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If you don't like your kid's SO

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dazdandconfuzed posted 11/11/2013 09:37 AM

What is a reasonable action if you don't like your teen's SO?

My DS13 has had a GF for about 6 months now. She wouldn't be my first choice for him because she has a lot of FOO issues, she's very needy, and she gets in a snit and then dumps him every now and then - immediately regretting it and getting VERY dramatic until he takes her back. There have been other issues, too. But... I do like the girl. She spends a lot of time here, we spend a lot of time driving her around - the last time she dumped him and it took a week for him to take her back I kind of missed her.

My MOTHER on the other hand... Over the summer my H caught this young lady sneaking out of my DS's bedroom at 6:00 am. I was with my mom at the time so of course I told her. Since then she keeps telling me in a million different ways that I have to make the kids break up. Now I did ground my kid for a month and a half, until school started again. We took his "little man cave" - the huge basement room with a separate door to the outside - away and he is now in a bedroom right next to mom and dad that is less than half the size. So he was certainly punished. But I didn't "make them break up".

When I was a kid - that was my parents M.O. Every boy I dated they hated and they would tell me I was forbidden to see him any more. Which resulted in.... yup, me sneaking around behind their back. I think a lot of the allure of some of the boys was just the fact that my parents hated them. Some of them would say they hated and that boy wasn't allowed in their home, but they would let me get in cars with them and go on dates - which now as an adult I think is nothing but strange. Forbidden to spend time with these boys when they can keep an eye on them, but sure - go get in a car with them? WTF?

They also hated all my friends and all my brother's friends (he didn't really date in HS) and had demeaning nicknames for all of them and nothing but terrible things to say about them. My brother and I very, very rarely had friends over - we would always be at a friend's house but never brought them home with us.

So - H and I try to be the house that it is cool to hang out in. Sure - have friends over, I'll order a pizza. We put a pool in over the summer because I want this to be the house where all the teens are - then I can keep my eye on them and KNOW everyone is safe.

But my mom keeps picking at the scab. At first it was "you can't let him see that girl any more". Then it was "well, I really don't think they are a good fit" and "what does your IC say - does she agree with me that they aren't a good fit?" and then moving on to "well, someday if your DD every brings home someone as bad as (insulting nickname for a boy I dated 30 years ago) maybe you'll see things my way. The first time I gave a full answer - I don't want to forbid anything. That will just make the R seem more attractive and they will sneak around and I won't be able to keep my eye on them. Since then I just say "it is his choice to make, not mine" or "I know you would do it that way, but my choice is different".

Today she got nasty with me. So am I totally out of line? What is the "right" thing to do if your kid's SO maybe isn't the best choice?

nowiknow23 posted 11/11/2013 10:28 AM

Your mom is entitled to her opinion, but it's your kid, your house, your rules, period. You've already explained your reasoning, which is above and beyond what your mother is entitled to, BTW. The subject is not up for discussion. Stand your ground.

betrayedfriend posted 11/11/2013 10:44 AM

Ooh, that just chaps my ass! I mean sure this girl probably isn't the best relationship your son will have, but they are 13! Your mom on the other hand, needs to be told that you and your husband have made the appropriate decisions regarding your child and she is welcome to agree or not, but the topic is no longer up for discussion. And then any time she says anything about it, say " not up for discussion" or "your opinion is not a factor and is unwanted" you need to enforce your boundaries here!

dazdandconfuzed posted 11/11/2013 11:02 AM

My biggest problem is that she's been working at me so long, I'm starting to doubt my decisions. Am I right, or is she? I hate it when self-doubt comes creeping in.

nowiknow23 posted 11/11/2013 11:11 AM

dazed - I made the same decision you did. I have never and will never tell my kids who to date. And my DS19 has dated some doozies, let me tell you. But in my opinion, children need to learn how to make the right choices, not have some external source dictate what they should or should not do.

Your choice allows your child to develop critical skills while keeping communications with you open. Sounds like damn good parenting to me.

hardtimesinlife posted 11/11/2013 11:19 AM

Dazed, you are right and your mom is wrong. My opinion, of course, but I don't know how it could be seen any other way.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say she's been working on you for so long. We come to see our parents as the ones who know all and see all.

My dad suggested I plant girls underwear in DD's boyfriend's car when she was 16. He didn't like the guy and wanted me to "arrange" for them to break up Oh, I didn't do it, BTW

solus sto posted 11/11/2013 11:42 AM

I have the house where kids hang out.

I pick my battles. But when there is one, I fight it. I think you have one that needs a strategic war plan.

At 13, you still have a great deal of control over the situation. When I say control, please understand that I have not ever felt my kids were opponents or that I needed to control them. I mean that at 13, you can guide him more easily (or at least differently) than you will be when he's older, driving, working, then away at school, living on his own, etc.

A girl in the bedroom overnight? At 13? That's a pretty big deal, and fear of pushing them together really should not guide your reaction. They're already together.

I am the most laissez-faire parent you'll ever meet. I never did The Talk. I take advantage of whatever "teachable moments" and have ongoing conversations. From preschool on, my kids and I talked about sex, responsibility, relationships, respect, STDs, and the kinds of partners to have and to be. (No, the irony is not lost on me, but I was in the dark for many years.)

Your son may need a pool and hang-out house less than he needs a mom who guides him---about choosing healthy and intact partners, about respect, and about sexual safety.

The good news is that you can be both. You don't have to swing all the way to pole opposite your parents'.

At 13, you're not dealing with a
"SO." You're dealing with what will hopefully be one of many girlfriends he has. I don't say that to minimize your son's feelings; young love is very, very important. But it's a training ground. And the "training" can involve your help framing his feelings realistically. This is not a girl with whom he is apt to remain long-term. He may adore her now, but because their relationship is likely not destined for forever, it would be a shame if it were to lead to permanent consequences.

I think that in your quest to provide a safe haven for your son--which is admirable--you might be having lost sight of the importance of guiding him and--more importantly--of the fact that guiding a 13-year-old differs VASTLY from guiding a 15-year-old (which differs VASTLY from guiding a 17-year-old...and so on).

I get that you want to feel safe to him. I would suggest that safety means talking with him about your concerns and, when necessary, guiding the outcome. I was barely older than him when I started dating stbx. I wish to God my parents had responded to the HUGE red flags raised by his FOO. Would I have hated them? I don't know. I don't think so. (I would hate to share how I feel about their parenting now.)

At 13, if I had concerns about a girlfriend, I would express them. Like you, I would not forbid contact unless there was a very real danger. But I would do my best to ensure my child was very, very busy. A kid who's got lots to do---and it can be really fun stuff!---is a kid who (a) is exposed to different kinds of people and is more apt to conclude that he doesn't want Miss Broken Wing, and (b) doesn't have as much time for his relationship.

You're his mom. Not his friend. I hate it when people say this to me---so I cringe typing it. I DO understand your stance. I am very relaxed about parenting things. But when it comes to relationships, I think it's important to express concerns and offer guidance. It's our job.

ETA: And if you're already providing guidance-which I do NOT assume you're not!--then relax and know you're a-okay. Your mom's approach didn't work. Trust yours.

[This message edited by solus sto at 11:43 AM, November 11th (Monday)]

Dreamboat posted 11/11/2013 12:42 PM

Over the summer my H caught this young lady sneaking out of my DS's bedroom at 6:00 am.

You do realize that they are having sex, right? I would be much more concerned about that and your DS becoming father at 13/14/15/16 than what your mother says.

I am not saying you should "force" them to break up because that will not work. But you do need to sit them both down and tell them that you do not approve of them having sex at this young age and explain that you can get pregnant the first time and that anything less than a condom cannot be considered birth control.

itainteasy posted 11/11/2013 14:06 PM

Without getting into the "should I make them break up" discussion, because I honestly have no advice on that...

Your mother needs to BUTT OUT. This is YOUR child. The way YOU and YOUR HUSBAND raise him is YOUR BUSINESS, not your mother's.

She can think anything she wants, from over know, her house? Where you and your child do not live.

So, whatever decision YOU and YOUR HUSBAND come to is the right decision.

Do not be bullied into doing things your mother's way.

Now, if you and your husband come to the same conclusion, and decide that the kids should spend time apart, that's fine. As long as it's YOUR decision and not you caving into what your mother wants.

Good luck.

dazdandconfuzed posted 11/11/2013 14:10 PM

You do realize that they are having sex, right? I would be much more concerned about that and your DS becoming father at 13/14/15/16 than what your mother says.

Do I realize they are having sex? Hmmmmm.... maybe? I am a realist enough to know that it may have happened. But I am actually a bit of a hard ass as a parent, regardless of how I sounded, lol. DS has a cell phone with the understanding that it is MY property and I will look at it whenever I want. I tend to look at it without telling him - frankly so he won't sanitize what is in there in case I see it. I always feel a bit underhanded when I do - but hey, trust but verify, right? So I have seen things in his txt history with her that indicate that they haven't. I do know though, that he still might be sanitizing what he puts in there, although there have definitely been things that upset me. Just not major enough to freak out on him so he stops using the txt feature.

So I monitor facebook, txt and email. What I have seen pretty much points to the girl not wanting to and him respecting that. Again - my eyes are open though, and I know it's still a possibility. So we have discussed sex, safe sex, birth control - and maybe even more importantly why I think *this particular girl* is not a good choice for him to have sex with. There is a lot of drama in their relationship and I warned him if they become sexually active that will get worse, not better and that I just feel she is too emotionally fragile to handle it. This ON TOP of their ages. I prefer they hang out at my house because I don't trust their mom to supervise them. No being alone behind closed doors - some where that I can see them all the time. I do know that every day they are together, the likelihood increases. ~shudder~

You're his mom. Not his friend. I hate it when people say this to me---so I cringe typing it. I DO understand your stance. I am very relaxed about parenting things. But when it comes to relationships, I think it's important to express concerns and offer guidance. It's our job.

This actually made me laugh (in a good way) rather than offend me. Cuz my kids, for the most part, think I am a tyrant. I remember when DS went on his first "date" at 12, how very, very upset he was that I didn't sit with him when he took the girl to the movies - but I did sit about 10 rows back with my eyes on them. And when we went to pick the girl up, her mom said "My DD tells me you are very strict, so I'm not worried". I was thinking "Who, me? Strict?" I have been honest about why I don't think this girl is a good choice for him, and unfortunately for this girl none of it is her own fault. I do feel bad for her - but I think she has a lot of IC ahead before she will make anyone a good partner. We have had many talks that include things like "well, you will date a lot of girls before you find one to settle down with" and things like that.

So I am not ignoring the fact that this little teenage thing (cuz I guess it really can't be called an R yet, can it?) isn't good for DS. I am just not forbidding it - and trying to keep it here in front of me where I can see what's going on.

My dad suggested I plant girls underwear in DD's boyfriend's car when she was 16. He didn't like the guy and wanted me to "arrange" for them to break up

My mother would consider this pure genius, for sure.

Jeaniegirl posted 11/11/2013 15:02 PM

I may be in the minority here but I would be greatly concerned about her coming out of his room at 6 a.m. That suggests she might be from a home where she has no rules and is taking your son along for the ride. While I wouldn't forbid him to see her, I certainly wouldn't encourage it by taking her around with you. Simply put, I would not encourage this relationship and there are many ways you can do that.

There are lots of people who find themselves as grandparents for this type of situation.

Good luck!

Edited to add: Tell your MOM to butt out!

[This message edited by Jeaniegirl at 3:03 PM, November 11th (Monday)]

PricklePatch posted 11/11/2013 23:20 PM

My dd has told me the girls are doing his and sex at her school. It's very common. Some of the parents are giving random drug tests as well.

If you clamp down, it will make it more intense.

dazdandconfuzed posted 11/12/2013 07:28 AM

The rules at her house are a bit more lax than mine, which is why I prefer they hang out here - but she had told mom she was staying at a girlfriend's house. No one knew she was here. H drove her home and woke her surprised mom up at 6:00 am. Her dad died when she was very little which I think has a lot to do with how clingy and needy she is with my DS. Totally not her fault, and very sad - but she hasn't had anyone to show her what a healthy relationship looks like. With a lot of IC I think she can get there, but I but then I hope my DS has long since moved on by then.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement.

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