15 Year Old Daughter and Boyfriend

Updated on April 11, 2010
K.O. asks from Wake Forest, NC
18 answers

Hello Moms!
I have a teenage daughter who has a boyfriend. I am uncomfortable with the dating thing and and she knows, but I don't want her to go behind my back so we agreed. We have come to the understanding that if she does well in a year and doesn't try and sneak off or hide anything from me, she will be allowed to car date. We also had the talk and if she feel that she wants to be sexual active with him - than we will go to the Dr.
As of right now he comes to the house on the weekends and spends around 8 hours with her. She is not allowed to his house yet but I have met the parents and if they were to invite her over for dinner - I would allow that. When he comes over they would watch TV in the living room and go on the computer in the living room. I allow them to hangout in her room with the door open. They are not to be on the bed laying down but they are allowed to sit on it. My bedroom/office is across from her bedroom.
I know they "make out" and stuff but I feel uneasy. Is this normal? He is a good boy, polite and comes from a good family. He is 16 going to be 17 in a month and my daughter is going to be 16 in two months. I know what teens do when they are alone and that they can get away with a lot of things if you let them. I don't want to be so strict that she rebels but I don't want to be taken advantage of either. Any advice on teens and what to do when the boyfriend comes over? Is it ok that I let them in her room? What other thing do I do? We don't have a lot of money so we usually spend our weekends at home either doing yard work or working on the computer. (I am a freelancer)

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for all you responses! They have all helped a lot. After thinking about this - I talked to her and told her that there will be no more bedroom time. I told them I was comfortable with the hold hands and hugging on the couch - but into the bedroom will lead to more. I told her that I liked the boy and that it is fine that he comes over but - an eight hour day is way to much. He will be allowed over the weekends from 2-6pm. If we have yard work that needs to be completed he is more then welcome to come by earlier and help out. She started to cry because she didn't think I trusted her. Its not that I don't trust you - I told her - I don't trust boys period. I know how they are and what they will say, my husband agreed - he gave examples pf what he used to say to "get in the panties". So he is allowed to come by from 2-6 on the weekends and during summer times when there is an adult here. I also told her I wasn't comfortable with her and him in the bedroom and her 10 year old sister walking around seeing that. She may grow up to think that its ok and she needed to set an example for her younger sister. She and I agreed and she is not upset or hurt, she said that she understood where I was coming from. She knows that I got pregnant at an early age and I am trying all that I can to keep that from happening to her also. She sees the struggling I go through with a low paying job because I didn't finish college. I am in college now trying to get a certificate for web design and she sees what I go through! She wants to go to college to be a chef and she loves to draw. I hope that she pursues the dream she has - I told her that boys come and go. If you end of marrying him - then all of this will be worth it. But he has no job, no car, no idea what he wants to be for college and she deserves better. Who knows - maybe she will get the fire under his butt to do something with his life!
Once again thank you everyone! Your opinions and suggestions have helped make this situation much less stressful!

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answers from Nashville on

I'm thinking back to my first real boyfriend and I was about 15. I remember spending time at his house "watching TV" in the basement, which meant making out, but we were both from proper families and it never went beyond that. Neither of us wanted it to.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Gotta say, it sounds like you've got everything under control. I hope when my daughters are 15, I am able to parent them with the same skills you show. You seem to have a very open relationship with your daughter, have made the effort to get to know the boyfriend and his family, have set guidelines for appropriate behavior in your own house and at the same time are trusting your daughter and giving her opportunities to have her earn your trust. Perfect, in my opinion. Just to let you know, when I was 15, my boyfriend was 22 (I was VERY mature for my age, very responsible, conscientious, etc). Instead of throwing a fit, my parents treated me like you treat your daughter (with love and trust), so I never, ever gave them a reason not to trust me. That boy (man!) and I never went farther than kissing (he was a gentleman and never pushed me for anything) and he treated me like a princess. I'm sure my parents felt super uneasy like you feel now. Had they put their foot down and forbidden me from seeing him, things would probably have turned out quite differently.

Keep doing what you're doing. And there's no rule saying you can't have your daughter AND her boyfriend help you with yardwork on the weekends...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Don't be afraid to set boundaries. As long as she's under your roof, you are responsible for her, and she needs to respect your decisions. If you are exercising good parenting, you are not making decisions to make her "miserable" but rather to ensure her safety and well-being. Remember that everytime you imagine she will sneak behind your back or be disobedient.

Enabling bad behavior in the long run is worse, and she will come back to you one day with a blaming finger when she gets an unspoken okay from you to do things that she may not be ready for, because you wanted to avoid confrontation, or feared she'd keep things from you.

Please do not take offense, but I think you are allowing too much with these two. Even though everything seems to be happening on your turf, it seems the boy has the upper-hand the way I see it.

So far, you allow him to monopolize your daughter's prime free time on weekends (8 hours is an awful lot for someone who isn't anywhere near finished with school, nor has a career plan, and probably isn't making plans to marry her, buy her a house, and raise her kids), you've allowed him to go into your daughter's bedroom, you've told her that if they want to have sex to come to you, and you'll get the "supplies", by bringing everything to your house, you've told the boy, his parents, and your daughter that not only do you condone anything (good or bad) that comes from this relationship, you are also going to take full responsibility for it. Afterall, where are this kids' parents in all of this? Have you talked to them about how "they" feel about sex, and if these two wind up with kids or derailing their education because this relationship has gotten too serious, too soon?

Offering to take her to the doctor is often a "green-light" to many teens, and to the surprise and dismay of many parents, the very thing they're hoping to avoid happens shortly there-after. I wouldn't be surprised if they've already beat you to the punch. When I was a kid, my friends whose parents took them to the doctor at age 12 (as soon as they started menses) started having sex shortly thereafter...and one friend was so irresponsible about using the supplies she wound up missing graduation because she was going to deliver at any moment. The boy didn't marry her, though they were "sweet-hearts" through high school. She gave the child up for adoption and he wound up marrying some debutaunte and pageant princess from Alaska.

This friend's father was shamed (they came from a family where many of the buildings of a particular University and another local college bore their name.) and she was disowned and went through a lot mentally behind the whole thing. She never went to college as she spent her entire high school years investing energy into this puppy crush that went no where.

I say you feel uncomfortable because deep down inside you know allow these two this much freedom is a mistake. They are not emotionally ready for this. If I were you, I'd be encouraging my daughter to make the most of herself during these years by excelling in school, finding who she is and what her strengths are through worthwhile hobbies and activities, and by spending more time you with and your family bonding. She'll have her whole life to find her special someone when the time is right and she's accomplished.

I think serious dating during the teen years is over-rated. I know money is tight, but there is so much out there for young women today that is so worthwhile for character building. Allowing her to put so much focus on romance, and hormone related endeavors will do nothing for her self-esteem let alone teach her how to make worthwhile decisions in the future. The only life-skill she may get out of this is heart-break, pregnancy, mental health issues, and even a disease....and all before she graduates from high school. Not only will you have to suffer along with your daughter whatever the outcome may be, you will also have to live with knowing you had a hand in allowing her to make these bad mistakes. Get a spine and get tough. Set this girl on the right path for own good and yours. Tell her and this boy to get a life.

Don't serve her up on a platter to a kid who may be nice, but probably isn't worth the trouble. Gently guide her to invest in herself and maintain a friendship with this guy. If he's the one, he'll wait or be back. That is my opinion.

As for rebellion. If she fights back let her. Then her own hard-headedness will be to blame and she'll know she only will have herself to blame. YOu will know you're doing the right thing setting real boundaries and give her clear concise reasons why. In the end she WILL respect you for holding your ground and setting a good example.

My parents did this with me and while I didn't like it then, and fought them a lot of the way. I am so happy they did. And I respect them.

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answers from Wichita on

I think you are letting too much happen already (expecially the 'you can have sex if you want' - birth control is not 100% & she will likely end up pregnant or sick). From personal experience 'making out' leads straight to sex (guaranteed).
I don't think they should be in any bedroom alone together ever. I also would not allow any car dates until she is 18. Again 'making out' & being alone in the car are not a good combination.
It's your house & your daughter & you need to take control of the situation.

God bless!

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answers from Boston on

It's going to be a year before you allow them to go to the movies together or out to dinner? That seems a little unreasonable to me. If you trust your daughter to make good choices, try letting them go out together. What's the worst thing that is going to happen in a restaurant or a movie theater? I think that there are groundrules that are fair - no being home alone together, no being in the room with the door closed, no going to friends houses together when there are no parents there. However, at 15 and 16, I think they can be together out in public at a reasonable hour in the evening. Good luck.

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answers from Little Rock on

I know exactly what you are going thru. My daughter ( now 19) had a boyfriend that hung out at our house. Teens get away with a lot , and it doesn't matter if we let them or not. I got pregnant at an early age, 15, first time I had sex, and in my parents house, and they had the same rules that you described. So with my daughter, when she turned 15 and got interested in boys, we went and got the shot. No if and or buts about it. Alot of people said I was giving her permission to have sex, but I wasn't, nobody gave me permission either. She got married this past weekend and was a virgin when she married. Teenagers are gonna do what they will. I feel like , if you teach them and guide them, they will make the right decisions. But as far as my daughter, I didn't want her to be raising a child, while she was one. My mom also told me to let her know when I was thinking about having sex, and she would take me to the doctor. She would have knocked me out. Anyway, I wish you the best, and remember they are gonna do what they are gonna do, with or without , us letting them. All we can do is guide them and protect them. Also, if you are willing to help her get on bc when she asks, then why not now, just in case? Hormones don't give you time to ask.

If you forbid her to date or have contact with this guy, she will just sneak around and do alot worse, than she would if you treat her with the respect she deserves. Yes she deserves it, she hasn't done anything yet to be punished for.

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answers from Dallas on

I think you are already on the right track. You have set the ground rules and expectations. As long as she and he follows them, then continue with the way things are going. Since you have to access to seeing them in her room b/c your office is across from it, I see no problem with them visiting in her room. You're doing good Mom!

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answers from Provo on

I am a pretty laid back parent and I try to raise my kids to be independant. My daughter started dating in jr. high. We have always had a really open relationship. My daughter always had a 110% of my trust. I would suggest having an open line of communication with your daughter and teaching her lots of self-esteem. I was raised in a family that had no communication amongst each other. As I look back I can see how much better my youth could have been and I learned from the mistakes of the past. I feel that forbidding dating would be a big mistake and you are right about that!! Just off hand, I would say that if he feels comfortable enough to come over to your house and spend several hours then you are doing things very well. My daughter is now 19 years old and at the university. I know she is a smart girl and I tell her that if she feels comfortable with it then it is right with me. She had her boyfriends upstairs in her room. I was OK with that. The only time that I ever got upset with her is when the two of them fell asleep on the bed. Even then I knew nothing happened and I told her that I was upset with her. Talk to your daughter and get her thought and feeling on the subject.

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answers from Portland on

Your anxiety is completely understandable, and I think the limits you are setting hit a pretty good balance. In truth, most adolescents already "know" whether they will restrain their natural, growing interest in and curiosity about sex. I've known lots of teens (and I was one of them) who comprehend that its more physically and emotionally wise to wait until you meet the person you want to spend your life with.

If your daughter has come to that understanding (presumably with your consistent counsel and example as she's matured), she'll probably hold to her internalized boundaries with or without your rules about how much privacy is allowed. If she hasn't learned that deep respect for herself by now, it's not too likely that any intervention by you will ultimately stop sexual activity, in which case making sure she has access to birth control is a good Plan B.

It's hard to get this about our precious children, but truthfully, if they have sex, they are not ruined, or even that drastically changed. If they get an STD, that's harder, but they are still not ruined, they need additional medical care. If they get pregnant, they are STILL not ruined. Their lives change dramatically, yes. But it's really only our perfect parental pictures about who and what they are, and what their lives "should" or should not include, that get ruined. And, of course, we worry about our reputations as parents getting ruined.

But our children, by the time they are 15 or so, have a tendency to head off in their own unique directions, with their internal compasses shaped not only by us, but by a million other influences, many invisible to us.

That's the shakeup parents really fear. It can be helpful to realize that your worries, valid as they are, are at least as much about you as about your daughter. If you love her (and I have no doubt about that – no implication otherwise), then your best course forward will be to keep communication honest, open, and understanding.

There are lots of good books out there to help guide parents through these years. I personally never stop reading and harvesting the wisdom of others. My best to you. You sound like a terrific mom.

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answers from Dallas on

I think you are doing just fine with your daughter. You are setting boundaries but not being unreasonably strict. I applaud you for telling your daughter that if she feels like being sexually active that you will take her to the doctor. Most parents aren't that open about it.

As to what the others moms are saying about you letting her get on birth control and that being a "green-light", all I have to say is regardless if a teenager has their parents permission, if they want to have sex they will have sex. All you are doing is helping her be in control of the birth control, which is an important thing to learn when having a sexual relationship. It's not like your handing them a condom and saying "go get busy".

I think you are fine with letting them in her room, as long as the door is open. I would just make sure that it is completely open and not just cracked.

Just because you give them some freedom doesn't mean they will take advantage of it. Your situation with your daughter reminds me a lot of myself and my then boyfriend. We started dating when I was 15 and he was 16. My mom , just as you did, said that if I felt like I wanted to she would take me to the doctor for birth control. When I felt ready, I took my mom up on that offer. I am so happy that she was there for me with that decision. Having sex as a teenager didn't ruin my life. Now I am happily married to that boyfriend with 2 wonderful kids, who we had planned after we were married. I think a big reason for why it turned out that way was because I didn't have to secretly do it or hide it.

Not like the girls I went to school with who were never allowed to see boys at all or be alone with them. Those girls would secretly have sex in the school bathrooms and behind the bleachers in the gym. Or the girl whose parents wouldn't put her on birth control because she like having sex and found 40 year old men with vasectomies to do it with.

I think the best you can do for your daughter is be there for her and keep open communication with her. Encourage them to develop hobbies and outside interests. Have them help around the house do dishes, yard work, clearing out the closets.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Goodness...8 hours! Do they still make murphy beds?

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answers from Boston on

Mothers gut feelings are always right! First off she is only 15. The bedroom should be off limits totally!!! I also think 8 hours is a long time. Why is she not hanging out with girlfriends. Does she play sports or have other interest beside the boy friend. He would only be allowed int he kitchen and living room. She is also to young for sex, but its good that she can come to you about such things. I am sorry but the boy may like her, but he is thinking of one thing at that age. I did not allow my daughter to date until she was 16. I made sure she had an after school job. She was a equestrian rider, State Champion. This took up most of her time, horses always came before a boy. She became interested in boys at 16, but never consumed 8 hours on a weekend. She had other things to do. Boys never hung around much because she was to busy for them. I am a very strict mom and I think it paid off where she was concerned.

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answers from Memphis on

I would *not* allow them to be in her bedroom -- too suggestive. She's only 15 years old -- it's not like marriage is "just around the corner." Go with your gut -- you feel uneasy for a good reason! She's doing too much too soon, and it's going to get worse. She needs to be practicing self-restraint (as does this guy), rather than seeing how close she can skate to the edge before you jerk her back.


answers from Louisville on

sounds like you are doing the right thing keep it up. you are giving her just enough slack for her to make decisions which is good but you are also there to watch over also good. keep it up mom!



answers from Chicago on

I think that you are doing a great job in keeping your expectations realistic, and your guard up. I do not think that it is necessary for teenagers to be in the bedroom, even if the door is open. The only privacy they should require at their age is a place to talk, but it does not need to be out of view. If they want to have a private conversation, they can sit outside, or in the living room while you are in the office. 8 hours IS a heck of a lot of time to be hanging out together. Perhaps you could help them find some constructive ways to spend their time, rather than just steeping themselves in puppy love. Keep them busy, or they might start to "get busy" on their own! :)

Good luck...This is the stage of parenting that I am NOT looking forward to!



answers from Orlando on

I think you are doing a great job. The only thing I would do differently is take her to the doctor right away. She should start having her annual exams anyway, and just in case she is going further that you think, you can at least make sure she is safe.



answers from Nashville on

Good for you! You are doing a great job. This is exactly how I was raised and will raise our own daughter and son. I do not think they should be allowed in her room at all but if so, you are doing the right thing keeping the door open. You don't have to have money for them to have fun. You can rent a movie and have popcorn for them or they can play a game in the living room. You could take them to the movies and pick them up. 8 hours is a bit long for a visit, I would say 3 hours max. She should be doing things with school, girlfriends, etc. My parents were really strict and yes, I snuck and did things but I had a good moral base and although I did things my parents would not approve of, I was responsible about it. I told my mom everything b/c I trusted her and b/c she was open with me and understanding. You are doing a great job!


answers from Huntington on

We have a 3 bedrm home... & 7 kids. There's a boys bedrm upstairs to the left & a girls bedrm upstairs to the right. (with a creaky landing and stairs between them, which is right over our bedrm). Girls not allowed to the left, boys not allowed tp the right, no exceptions! All entertaining friends of the opposite sex must take place in the common area of our house (kitchen, livingrm, backyard) If someone wants a friend to sleepover, the girls & the boys have to take turns, I will not have boys sleepover the same nights as girls sleepover. Now that they are older, occasionally if a boy/girl friend spends the night, the friend just sleeps on the couch in the living rm. and doesn't go upstairs at all.


answers from Nashville on

I'm thinking back to my first real boyfriend and I was about 15. I remember spending time at his house "watching TV" in the basement, which meant making out, but we were both from proper families and it never went beyond that. Neither of us wanted it to.

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