, I'm not saying all girls do. I just know in my H.S. in the seventies, most girls were having sex. I think some parents are very naive about what their teenagers are doing.
If this were my daughter I would allow her to date but with guidelines. Having good self esteem is a very important part of dating. Teaching her that she deserves to be treated with respect by the opposite sex is so important. She will learn by example. How your DH treats you will tell her how she should be treated. Dating is a learning experience. If you don't let a young girl date how will she learn?
(afraid to sign my name) Donna

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:29AM
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From my perspective my daughter is definitely a late bloomer compared to me and my sisters. I was 16 in 1981.
I thought I was going to marry my HS boyfriend. I think it lasted 4 months. Then , i fell in love again. And Again and again.
I should also note that I think my daughter is 1000 times prettier than I ever was. I was kinda surprised that she hadn't had a boyfriend until now.

Believe me I am not the slightest bit naive over what can happen. But I can't stop her from living because I am afraid of what she may do. That is how we learn and grow. It's all part of the process.

It's certainly not fun for me or my husband, but we know that its a normal right of passage.

16 was a total blast at times, but it was also a train wreck at times. The biggest difference is that my daughter tells me "almost everything" and I never discussed anything with my own parents.

My mom still thinks that I might have had two boyfriends in my life. She was completely clueless.

My daughters friend seems to be getting accustomed to being with my daughter and the boy. My niece slept over the friends house last night, so I can't wait to hear what was said about my daughter today. I asked my niece to tell me everything and i hope she does.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 9:19AM
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I went through a v. similar situation in high school. I was playing the role of your daughter. The boy and I ended up going out for over a year, he was my first love, my first etc, and a couple years after we broke up we became very close friends for many years.

I don't know what I would tell someone in that situation. I agree -- now -- that girlfriends are more important than boys. But when you're 16 those romantic emotions are so very overwhelming. And in your daughter's defense, it's not like she came in and busted up a relationship -- he doesn't like the other girl more than friends.

I guess if I could go back, the change I would make is to, well, put things off. Did I have to date him that week? That month? Probably if we had waited -- really waited, not kissing-while-waiting -- things would have been easier for everyone.

My friend and I had a rough week or two but then everything was back to normal and we were friends for a couple more years. Then we kind of went our separate ways over other issues.

Donna wrote: Young love is so pure. I wish I could still feel that way when I kiss someone.
LOL Donna! Gosh, making out at 16 was so very wonderful! I get all misty-eyed just thinking about it. :-)


    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:34PM
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I had a wondeful boyfriend when I was 16. We were so in love. We did everything together and were close to each others families. He was my first "real" love. Even as an adult I never felt that "pure" love" again. Because at 16, I didn't have any experience with hurt in a relationship I could just love him without fear.
That was a very special time in my life.
The reason that 16 year old kissing is so much better than adult kissing is because it's not precluding sex so the actual kissing is the focus. We all know that adult kissing last about 5 seconds before the guy "moves on". LOL
I didn't mean to get so off course on this topic, the memories got the better of me.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 9:01AM
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Well, if you would ask me if I was still friends with the girlfriends I had when I was 16, the answer to that would be no. I didn't make the type of lifelong friends that most of us have until college.

And if I had listened to my "friends" at the time about boys, I wouldn't be married to my husband today.

I think she should go out with the boy. She will always regret it and possibly even resent her friend if she doesn't. However, I think she needs to handle it delicately and help the best friend understand that the boy doesn't like her in that way. Basically - I think it would be best if that came from him, not from your daughter. That way she won't be the bad guy. Then your daughter and the boy might want to lay low for a couple of weeks and let things blow over. Then try going out on a date, without a lot of hoopla.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 5:21AM
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Well drama is already over before it started. Boy dumped my daughter online last wednesday. He said he just stopped liking her. Couldn't really explain it.
DD is crushed. Thank God, it did not ruin her friendship with her best friend.
Now I am dealing with her first broken heart. It truly sucks.

Live and learn

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 4:17PM
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mlaj, yes, live and learn. They break up online now ? seems cowardly but I guess that's how it is now. good luck with all this. (until next time, lol)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 7:21PM
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Coward, that is the word I would use as well. What a little jerk. I hope your daughter is doing ok.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:54PM
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Thanks guys,
She is doing better than me, I think. I am ready to kill this kid because the only reason she fell for him as hard as she did and agreed to date him is because she thought he "really, really" liked her soooooooo much.

Tell me how someone can just turn off their feelings like that?? I don't get it at all.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 3:35PM
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The only caution I'll offer you is not to become your daughter' best friend's mom. This guy was 16 or something, too, yes? Teenagers are almost unilaterally awkward at adult type behaviour. You don't have to "get it" at all.

Your daughter, her best friend, this boy ... they're all climbing a learning curve. They're going to be awkward and sloppy and ungainly at this teenage love-stuff. As someone very wisely said above, if you're not 16 when you're 16, you'll be 16 when you're 26 (ugh! what a picture! 16 is awful enough at 16.) This should go not just for your daughter but her friends and this boy too. Don't judge them by an adult's gauge.

Anyhow, I'd recommend not getting too involved or taking sides in your daughter's romantic tribulations. Let it be and let your daughter have her little heart-break. It's a safe way to learn to be cautious ...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 4:34PM
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"tell me how someone can just turn off their feelings like that"?
I'm 52 years old and men still are acting like that 16 year old boy. They dump woman all the time for no reason.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 5:12PM
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Oh I know intellectually that I shouldn't judge him too harshly. But.... the irrational, emotional, mamabear comes out when I see my DD crying over him.
You know how that is.

Now she tells me that she and her bestfriend are on a quest for adventure. They want to meet new people and have fun. Huh???? What the heck does this mean?

Please God, do not let her be like me and her Dad at that age. Aack!!! I am way too neurotic to have children. What was I thinking??

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:57PM
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She sounds like she is already developing resiliency. I say good for her.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 7:58AM
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"Now she tells me that she and her bestfriend are on a quest for adventure."

I wouldn't worry about it. From what you have written, she is a good kid. Their idea of adventure is probably not as crazy as you imagine it to be. Yesterday on my bus to work (I commute from NH to Boston) there were two 16 yo or so girls. Giggling away, excited about their day in the city. I saw them on my way home as well, and they obviously had a great day. Maybe that is the type of excitement your daughter means? A little innocent, but still "adult-ish" adventure with her friend?

When I was your daughter's age I had a car (well, at 16 1/2) and my best friend and I had a ball. We never got in trouble. Going to a town 20 miles away seemed like and adventure. During the summer we'd drive the hour to the beach and spend all day eating fried dough, getting burned, people watching. Now that I think of it, those sunburns were the most dangerous thing we did!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:03PM
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