Thursday, September 24

the computer says 'no'

A discussion on the way home from the terms 'learning conversation', a student led interaction between parent child and teacher in lieu of the traditional parent/teacher night, turned into a night from my worst nightmare. My nearly 15 yo bean informs me that she has a boyfriend. Nice. Then she tells me the 'boy' is not really a 'boy'. Hes a 20 something man! Holy fuck. I hung onto all my instincts to just lose it, ban her from seeing him etc etc. But i didnt. Is the guy a complete moron or just a plain sicko? Jesus. Trust factor is being given a MAJOR workout here. I told her i did disprove, strongly, that rules applied in extra force, we had a talk about sex, about men and expectations, about power, misuse of it, whose got it, about control and autonomy and feeling all grown up and love and desire and feeling beautiful and good about yourself and sex and sex. Oh boy! Ive told her i want to meet him, but actually the thought of that is making me feel ill. I just want to tel him to 'fuck off'. She has told me that if i dont want her to see him that she wont because i take precendence, but she was so angry with me for not approving that the consequences to our trust relationship will obviously be affected.Im seriously working on the theory that if i squash it she wont tell me these things in the future "I wish i didnt tell you mum" was ringing in my ears and sending me a major call. I really want her to talk to me about these things and me outright banning her from seeing him i figured would either push it underground and she would start lieing to me to see him or just not tell me about anything 'undesirable' next time. I really want her to safely learn her own terms. Is this pie in the sky thinking? Doesnt she know i have a PhD to finish!

This delightful news topped off what was already a really bad day. And i thought B2 feeling devestated about me not approving of her and her friends posting a soon to be made and much organised vidoeo on YouTube earlier that day was a difficult moment. Its such a fine line. Parenting really sucks sometimes. Where's the rulebook for best outcomes? I dated a 19 yo when i was 14 for a few months and i know i handled that situation well and never felt compromised nor unsafe.

I was a naughty kid, pushed boundaries and never told my mother very much about my actions and behaviours but never got into any serious trouble, just the odd close situation. I lived in Bangkok without my parents at 15 and was generally pretty streetwise. I got kicked out of home at 17 for having a sexual relationship which my mother just couldnt handle( I was in university by then!). Pot.Kettle.Black is coming home to roost. Does anyone else have any experience of this? Some pearls of wisdom to help out one freaked out mother?

20 comments:

Stewart said...

Sometimes boundaries are pushed by kids because the kids need to know where it(the boundary)is. I think you can state this is past your boundary and ask if said bean would consider moving back inside your boundary or negotiate a new boundary you both can live with.
She did say you are her priority so it seems to me busting up any trust you have is a far way off.
As for the pot calling the kettle black sometimes a little self disclosure in the form of 'this is what I did and this is why I feel this way about this situation', can be helpful.
If anything I'd really be wanting to talk to the 20 something and ask him what gives. How and where did they meet? Does he have a history of young girls? The full parent trip protecting her 'young' girl!
Good luck.

Julie said...

Erk. No advice to offer sadly as my girls are all so much younger, but I feel totally nauseous knowing I will have to go through this times 3 in another few years... I think I'll be lucky with my eldest as she's turning out to be a total 'square' like DH LOL, but the other two are more like me than I care to contemplate... Good luck!

Veggie Gnome said...

No advice from here. Just a question. Why would you be more comfortable if B1 had a younger boyfriend? She's obviously very mature for her tender age and is therefore also looking for a more mature boyfriend. I'd try to meet him as soon as possible to suss him out. He might be a lovely, mature person, caring very much for your daughter. If he isn't... then you have to have a very good talk with B1 again.
Good luck!

Katy said...

When I was 16 I was seeing a much, much older man. At 16 I had a part time job, had good grades - I was always pretty quite but I did find , and still do, that I have always had older friends and boyfriends. I am 30 now and only have one other friend in the late twenties early 30s arena - everyone else is 35 and up - the Mr is 35 and that is the closest partner I have had age wise. I didn't tell my parents until later what I was up to with my older man (as they are both ex police and a bit freaky) but I was with him because he seemed to 'get me' more than boys my age - at 16 I wanted to save the world, lead the world and he was the only one who didn't think I was an idiot! (and he was just very good looking!) I don't know if this helps but maybe this is why B1 likes this guy - mine fizzled when I went to uni and found others but as bad as it seems now - when she is 30 and he is 35 no one will bat and eyelid. And yes I know karma will bite me for writing this and my girl will now turn 15 and find an 80 year old! x When in doubt you said you were thinking of shotguns and pigs!

greenfumb said...

OMG, I do feel for you, my Teen 2 is almost 15 and it has recently been revealed that she has a boyfriend. I was comforted by the fact that he was in the same year at school, not sure why that should make a difference really but it did.

You are right about keeping the lines of communication open though, it is better to appear to approve of something than find that she is sneaking around, running away or whatever.

I was an absolutely diabolical teenager, told my parents nothing and was lucky not to get into serious trouble so I am very careful to keep my kids talking and to bite my tongue as much as possible. Difficult as that usually is.

Good Luck x

Kelly said...

stewart- eek! but she did also say that she wished she never told me. when i was at my most horrified, hmm. it sall very tricky. i want her to talk to me. i have always put boundaries on the girls and know that kids do love them, but she is moving out of kid and into experimental adultkid, a touchy time. this is her first big feel crushy thing, she feels so good about herself, from fat kid to swan and in her own words, boys her age just want sex and then move on, no respect for girls. He is the older brother of a friend. Yes, i want to have a chat, and hoping it will fizz in a few weks when they realise(mostly him) that curfews, pub bans, consent issues! will get in the way.

julie- she IS our nerd, thats whats distressing. A mature, thoughtful NERD!

veggie- i have been asking myself this too, and so did she and she put up a good case for older boys/men. Damn bright kids! more respect, less inclined to the thenk you maams. She did say if he wants sex she will run a mile. Im hoping thats true. Problem is he is a lot older. Si is 14 years older than me, not a problem when your mature i think, but 15 and 27!!! yes, 27!! is a bit outrageous in my book.but open for further instruction.

katy- snap. me too. my bloke is a lot older and i have always gone out with older blokes and had older friends, which is why i do understand her situation. she is an accellerated student 14yo and about to head into yr 11, all older peers 16/17/18 But the age gap is just soo big, and as she is a minor, cant do what he can. im giving it week , then another chat, then afw more weeks and hoping...

greenfumb-Im not at the approving stage and she knows it but i am not at the banning stage. I have told her i understand the whoohoo she is feeling but we need to maanage her time. No alone, days , etc. Im hoping that such a juvenile approach will put him off!!! my bad.? Its a curse to have such personal expereinces of naughtyness, isnt it?

Karin said...

No advice here but I'll be listening in to see how it all goes! Teens. wow! I've got a ways to go (thank god!)

kale for sale said...

Not an ounce of experience here. I'm simply appreciating how much you seem to love each other and respecting even more the role of being a mother.

cristy said...

Oh that is such a tough one. From my own similar experience (to your daughter's not yours), I would have to say that Yes, there absolutely are issues with a 15 year-old dating an older guy - mostly regarding power dynamics and sex - but that I think (but absolutely do not know for sure) that the more accepting you are of her capacity to behave responsibly, the more likely she is to live up to that expectation and keep you in the loop. As much as it feels unsafe, I would say that now is the exact moment to exhibit a whole lot of trust in her, while still keeping the communication channels open so that she can benefit from your perspective and experience.

I think she'll probably surprise you and your relationship will stay so much stronger if you can let go a little.

All that said, I don't know either of you (or HIM), so I could be completely wrong!

Anonymous said...

I think you are doing all the right things, we have to trust our gut instincts and go with them, they dont let us down to readily.

Yes he is too old for her, no question or doubt there.

What are his interests in her, what do they have in common and what do they share together that makes them both interested in each other. Does he think that you should approve of this relationship? and why? His reasons interest me...

This may be way of base, however my husband passed away aged 38 and my daughter was 14 (she is now 22)- she was always a quiet contented child, never one days trouble. At age 16 she met a boy and that was it - the world stopped and nothing was going to keep them apart.. I think sometimes girls look for love they didnt receive from their fathers in other males/men/boys... fathers play such an important role in how daughters feel about themselves and the love from males they seek out..

My opinion only...
Good luck thinking of you
Kathy

Jen said...

'I think sometimes girls look for love they didnt receive from their fathers in other males/men/boys... fathers play such an important role in how daughters feel about themselves and the love from males they seek out...'

True in my case Kathy. I had an emotionally absent father, and I chose a man who is constantly, perhaps overally emotionally 'in-sync' with whats going on for me.

Not sure how they may apply to B1's life, or Kelly's dilemma. But it does broaden the focus of the issue to perhaps being not just about the older boyfriend? Sorry Kel, that probably doesnt help at all...darn it

belinda said...

Wow,

Congratulations, for managing to hold onto your tongue while your instincts went wild. I was impressed enough when you described him as 20 something.. at 27 that would be an even wilder mental ball game.

Taking into account I have no children, I was born 40 so really don't remember what that side of 15 was like and I don't know either you or the child past what is written in this post. I really should just keep my opinion to myself but I am a meddlesome advise giver so here goes.

Ok you have drawn a boundary specified by your lack of approval.. for the personality type I suspect she is that is going to hurt.

Unless I have read this wrong this child is an approval seeker. Through her smarts and general rule following is mostly used to being able to earn it.

Hard as it is going to have to be you will need to find a way for her to legitimately earn your approval around this situation. It may be you start to see personal growth you can approve of or something along those lines.

I guess what I am saying is you need to prove to her that your initial reaction and lack of approval can and will soften if you are seeing positive results in her. While of course meeting and scoping out the boy cause that sure is and age difference and a half.

This is going to have to be a lesson in "even if I tell Mum stuff she doesn't want to hear and she reacts badly initially that it can work out well in the end".

Kind Regards
Belinda

Ramsey said...

Hi Kelly,
So far I think you have done well considering my response to my 6 year olds conversation.
My only offering is you should never have used the line
"Doesn't she know i have a PhD to finish!
I hope this is the last time you ever use it.
Your PhD was your undertaking and has nothing to do with Bean growing up. Many times already she has probably given you slack because of "it".
It is now Her turn, don't make Her guilty of growing up just because of "it", after all there is always an excuse.
This line might be cryptic to most but considering the heavy Japanese influence you have in your environment, do you have a little wooden idol with only one eye "coloured in"? Mine eventually, after to many years, now has two coloured eyes!
Let Bean, be Bean, but give her wisdom to help with the decisions she should make. After all she has spent many years watching your reactions/decisions I am sure she will cope well.

No need to publish this comment mostly it is for You.

Kelly said...

karin- ohh to be an observer and not a player. i want them 5 again!

kale- is agony this love business! lol. bittersweet it is.

kristy- 'now is the exact moment to trust her' i needed that , thanks. it feels sooo scary but i know i have to let go a little.

kathy - his reasons interest me too!! why i need to meet the guy. too strange for my liking. And yes, the searching for father figure has been playing in y mind, i know its playing a part with her absent dad. sigh.

jen - see above ! lol. yup, i figured it was rearing its head, this searching for love business...

belinda- wow back! that was an incredible commentary- you have nailed her seeking approval personality and have put some things into perspective completely for me. thank you!

ramsey- never fear. that line 'doesnt she know i have a PhD to finish' was not spoken aloud. I thought i had made that clear with my use of literary technique (LOL) obviously not. It was me having a narcissistic freak out internally. Definitely her turn and my choices have always remained in that realm. Mine. Nothing for the children or anyone else to take responsibility for. Thanks for your concern.

Telela said...

Could you teach her to enter this relationship with her womanly wiles intact? If she is aware that she needs to question his motives each step of the way, rather than go in with her heart wide open and her eyes blinded by love, then she can be more assured about the choices she makes along the way.
How does her friend feel about it? If she's a close friends then perhaps you should talk to her about the very real possibility of her losing that friendship if the relationship ends - which is entirely likely given that this is her first love.
Let her know that she has a lot to lose so she needs to consider the impact that this will have on her relationships with family and friends before making any decisions. That's only fair as I'm sure you did that and if she's mature enough to enter an adult relationship she needs to accept adult responsibilities - both emotional and physical.
Otherwise just trust her and love her and even if she screws up royally then as long as she has that no problem will ever be too great, life might just take a different direction.

Kelly said...

telela- im resigned to the trust and communication thing right now, with some serious scrutiny attached. friends are all 'cool with it (rools eyes, what else). oh yeah, and up the 'adult' responsibilities, no cake n' all..

Lisa Barrett said...

Oz has had a girlfriend for over a year he is 16 now and she is 19. That was pretty confronting to start with. I think that them buying a double bed for his room recently topped it on the confronting moments of my life tho.
Having met my current husband at age 14 I suppose I do understand how intense it can be.

Kelly said...

lisa-its all so bloody tricky isnt it? trying hard to be open, not angry but eeek! not happy jan.

lyrebird said...

i've got four girls but can't offer much other than that appealing to their own sense of dignity by offering them repect and the assumption that they are mature, intelligent, sensible and sensitive, seems like a good approach for me. certainly keeping communication happening by being 'cool' with it even if you are freaking out inside is important. you seem pretty special yourself so i imagine your offspring will be inclined in that direction too. good luck and let us know how it pans out...
kate

Kelly said...

kate-its thos eassumptions that i keep to-ing and fro-ing over. Sometimes one just get into bad situations irrespective...a fine balance of judement from us both. Thanks for the vote of confidence, i have found some freat solace in all these comments, but i havent told my mother! lol.