Teens dating

MariposaTraicioneraAugust 31, 2006

How did you feel when your young teen came home and started talking about dating? I'm having a hard time seeing my 'baby' as an individual that's ready to go out ALONE with some stranger!!

Is it harder when the 'chid' is your son or daughter? I think since this is my daughter, I'm really having some serious fears about her being out alone... she's not rebellious, but thinks I'm over-reacting :-(

It's just all so new to me.

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I know it's not fair, and sexist, but it's always much harder with a daughter. Unfortunately, I didn't have to deal with it with my own daughter, being that my ex moved down to Alabama before she was old enough, but my youngest sister brought her first serious boy friend over to meet me and my ex. Funny how I just "happened" to be cleaning my guns at the kitchen table when they got there. :-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 8:04PM
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That's hilarious Bill...wish I had a gun too!

Yeah, it's different with a girl according to most of my friends. At least she told me tonight that they just want to 'hang out' at the mall...in the DAY! One step at a time.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:06AM
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How old is she?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:26PM
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Sue, she's 14. Some of her friends started dating at 12 and are way too serious in my opinion.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 12:24AM
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What do you mean "dating"? I have a 14 year old son and a a 17 year old son. Neither has had a serious girlfriend (thank god!) I think 14 is young for going out on a date alone...maybe ok to meet for a movie. How old is the boy? That would be a deciding factor too.

It's hard to be the tough parent, but I worry that dating at 14 only leads to too much intimacy too soon...How about letting her have boys come to the house to hang out? Meet as a group at the movies? I may be conservative but I would discourage a serious exclusive boyfriend at 14.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 9:50PM
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ps. I just reread your post and agree that meeting at the mall may be a good first step for your daughter! They just grow up so fast!!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 10:11PM
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My DD13 has a 'boyfriend'. They are actually friends more than an adult's concept of 'boyfriend'. The big excitement is if she sees him during lunch break she'll give him an extremely quick hug. NO kissing, NO hand holding, NO dates/time alone. Double dates ONLY- eg movies, bowling, DVD nights at house with parental supervision.
I am happy with this situation as it stands, she is a sensible girl who is not easily swayed by peer pressure.
I am also mindful and aware that one of my own friends was sexually active when she was 14. Key factor was time alone to experiment.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 7:05AM
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Um, I hate to break it to ya'll, but lots can happen in a movie theater. I'd be much happier with them meeting at the mall in a large group of friends - - lots of light and people around! And the fact that it's a double date doesn't change much. Remember drive in movies - - couples making out in the front seat and the back seat? I'm not saying this is always happening in a movie theater, I'm just saying it easily could.

Same thing with movies at other people's houses. I don't trust other parents to supervise as well as I would unless I know them very well. If you can hear mom or dad coming up the stairs, there is plenty of time to "reassemble".

My DS is only 11 and this has not become an issue yet. When it does, "supervision" will include sneaking up to the door (which will *always* be open and is on the main floor) and listening. I have no shame when it comes to stuff like this. There will be no such thing as privacy for teens in my house, except when they are in their rooms by themselves!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 1:57PM
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Some teenagers don't always stay in the movie theater. Back when my oldest in junior high, she told me about the kids that got dropped off at the movies but didn't stay. Yes, they'd buy a ticket and might even go in for a bit but some would leave and go around the back to make out, including having sex.

Some don't stay with the group when group dating either. It's the old "if there's a will, there's a way."

Have no shame, is right - It's tough sometimes when raising teenagers!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 2:52PM
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No dating! Oh no! Mom in denial here! 14!!! My 14 yr old!?! Not til after grad school, her dad declares..... Unfortunately the most threatening thing we could pull out to "clean" is a chef's knife, would that work?

My DD does a lot with mixed groups of friends, usually 10-15 friends, parties, movies, various public fun spots. Usually there's a "project" -- a movie they're making, sports, or an event they're planning/enjoying.

DD just started high school, big school, and boys are chatting with her which, according to her dad, is completely unnecessary, they can come to him with any pertinent questions.....

Recently I met with alarming resistance to my rule that boys can party late with the girls, but the boys "sleep over" at one of the boys' homes -- not here with the girls! Yes they're all just friends but I'm trying to guide some decision-making here for the day my daughter moves on.

No dating, head-in-sand, books are more fun than boys, why aren't there more all-girls-schools anyway, why so much hugging, what ever happened to trusting parents with matchmaking at an appropriate time? Sigh. This is way harder than renovating the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 3:09PM
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Well, I am happy to report that the word 'dating' is out, and hanging out together with other friends is apparently what she had in mind. The boy however, sees hanging out as dating. Must be an ego thing...he's 15. Right now they're talking on the phone, and see each other at school. We've already said that if he wants to come over and hang out here, that's fine. Mall trips with other kids is fine too, but we've told DD that if she does anything to betray our trust she'll lose privileges. She's been very good about everything and understands that we're just trying to guide her slowly through this process, and that one day she'll be old enough to date i.e. go out alone with a young man.

*sigh*...they grow up WAY TOO quickly, don't they?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 10:00PM
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Having gone through this 'kids growing up' thing twice and in the throes of it once again with a 14YO, our biggest headaches were the times other parents hosted kids and 'supervised'.

I don't know what Funk & Wagnalls these people were using. In my book, "supervision" does not mean allowing the kids behind closed doors anywhere, upstairs in bedrooms (these are well-to-do families and space in public areas is not a problem), leaving the house while the kids are there, allowing them to watch age-inappropriate movies, transporting them to another house where parents are out of town, chauffering them around the neighborhood to TP houses, I could go on and on.

We have always had the rule 'no opposite sex upstairs', and told our kids they are not to hang out in the bedroom of an 'opposite sex' friend. It's not enough to say "I was there but nothing happened." The reputation issue does not become an issue only if you can say "I wasn't there." While our older kids loathed us for that rule when they were at home, they both told the 14YO that it would keep her out of more trouble than she could think up.

I wish I were looking more forward to these next 4 years...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 9:20AM
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Hanging out with friends seems to be all the rage in my daughter's crowd. We make it easy for kids to hang out at our place -- we lay low, keep the food coming, & reap the benefits: great stories, great laughs, and the comfort of knowing all are safe.

Like you, pecanpie, I can't believe the lack of supervision in some households. Recently the mom of a boy dropped by our house in person to check out the plan before releasing him & I could have kissed her -- sometimes parents who don't know us just drop kids off for the night so it's refreshing to have a mom drop by the backyard or kitchen to thoroughly review the family set-up!

I expect the next 4 yrs to be a rocky road emotionally but overall I think teens get a bad rap. I find kids of all ages to be great fun and even more entertaining during the teen years, particularly the more talkative ones. It's the heartaches that worry me more than anything.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Keep tabs on them. A 17 year old boy lives in the house next to us. His parents also have a cottage and stayed at the cottage last Friday night. The parents came home at 7:30 saturday morning (I'm guessing unexpectedly)--I happened to be looking out my window and saw a girl (it was cold out and she only had a black sports bra on and black slacks) bolt out of their back door and run along the side of their house to her car and take off. I haven't heard yet whether the parents figured out that she was there yet or not, but I assume her parents didn't know she was spending the night at this boys' house and I know for a fact that the boys' parents would not allow it. So, when your daughter calls and tells you that she's spending the night with a girl friend, talk to the parents and make sure she's really going to be where she said she was going to be. Your daughter will get used to it and no, regardless of what your daughter says, you will not be the only parent that makes such calls. One easy way to make the call is to just call the parent to say thank you for letting your daughter stay over night at their house tonight and if the daughter really isn't staying there you quickly find out. I have a 16 year old son but he is extremely shy and bolts whenever a girl even says hi to him, so I've had it easy so far, but that could change any day.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 2:17PM
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One of the private schools near our old house has an 'open campus' policy- kids can come and go if they're not in class. Another has no after school sports requirement and gets out at 2:45. Playing afternoons in the front yard with my small children was a huge eye-opener. There was more afternoon delight on our block than you could imagine. I would stand out front and give them the evil eye. Some parents worked, some were volunteering and some moms played golf while their offspring mated.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 3:53PM
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I realize things are different now in some ways than when i was a teenager, but not THAT different. There were always parents who weren't around or who were but looked the other way or who THOUGHT they knew what their kids were doing but were wrong. There were kids who drank and did drugs and had sex, and kids who didn't. I think this is why it's so important to do one's best to keep the lines of communication open. Easier said than done, I know. My kids are under 10, but i already see that it can be a challenge to get them to talk about what's really on their minds. I do think kids are always being forced/encouraged to grow up faster than they should in some ways--just heard from a friend that her boys' overnight camp had "socials" with the girls' camps--the younger boy is only 8!!

I live 4 blocks from a public high school, and a mile from a middle school and a private boys' high school, so i see some of the same stuff pecanpie mentions. My kids will be able to walk to middle school and high school. Because i work from home, i plan to make my house the most welcoming place i can for them and their friends after school!

That said, I'm not sure i'm such a fan of the 'hanging out in malls' method of dating. Yes, it means they're in groups and in public--as far as you know! But there are a lot of places to go in malls where you can pair off and no one's really paying attention (you'd be surprised how much can happen in a store fitting room!). Seriously, i think someone already said, where there's a will, there's a way, and sometimes it's even worse in a group b/c there's more peer pressure, whereas if the kids are one-on-one, maybe they can relax and be themselves a little more (of course, depends on the kid). otoh, maybe they'd be more awkward together b/c of not being used to being left alone!

I must confess that i went on my first date at age 14, with a 16-yr-old boy who drove. My parents had met the boy and his parents before the date (but if they hadn't, they still would've okay'd it). He still got the usual grilling when he picked me up at their house, and i got the grilling when i got home (not too late, either!). When you have to meet the parents and chat with them, i think somehow it instills a little more fear/respect that someone's monitoring the situation. This doesn't usually happen when you're meeting a group at the mall--anyone can show up, and you may not have met half the kids. I also think that letting them go on a date is a very individual decision, depending on the maturity of the teen and how much you feel you can trust them. If you've discussed the situation thoroughly with them and think they're mature enough to make the right decisions about it, it shows that you trust their judgment, and if they feel trusted, maybe they're less likely to want to betray that trust (or they'll feel darn guilty about it, if they do). My parents were maybe a little unusual in that they're pretty far apart in age, my mom started dating fairly young and married young (though not so young for the time), while my dad married a bit on the older side. Thus, my dating at that age, and dating older boys, didn't seem unusual to them (or to me). Again, i think it depends on the individual situation and certainly if the teens themselves indicate they don't feel ready, there's no reason to do it, but also letting them go on a date doesn't mean there are no limits put on their behavior.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 11:09AM
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Lots of interesting responses and good tips. Sorry for not getting back to this thread earlier...

DD got a job babysitting at a church nearby and that's keeping her busy. The boy is in band and extremely busy right now so chatting has slowed down as well. He did ask her to have lunch with him next weekend and told her he'd like to meet me. He's already met DH but I swear that some men don't worry too much about their children dating. At least mine doesn't. He grew up in a family of all boys.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 9:19PM
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carolyn, I agree with making the calls- I do it in person. I guess that what it comes down to for me- I take my responsibility very keenly. I know the parents of DD13's friends really well. Know that they will supervise as well as I would.

My DS is 14 and is just entering a new peer group. I am not too keen about this. I was VERY shocked when he had a get together here last holidays. One boy (who is diabetic) was just dropped off out front and at pickup time his mum pulled up and honked the horn and he disappeared out the door without so much as a "bye" let alone a "thanks". The mum gave me no 'headsup' on his diabetic needs. Another friend who is from a spilt family was told by his dad that he needed to 'find a place to stay' because his dad was having a party (Lord know!). I reluctantly agreed to have him stay over but would you believe it, he never said a word of thanks for any of the meals or the stay over. The mum collected him (this one actually came to the door) but was gone within 30 seconds.
Meanwhile I am thinking "no, no no!" I would NEVER allow this behaviour from my children, and NEVER send them off to a family I had never met. Who's to say we weren't the local DIY drugs lab? or shooting gallery? or brothel?
Anyway, my children are independant WHEN and HOW I let them be!

Oh, and mall shopping is strictly VERY limited (1/2 before a movie is PLENTY!) At our local mall we see the groups of teens- my DH and I have a favourite saying when a group goes past us: "The herd is on the move" LOL!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:43AM
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I guy I know came to me one day wanting my opinion on something. His son wanted to go to a sleepover at a friend from school's house. He and his wife do not know the parents of the boy at all. My friend didn't think it was a good idea, his wife was fine with it and thought he was being ridiculous for saying no. The boys were 5. I couldn't believe anyone would consider sending their 5 yo to the house of someone they don't know. Some parents are just clueness/naive/asking for trouble (take your pick).

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 2:14PM
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