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My 14 Year Old Daughter Has a 16 Year Old Boyfriend.

I have a very mature and responsible freshman daughter who has been "dating" a 16 1/2 year old junior. She sees him at school and talks to him on the phone. I have let her go to the mall on a weekend afternoon with him and he has been over the house 1 time. I have talked to her about sex and feelings and everything in between. So far she is showing me that I can trust her. Is it wrong to let her hang out with him at the mall, see a movie or just have him come over for a few hours (supervised)? I feel as though I am keeping my eyes open. He does not have a license and gets rides from parents. My husband who is her step-father thinks I am out of my mind to allow her to go anywhere with him. Again, she is a responsible girl (does homework, takes honors classes, gets good grades and cooperates with chores around the house). I hate to say no to her when she is acting so appropriately otherwise. I would love some feedback for peace of mind! I have feeling this is more of a male/female battle! Thanks!!

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So What Happened?™

Wow! I have received so many thoughtful and genuinely caring responses to my question. I cannot express how it feels to know that so many wonderful mothers took the time to write back. I would like to thank each and every one of you! As far as "what happened", I have yet to see! I am going to allow occasional visits to our home, dates at the mall in the afternoon, and staying after school with him once a week so they can walk to the local Dunkin' Donuts. I am keeping the "talks" going and she is holding up her end by continuing to do well in school (an A on her last honors history test!!). I spend enough time with her to be able to keep tabs on her social life. So far so good! Thanks again moms! Sincerely, J. B :)

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I personally would not let her hang out with just her boyfriend. I think 14 is too young for dating. At that age two years is a big difference still. I always worry when an older boy seeks out a younger girl. At this age I think a group of friends hanging out is a much better idea. 14 is too young, no matter how responsible she is in other areas, to be getting into possible adult situations. She will have many many years of dating what's the rush. Persoanlly my kids are not allowed to date until they are 16 and then it has to be at least a double date or more people until they are 18.

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J.,

It sounds like you are doing exactly what you should. If you try to keep her shut up, she'll likely start to act out. Let her know that you trust her and ask that she talk to you before doing anythying. You'll have a stronger relationship with her as long as you both respect boundries.

C.
SpEd Teacher and parent

As the parent of 4 teenagers, I have found that it's best to let them go out in groups with other kids that you trust. Having him over only when there are adults present is also the right thing. Kids will be attracted to other kids and by keeping an eye on things and intervening when you feel things are getting too serious can avoid heartache later.

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As a young mother(25 yrs) that has not forgotten what 14 felt like, I can say that trust is huge. If your daughter has earned your trust and you are upfront regarding expectations of her and this new relationship, it will be just that an innocent boyfriend. However, as we know 14-18 yrs old hormones are in full bloom and need to supervised. I think you are being smart in choosing where they "hangout" and spend time together. If they are not given the opportunity to make a bad choice, they won't. Yet you can not always be there and need to discuss what can happen if they did do something sexually that she is not ready for at 14. As far as your husband, he speaks as a caring man in your daughter's life. My father told me, boys don't want to be your friend, and he was so right.

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I have survived raising two adult daughters and one son. My advice would be, go with your mom radar, mine never let me down. You know your child better than any one else on this earth. I think the mall a movie and definatly time spent in your home with supervision is perfect. If this 16 year old boy is comfortable spending time with your daughter in front of you that to me shows a great deal of respect for you both. He must be quite responsible himself and care quite a bit for you daughter. We can't be everywhere with them and there has to be a great deal of trust. My mom radar never let me down, and it sounds like you have a great realationship with your daughter, just keep the communication going and you'll be fine. Good Luck A. D.

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J. -- I have to agree with you. I don't see any problem with allowing them to date and it sounds like you are doing all the right things, talking about sex, feelings and having open communication with your daughter. She's not rebelling, i.e. getting poor grades, not listening or staying out late, disappearing, etc. There is little that can happen between them in public (other than PDA's) and as long as you or his parents are supervising them when they are at each other's homes I say it's fine. My son is 14yo and my daughter is 13yo and they have each had those 'girlfriend' or 'boyfriend'.... talking on the phone and going out to the movies, rollerskating, etc but always with a group. Keep doing what you're doing, as long as you continue to have open communication with your daughter and she consistently shows signs of trust and respect (not only for your but herself!). Keep on mind your husband is seeing it from the male perspective and he's probably remembering what he might have wanted to do as a 16 yo boy, lol! His intentions are good, but he needs to understand that you can't shelter your daughter from the rest of her life. And, what's the alternative, tell her she can't see the boy and the trust that you've fostered is broken when she sneaks out or lies about going to a girl friend's house and sees him anyway, maybe not in a place of your choosing where something more 'serious' could happen?? As long as you/your husband and his parents are on the same page it should be fine!

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Hi J.,
As a mother of a 16 year old son, I would advise group gatherings or adult supervised in home visits. A 14 year old, or 16 year old, no matter how mature, are NOT adults. You can do the research, but the part of the brain that basically makes common sense decisions is believed to not fully develop until 18 or so for girls and 20 something for boys! I have seen this day to day with my son, who is an honor roll student, they seem to just live in the moment. He has confided in me about the disasters of his friends having sexual relations, and there are many doing it. He dated a girl for over a year and was glad he didn't go that route, it was a much easier breakup. No emotional baggage. I would definitely discuss things like respecting your body and the very adult results of one bad decision. If you have a religious background, pehaps a discussion about waiting for the right person and regrets for not doing so. These are all discussions my son and I have had and seemed to help. I never had that openness and support as a teen and made some bad decisions I regretted.

Hope this helps a bit. In the end it is their decision and they will find ways to be together if you try to control the situation too much. No matter how innocent they seem, they are battling hormones and peer pressure, some kids just make better decisions.

M.

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I personally would not let her hang out with just her boyfriend. I think 14 is too young for dating. At that age two years is a big difference still. I always worry when an older boy seeks out a younger girl. At this age I think a group of friends hanging out is a much better idea. 14 is too young, no matter how responsible she is in other areas, to be getting into possible adult situations. She will have many many years of dating what's the rush. Persoanlly my kids are not allowed to date until they are 16 and then it has to be at least a double date or more people until they are 18.

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We went through the exact thing with my daughter. She was a freshman, he was a junior. My husband, very old-fashioned Italian, was dead set against it, lecturing my daughter about what all boys that age want. He finally relented, invited the boy over and had a mature conversation with him regarding boundaries and respect for our daughter. Fortunately our daughter had a large network of friends and they always seemed to travel in a pack. They were never at our house alone together, although we allowed them to hang out in our finished basement, with us upstairs. We also became very friendly with his parents and all adults were on the same page. We did forbid her being alone in the car with him and often brought her places. We came to the realization that if we forbid her to see him because of age, we ran the risk of her being secretive. We also told her we would trust her until she gave us a reason not to. They ended up being together as a couple for over a year, and he treated our daughter like a queen. Ultimately, my husband ate his words! And my daughter and I deepened our relationship because there was well deserved trust and we always kept open communication going. Hope this helps!

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J.,
I would go with your gut. The most important thing is to keep the communication with your daughter open. Showing her that you will trust her until she proves otherwise will go a long way in keeping the communication flowing between you two. I remember when I was a teenager. My parents had such a tight hold on me and even though I was very responsible (good grades, top athlete, had a job, did my share aroung the house, etc). I was so resentful of their lack of trust. I never abused my parents trust and even still they were compulsive worriers and it drove me crazy. I am now a 35 year old mother of two girls, almost 7 and 4 years old. Although I have many years until I have to deal with these situations, I still remember well how I used to feel.

Also, do you like her boyfriend? What kind of vibes do you get from him? If you like him and you think your daughter is responsible, my suggestion would be to trust them until they have done something to prove they can not be trusted. Good luck with this situation. I am sure this is a lot harder when you are in the situation yourself and don't want your daughter to come to any harm.
Cheers!
K.

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I think trusting your daughter is a good thing. However it is the boyfriend I am concerned about. What do you know about him and his reputation? I was very much like your daughter when I was her age. I was dating a 16 yr old when I was 14 and after two years of dating him in high school - he had been trying to get me to go all the way with him for about 6 months. He would say he love me and count how long we had been dating and that so and so had done it (which I knew they did because they told me). Well I gave in after 2 years of dating. My parents had trusted him by now and we were allowed to go places alone - I was 16 1/2 and he was 18. Well I disappointed my parent and became pregnant at 17 while in my senior year in high school. I had the same kind of relationship with my parents as you have with your daughter. To say my parents were shocked would be an understatement - they couldn't believe it. I broke their heart and it took my dad almost a year to speak to me again. It was a long rode for me having a child so young - but if you read my profile you will see that my son turned out to be a great man and I didn't do so bad myself. I am not saying that this will happen to your daughter - I just think that 14 is too young to date not matter how good a kid you are. It allows feelings to develop for someone of the opposite sex and that can lead were parents don't even want to think about. I did not allow my sons to date until they were 16 - they could go place with lots of friends but not with anyone alone. I always told them that they should be friends with lots of people and save the serious dating until later in life. Just something to think about - good luck - and yes men always have a different opinion than women on this subject because they remember what they were thinking about while dating.

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I feel your pain as I have a 13 year old daughter myself and a 14 year old step daughter. I think you are doing the right thing. We all know that the quickest way to start rebellious activity is for a teen to feel restricted for no reason. If she is as responsible as you say and you have a solid relationship what more can you do?

As tough as it is, they do get to a point where we have to trust that they have learned the lessons we have tried to instill and that they will come to us when they have questions or hurts. This too is the beginning of life lessons they all need to have-dealing with the opposite sex. Certainly a mine field of parental concerns, its also a pretty exciting time in a young persons life. I can remember that and bet you do too. We can't deny them that.

Best of Luck,
M.

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Hi, I'm a mother of 3. A 23yr. old girl, 20yr.old son and a 9yr.old girl. When a Daughter starts dating, it's not an easy thing. My Daughter was a very responsible teenager and very mature, just as you say your daughter is. My Daughter started dating at 15. And we gave her some slack just as you're doing, but we found out the more you let them do at a young age ( and your daughter is only 14) the more they want to do as time goes on, and then it gets harder to say no. My advice is don't let her do too much, especially going here and there, because it will get out of control, then you'll have a harder time to set things straight. My daughter had her moments but things turned out good. She's now married and owns a home down south. I'm just saying, keep your eyes open, and keep her so called dates at home. The more he's at the house the better. I hope I was talking in circles, I hope this helps. Good luck. It all boils down to Tough Love.

P.S. She'll go through the I hate you syndrome, don't take it to heart, they don't mean it. My daughter now tells me she's happy we were strict with her.
C.

J., Im with you gurl all the way i have a 14 year old that is dating a 17 year old and like your daughter she helps me around the house has a 4.0 average excellent in school. but im not likeing this whole ideal either .but the one thing we need to do is learn to trust them but to let them know where there no matter how big or small the problems are. i tried to break them up and it caused more heart ache and pain between my daughter and i .i dont think your wronge for letting her go cause if you dont let her then theres a chance you could have your hands full with her sneeking around .let me tell you my nightmare ended about 2 days ago when she came home and told me she broke up with him . He was wanting sex and she told him she was to young to know what real love was i was so proude and trust me the way you talk about your daughter she will do the same...good luck

Mothers please do not send me hate responses for posting this...14 is not too old to begin dating, this is just the beginning and I feel it is an opportunity for you to educate and embrace healthy relationships with your daughter by offering a controlled and supervised environment for her and her boyfriend. If you have the solid relationship with your daughter you claim you have this will work for you. I would get to know the boyfriend, have them hang out at your house, this way you can keep an eye on them. I dated an older boy in high school (I was 14, he was 16) and my parents could see how much I really liked this boy, so they respected that and welcomed him into their home. We spent much of our time at my house, watching movies, playing board games, having meals with my parents. They became very involved in our relationship and could see how much we cared for each other. We were both very mature teenagers and enjoyed hanging out at home. After a few months of my parents getting to know him and seeing we were probably going to date for longer than most teenage relationships my parents took the time to talk with us about sex, communicating with each other, compromise and things that go along with having healthy relationships. (my parents have been married 35 years and counting) This education my parents provided for us enabled us to make healthy decisions about our relationship. We dated for 7 years, were apart for 5 years (during college) and ended up getting married. We waited years before even considering having sex, because we had a good base of knowledge on these important choices. When we were ready, my parents took us to a Women's Center, which I still go to and had my 3yo with. They went over with us the options of birth control. We have such a healthy and happy relationship and we owe it all to my parents. During the five years we were not together, we dated other people, but it was just not the same. Most people do not do well in relationships or take them as seriously as they should. So many of our friends have been divorced and remarried, while we remain to grow with each other...we feel fortunate to have learned these skills early on. This worked for me and I will do it with my daughter...just a suggestion from experience.

I think it's okay if you're driving them places and if they aren't spending too much time together.
I'ld cut back on the time they spend together if her attitude starts to change. Back a hundred years ago when I was in high school I always spent time with the older crowd. I also had plenty of friends to hang with and never isolated myself to one person or group, which could be a problem. If you're talking to her about being responsible in a sexual way let her know that she can't abandon her current friends just to be with the boy.

i dont think that would be a problem at all. youre obviously on top of your game. just tell her that you are giving her a chance to prove you can trust her (and him) and see how things go from there! i remember "dating" at 14 and hanging out at our houses or in public places. just set your ground rules and let her know up front what you expect and that you dont want her to disappoint you. i think she'll be fine! and you will too! go with your gut...if youre feeling ok with it, then let her go places. but once you start getting bad feelings about it, talk to her.

J. I think your daughter is a credit to you and while things are going ok and she is acting like a sensible girl i don't think you have much to worry about. Your husband wants to thank God for such a clever mature responsible daughter . I say good luck to her
regards M.

I think you should let her spend time with him because if you dont she might start sneaking around. She sounds like a solid kid! Invite the bf to your house so it cn be supervised and maybe encourage her to go on group dates.

I would say hold off on letting her go out alone for any extended period until you get to know this boy better. Just by the way he speaks to you, acts around your daughter,the kinds of conversations she has with him, and how he dresses should give an indication of what kind of boy he is and what kind of influence he will be on your daughter. If he walks in and has his pants half way down his butt and just seems like he isnt a very good influence, you might not want to let this relationship progress past the once in a while mall trips and movies. If he is apprpriatly dressed,talks to you and your husband with respect, and seems like an all around good kid, it might not be a bad thing that they be allowed a little freedom. Just be aware that kids will be on their best behavior in front of the parents, so dont just listen to what they say. You have to look at the whole package and your gut feeling.
Proceed slowly and see what she does with her freedom. Let her go see a movie with him but tell her you will be dropping off and picking up right after the movie. You will also have to tell her how often these things will occur. Girls tend to lose alot of their focus when boys enter the picture(especially older ones) Its your job to keep her head in the books. Allow her some freedom, after all she has earned it. Just keep some structure and go slowly. Tell her you trust her and want her to have fun but she also has to keep up with school. School comes first and going out with friends(or boyfriends) is secondary.
I am sure you husband knows exactly what is on a 16 year olds mind. That is why it scares him so much. Just talk with him about a compromise. Something that will allow your daughter to feel rewarded for her good behavior and give you both some peice of mind. If he isnt ok with the mall trips alone, then compromise with bringing them with you but allow them to go off on their own for a few hours. She is still only 14 years old and I wouldnt allow any late nights alone with him or visiting at your house every single day. If you allow her to go to his parents house, talk to them. See what their life is like and what they expect from their son and the relationship with your daughter. That is what will prevent anything innapropriate happening. Keep the communication open with your daughter,husband,the boyfriend and his parents. Then allow a little freedom when the freedom and trust is earned. You dont want to keep the leash too tight. She will not only feel like doing the right thing doesnt earn her anything but she might resent you both and then start sneaking behind your back or give up on being such a good student.

As the parent of 4 teenagers, I have found that it's best to let them go out in groups with other kids that you trust. Having him over only when there are adults present is also the right thing. Kids will be attracted to other kids and by keeping an eye on things and intervening when you feel things are getting too serious can avoid heartache later.

I think you are being responsible. You have talked to her about everything that she needs to know, you have raised her to have a good head on her shoulders, and she seems to be a very smart girl.

You are letting her have a boyfriend and go out with him (in a responsible way). They are having supervised time together and if a parent isn't there, they are in a public place (mall, movie theater, etc) - which makes it difficult to even consider sexual activities. I would just go with it. At some point, if you think things are getting too serious, try to talk to her about it. Based on what you said, you have a solid relationship with your daughter, and I'm sure that she appreciates your trust for her.

I think it is fine that you are allowing her to spend time with him. Great you had the sex talk with her and from what you have said she seems to make the "right choices" as far as homework and everything else. I think its good that you are keeping an eye out. If you don't let her see him she may do it behind your back, then you won't be watching and it would change your relationship with your daugher. She would be lying to you (if she still wants to see him) and feel like you didn't trust her and resentment etc. I think you are right. It probably is a Male/female battle. Your husband knowing how boys think, perhaps could talk to your daughter about what he knows about boys. Good luck!

I think that you are doing the right thing. If you told her that she couldn't see him, there's the possibility that she would start sneaking around and lying to see him. If she really likes him, you won't be able to keep her from seeing him so you should have control of things by having him come over to the house or allowing them to go to public places such as the mall.

Hi J. -
Although I do not have a teenager, I remember only too well what it was like to be one, and concur with most of the other respondents. It sounds like your daughter has proven that she is incredibly responsible and can be trusted, and you're giving her appropriate leeway & limits for her age and maturity. Every kid is different: some aren't mature enough to date at 14, others are. Particularly since she is an only child (you don't have the "but you let so-and-so do such and such" factor), if you impose strict and arbitrary rules that don't take her personality and maturity level into account, you'll end up pushing her away. I admire you for maintaining a close relationship with her and being so thoughtful about a tough topic. I realize sometimes, we all need reassurance, despite our instincts. So, I hope you feel reassured that you're absolutely doing the right thing! I hope I will be doing as well as you are when my daughter is a teenager.
Best,
K.

J.
I feel your pain, for i am in a similiar situation. My 17yr old son has the same relationship with a 15yr old freshman and he is a senior and almost 18.
I do not know what made him choose this girl, they both have alot in common, they are both AG kids and yadayada.
I think you are doing the right thing, they really have not been out in a car date. And you have been very open with her, and plus have allowed him to come over your home. We all as parents worry about our kids and she is in honors, and all of the above.
I have had a hard time with this myself but i have been very open with the both of them, he has not been allowed over her fathers house or her mothers house, they have all just really found out, I knew a month before any of them, the father and the mother both had cows, and i had an elephant. My husband and I told my son to tell this young lady that we wanted to meet them/all of the parents and have been told that they are not ready to meet us yet..In the last 2 months our 2 teens have become gluesticked together, she calls here every night at 8pm and they chat for hours.
My son does not have his license either, i have picked her up twice to go to a supervised event(school), i have allowed the mall and a movie also with other friends, i think it is was important at this point to have very open lines of communication and trust.
I also want to say that my son is on the honnor roll and is very involved in school and track/and this young lady is not very good with her grades.
Your husband sees his little girl and not wanting her to grow up. But in this day and age/the age 14 that is the age young ladies start to date. I think you are doing the right thing and i hope that i am too.
Good luck to you and you can email me anytime

Dear J.,
Your daughter may be responsible as you have stated, but how well do you know the 16 year old boy? He is the one you should be concerned about. I have two older children, one boy and one girl and a younger son. We have gone through the whole high school dating situation with our older son (now 25) and currently with our daughter (17). There is a world of difference between the actions (and wants) of a boy and the actions of a girl. Also, although you may perceive your daughter to be mature, she is only 14 and the boy is 16. That in itself is a huge difference at this stage in their lives. Your daughter would be better off group dating or at least dating someone her own age. Allowing her to see a friend in your home is okay as long as you have constance supervision. Good luck!
Kathy

You're doing the right thing. Forbidding the relationship will likely force her to become dishonest. She won't likely stop seeing him, but will start sneaking around. Once she defies you and herself regarding that, the next step is sex. It's important to be open with your daughter, and you seem to have an excellent relationship. Don't spoil it by becoming a tyrant! Honestly when it comes to sex, a 16 year-old boy is no different than a 14, 15, or 17 year-old!

No, your not crazy to let her hang out. If you have had all the talks and you trust her, there is no reason not to let her. I do think it's wise to ask them to keep it public though. Movies in groups are probably safer then just the two of them. I used to teach High school, and the most important thing with teens is to keep the communication open. She has to be able to make wise decisions with your help. I would really suggest you get to know the boy. If he knows and respects you he's less likely to try to get her to push the limits! Good luck and trust you instinct. You know your girl!!

I see nothing wrong with the way you are dealing with this situation. It allows for open communication between the two of you. She will only become resentful if you try to put a barrier between them. She'll also still probably see him.It's a tough age. My daughter is almost there at 13.

J. my daughter is the same age. and you realy have to watch them at that age. i am sure she is a good girl. but you no something my doctor has told me . it onley takes one time for her to say wy not lets try it. wy not and at they end they end up having a baby . i will but my daughter on birth control meds. you may trust her but what about the boyfriend. do you no his background and his parents well? you have to be carefull and your husband is right. i would speack to her doctor like i diid. wy take the chance ? i hope i been a help for you. and good luck please let me no.
B. mello

I do think you are doing the right thing. It's very normal for a freshman to date a junior, and making a big deal out of it could close communication lines between you and cause a whole bunch of problems. I think the best thing you can do is get to know the boy as well as possible - so having him over (supervised) is ideal. For going out, I would advise having them go along with a group of friends, either as a double date or as part of a larger group.

it might be a good idea to ask your husband what he was thinking and doing when he was 16. Women and men think very differently at these ages and I know at 14 I thought I knew the right decisions to make, but when the pressure is on...I love you, we won't go all the way, etc. is mentioned and we are still babies not able to make adult decisions and usually the mistakes we make are when we are young. Just think about yourself when you were 14, would your mom have approved of you dating a 16 year old? Try not to look at your daughter as an adult, she is still young and can't see the big picture. It is awesome that she is doing so well at her age and appears to be mature, just remember she is 14 and should act like a kid for a bit longer. I was a senior and was 16, I was not allowed to date before then and just went to school dances and the prom. Remember alot can happen in an evening without supervision. If there is a will there is a way.
I have a 10 & 13 year old boy and am not encouraging him to date. School is hard enough without distractions of hormones!! Good luck, L.

Your husband may be biased based on his own actions when he was that age. This is a common thing for parents to not realize they are doing. I think letting her date him is a good thing and it shows that you trust her. It's also not to uncommon for younger girls to date a bit older. I honestly think it will be fine.

You have a lot of responses to this. I havent read them. I am sure your daughter is all what you say. So was mine and still is. Its the boy you need to worry about, I am sorry but 14 is to young to have a boyfriend. There is no need for a 14 year old girl to have to deal with a boyfriend. He is 16 and what he has on his mind is why her step dad says your out of your mind. I did not let my daughter date until she was 16, old enough to make a somewhat good decision. Her job at fourteen was hang with her girlfriends, riding horses(they replace boys like a charm) and school work. When it was time for her to actually have permission to date, she didn't until she was eighteen! She was having way to much fun riding and doing things with her girlfriends. She really didn't give me a hard time about it, but now at 20 and in College, she knows we made the right decision. Boys should not be at the top of her list at 14, and as a parent of a girl and two boys, I made sure they all had other activities they loved. I have the same rule for my boys. And my daughter and I also have respect and a solid relationship.

I totally dread this day in my family. I didn't have a solid relationship with anyone in my family that was close enough to make a difference. So I believe you are worlds better with this situation. As long as you are comfortable with everything it seems okay-with everything supervised. I would NOT suggest letting her over his house only because parents are different with boys. Public places with other friends and people around I feel is okay. But I stress as long as your comfortable with it. Mothers have instincts like that. My Mom knew immediately when I was getting into trouble. You should talk to her first about what you'll do if you start to feel things may be getting too serious for her to handle and the actions you would take. That way she doesn't feel threatened if it does happen and jet in the wrong direction. Keep an open, comfortable and trusting relationshp with her and I believe all would be fine. As for your husband...ask him what he would do so she wouldn't resent you both and she still feels she is trusted. Sometimes pulling back on the reigns means disaster will strike but sooner is better. So do not hestiate but move slowly as to not freak her out. Again keep this discussions open with her as well. Your husband knows boys better just as you know your daughter better. Trust his instincts too. He will sense somthing in the boy sooner than you will.
I pray the best for your situation.

I think you are doing great! You are keeping the communications going and its obvious you trust your daughter and that is a wonderful thing to have. Letting her know she is allowed to be responsible for her decision is a huge gift that you can give her. Children no matter what age need to get taught in a very loving way, how they and no other are ultimately responsible for their actions. What a great way to have her look at her responsibilities without being right up in her face about it. That is what is going to make a strong person in life. Saying that they do have some big time hormones running threw at that age I'm sure you can remember, so keep an eye out and keep trying to keep them in public places. With the love and trust you are showing your daughter I'm sure she will turn out to be a fine, caring adult, who is able to communicate her needs to anyone.
PS try to remeber that no matter how hard we try to keep them safe and "controlled" lol they are their own person and the more you can help your daughter see that the better decision she will make. The best parents are the ones who teach the children the tools of life not try to live it for them.

Hi J.,
this one is sooo tough...why do they have to grow up? The bottom line really is that they are going to do what they think is the right thing, in their mind, regardless of what you say. I think the best thing that you have going for you is the fact that you have an open line of communication with her and keep talking to her. Personally, I would be having her invite him over (only when your home of course:) and when your husband is home, because sometimes men have a pretty good instinct for other guys, and spend some time getting to know him...the hard part is letting them learn how all this stuff works but in a somewhat structured environment but with out them knowing that your still there...make sense? The more you clamp down the more appealing he will become. Instincually we automatically want to say no to this and protect her but she needs to have a tiny bit of space to begin to learn how relationships work so she can make her mistakes and learn from them as well as seeing what she likes and doesnt like. I think being around them or listening to how they treat each other will give you a good sense of how far into this they are. So keep talking and set up some good solid boundries with her and let her know that you will trust her until you cant, meaning that if she is acting mature about this and staying within the boundries then you will have faith in her. That attitude has always worked for me and I have a fantastic relationship with my teenager (18 year old boy)He has always come to me and still does...I enjoy him very much realistically I know there are things that he does and doesnt tell me about it but overall he has learned to make his own decisions and learn from his choices, because i had faith in him, that is more relationship building than saying no you cant do this and they do it anyway and the fight begins...see what i mean? I hope this helps and I hope you and your husband can find somewhere in the middle of the road to meet up and stand together to support her when that comes, you will feel better, as your support will be stronger and she will be happier as there will be no wiggle room and the bounds will be solid. Im sure that it is hard for any Dad to agree to these things but it is surely because he cares and that is a great place to start:)

As a high school teacher, I can tell you that it is perfectly normal and acceptable for a freshman to be dating a 16 year old, especially at this point in the year. And I think the fact that he does not have a license makes things that much easier. If you forbid her from seeing him, you are setting the stage for her to either be miserable and resent you or to lie to you. Allowing her to slowly gain independence in a supportive and respectful way is helping to establish a healthy more "adult" dynamic between you. The fact that you are constantly reassessing your parenting methods to adjust to the needs of a growing child is healthy and necessary. I've seen too many students' parents let them grow up too fast and an equal number stunt their children's growth by being unreasonably strict. I wish we had more balanced parents like you!!

I agree with you. Saying "no" when there's no good reason to say "no" seems to only result in building a wall of resentment. I think that the important thing is to try to maintain a close, honest relationship. I'm a divorced mom with an 18 year old daughter who (knock-on-wood) has the been responsible, level headed type. Observing the society these days has given us material for many thoughtful conversations. She's now having her first real boyfriend and I find that being welcoming and open to him also helps. She knows I have high expectations of her and a lot of respect for her - as I hope she does of me. However, if I had any indication that she was heading into "troubling territory" I would definitely intervene. Hope it works out well with you, too.
D.

hormones will be hormones. things definitlety should be supervised. young love changes so quickly. as long as your not seeing any specific warning signs and you have laid down the law regarding expectations and self respect etc..... good luck

Since I was once a boy crazied 14 year old girl myself I would do exactly what you are doing. In fact maybe encourage her to invite him over your house more often (under your supervision). If she really likes him and you forbid the relationship she will probably choose to see him anyway....and then the trust between you to is gone. Trust her to make the right decisions. I also don't know how you feel about the subject but you really should include condom use in the conversation of sex. Of course tell her all the reasons why she shouldn't have sex, but also let her know what to do if she finds herself in that situation. 14 year olds are far different now then when we were kids. My dad's girlfriend has a 14 year old and I can't believe the things she talks about on her myspace page about going to parties, getting drunk and dancing on tables. Not that your daughter is doing any of that....but thats what 14 year old girls are up against. So again, don't create a situation where she will go behind your back to see him. Allow it, but like you are doing now.....movies, mall, your house, ect!

Not sure if this will help or not...I started dating my husband when I was 14 and he was 16 (in 1990). My parents accepted it because my husband was a charming 16 year old-athletic, outgoing, and my parents knew his mother who is a well respected journalist in our community. We dated through college (with a few heartbreaks here and there), and ended up getting married in 2002, 12 years later. May be a rare case since most people don't marry their high school sweet hearts, but shows that it can work if you trust your daughters ability to make good decisions, and you have some sense of trust in the boyfriend. Maybe have her invite him over to your house a few more times to get to know him so you feel more comfortable with her going out with him. Good luck!

I would trust them until they give you a reason not to, but be cautious. It sounds like everything they do is either in a public place or supervised, so I think you have the right idea.

J.,

I will tell you a little bit about me. I started dating my now husband just 3 weeks after my 15th birthday and he was 17. I was a sophomore and he a senior. This was my first real boyfriend that I went out on dates with. The rule for me was that I could see him on the weekend but not at all during the week. I was allowed Friday and Saturday nights.

I was a very responsible teenager too. I got good grades, helped around the house, very very rarely got into any trouble and was very respectful to my parents.

Things went very well for us and I started having a little more freedom with my boyfriend when I turned 16 and had my own license.

Things worked out very well for me and my boyfriend. I am now 31 and he is 34 and we have been together for 16 years and married for almost 9 with 3 beautiful children. So I don't believe people when they say that teenagers are too young for real love. I had a lot to learn and a lot of growing up to do over my late teen years and through college, but I did truly love him from day one and managed to grow with him along side me.

Now my parents did make a few errors in that they were not home a lot on the weekends and it did allow me a lot of time alone with him on a Friday or Saturday night when we decided to stay in and watch a movie. There were a lot of times that our responsible natures helped us and I believe there may have been some times that simply luck was on our side. So while I don't think there is really any harm in allowing your daughter to spend time with her boyfriend in or out of the house, I do think she is too young for alone time with him in the house.

This may be getting a little too personal, but I do really want to help you. I never really thought about having sex seriously until I started dating my now husband. But it just seemed right with him. We somehow managed to wait 7 months. While we never had any pregnancy scares and we were responsible, I do still look back at it and wish I had waited a little longer. But it is on teenagers minds an awful lot even if they are only 14 or 15.

So just keep open the communication lines with her and be completely honest with her so hopefully she will continue to be completely honest with you. But I would be afraid that if you try to tell her no completely, she will just find her own way and then you will have lost her trust and the upper hand.

My kids are still young (7,5 and 2), but I remember what it was like when I was that age and I managed to find every small loophole that I could to squeeze in some extra time with my boyfriend even if it meant not being honest with my parents.

Hope that helps and good luck!!

A.

Ma'am, as a teenager let me tell you myself that keeping your daughter away from her boyfriend would be the worst thing you could do. When I was 14 my boyfriend was 16. My parents tried to control every aspect of our relationship and I was sick of it. They never let me see him. I started ditching school with him just to spend time with him. And then I purposely got pregnant because i thought my parents would let me live with my boyfriend. The point i'm trying to make is, when you're young and 'in love' your bound to do something stupid... in the end that's a lesson learned. And she is expecting to be rewarded for her good behavior. If you don't give her some kind of freedom she might drop her good habits and pick up some bad ones to frustrate you.. Being a teenager is all about wanting your parents respect and trust

My advice for what it is worth, would be to allow her to see him, because it is my feeling that if you don't, she may be forced to find a way and maybe even lie to you about her plans in order to do so. Your daughter seems to be headed in the right direction and has never given you a reason not to trust her. Keep the lines of communication open and remain watchful. If you show her that you trust her judgment she will be mindful of that. Unfortunately we can't be with our kids 24 hours a day and so you must have faith in her ability to make good decisions.

It sounds to me like your daughter has earned your trust and I don't think its a bad idea to let her go to public places or allow him to come over.

Hi -
I don't have a daughter (mom of 3 boys), but when I was 14 my parents allowed me to date a 16 year old boy. The situation sounds almost identical to your daughter. I can tell you, because my parents showed me trust & respect I showed it right back to them. Nothing evil or sordid happened. In fact, this boy & I dated all through highschool and college. We went to prom together, and became very close with each other's families. After college we went our separate ways and now have families of our own, but we still chat through myspace occasionally and share stories and photos. I consider myself very lucky for having that stability through my adolescence. Both our parents made our situation pleasant enough that we spent most weekend nights at home rather than out partying or parking in cars. Believe me, if they had told me I couldn't see him I would have found a way to do it anyway, and then resented my parents for not trusting me. I am so glad my parents had enough faith in me that they allowed me my freedom to grow.

I would say that you are doing what's right. By allowing them to hang out together, supervised, you're not giving them a reason to sneak off. When I was 14, if I was told I should do something/see someone, that was the first thing I did!

You are showing her that you support her decisions and trust her to make the right ones. Also by allowing them to see each other you will be able to talk with her about the relationship and see them together to make sure that everything that is going on is appropriate and you will have time to react if little alarm bells start going off because something is going on that it shouldn't.

At her age, I would draw a line at letting her ride with him (if/when he gets a license), but with him and his parents taking them places or you taking them places, it's fine.

Hi J., having two daughters myself, I know what your going through. She's 14, at some point you have to let her know you trust her. I always told my daughters, I trust you as long as you don't give me a reason not to. As long as you keep an open line of communication, and she understands that you are MOM THE ALL SEEING, it really is no big deal that you let her go to the mall with him, or see a movie, or even have him over, the question is do you have a sence of trust for the boy? Besides, now a days, girls are keeping themselves until they are married, and focusing on other things. Go ahead, let hang out with him

if i were in your position considering how responsible my daughter has been... i would give her me trust until she does something that breaks it...

I think you are doing the right thing. Do not stifle your daughter by not allowing her to date, but monitor everything she does and where she goes. My mother was very over-protective and it only conduced me to do things behind her back. Your daughter doesn't have to do this because you are by her side. Just make sure that you don't slack off cause "she's so mature" and you keep a close eye on her. I would suggest, that you try to get to know her boyfriend better; bring him over for dinner, go on a double date to the movies with your husband and them; get to know his parents and their friends so that the boy will feel more inclined to be careful with your daughter's feelings and his intentions.

I don't have any teenagers yet but when I was a teenager we had a few simple rules and we all knew that that was that. We couldn't date exclusively until we were 16, if we wanted to hang out with boys, becuase of coursee we had crushes and such, we would have to do it in a group setting. We never felt like we were being held back and now that I am a mother myself I am glad we had those rules to keep us in line. I hope that helps.

Hi J.-
Sounds like you really trust your daughter and that you have a strong relationship. When I was a freshman is high school, I was dating a Junior also. My parents let me hang out with him (as long as parents were home) and trusted me to make the right decisions. Because they trusted me, set limits, and talked to me openly about their concerns etc, I had a healthy relationship and made good choices. I think it sounds like you are doing a great job, especially spending time with them together and getting to know him! If you restrict too much, it's possible that she will want to sneak behind your back...
Keep up the good work!! :)

J.,

It sounds like you are doing exactly what you should. If you try to keep her shut up, she'll likely start to act out. Let her know that you trust her and ask that she talk to you before doing anythying. You'll have a stronger relationship with her as long as you both respect boundries.

C.
SpEd Teacher and parent

It sounds like you and your daughter have a great relationship and the trust factor is real strong,and of course as mothers we want to believe that are kids are always making the best decisions. The fact that the boy doesn't have a car yet is great because that allows a lot of parent interaction and they are just not off somewhere unknown however, that doesn't mean his friends don't have cars and when you drop them off at the mall or movies that doesn't guearantee they are staying there. I would just ask questions that would provide some guarantee answer that she was in fact where she says she was. Also i think for now where she is only 14 I would have more "date nights" at your house where they can watch movies and hang out.

J.,

I say go with your gut. By the way, I was 14 when I started dating this 16-year-old guy and got the same chat from my father about love, sex, respect, and responsibility. By the way, I married him and we have been together for over 25 years.

Good luck.

Hi J.,
I really don't think you are "out of your mind" as your husband puts it. I think that he is remembering how he or some are at that age. Which is pefectly understandable! But on the other hand, you seem to have a very strong relationship with your daughter and it is imporant to keep that bond with her. I am a mother of two boys, ages 12 and 10 and really hope to keep a strong bond with them that will last a lifetime. You are giving her the freedome that she deserves. She has not given you any reason not to let her see this boy. I have always thought of it like this, if there is no reason to say no then say yes. If the time comes and she seems to be slacking in her school work or other things seem to you as though they are dependant on her being with this boy then and only then should you stop her. Until then, let her prove her responsibility to you and make you proud!

Hi J.,
My daughters and son are all grown now, but I certainly remember 'those' days. I was very fortunate to have wonderful daughters (and son) who were very responsible, active in school.

Your relationship sounds very solid. I always had an open door policy at home: 1st open door: the front door. I encouraged my kids to have their friends over. 2nd open door: bedroom doors open when boyfriend/girlfriend guests were over. I liked to talk to the fiends too, on a casual basis. Fourteen is young, and a sixteen yr old could certainly take advantage of her. But, with your involvement, public place type 'dates', and get to know his parents too, everything should be ok. I would not forbid her to see him... she'll just want to see him more if you do. Tell your husband (stepdad) to shoot some hoops with the boyfriend...get to know him. Your daughter needs to get to know and socialize with boys...its life. Hope it helps. Oh, my girls, and my boy, got thru it all just fine... all grown with babies now.
Have some great mother-daughter moments.

Hello, I know exactly how you are feeling. My daughter is just turned 15. She is too also responsible and all that jazz and we too have a close relationship and talk about everything and everything. We even like the same music. You and your husband have to trust her. BUT I would invite her boyfriend over as much as possible so you all can get to know eachother.
When i was much younger (now 37) at the age of 15 I had a much older boyfriend. He was actually in his early 20's. He worked with my father at the time and he actually asked my father if it was okay to ask me out. My fathers reactions was "it is up to my daughter, I think she is old enough to make her own decisions" I now, wish he really didn't say that. I am not with that person right now but I did stay with him for 6 years. Till this day I still think about him because he was my "first love". But I also made decisions when I was younger that I wish that I never made. I'm telling you all this because, ***Keeping the lines of communication between you and your daughter is so important, and she needs you BOTH to be there for her mentally and physically sometimes.****

J.,
I have a unique story to share that might help give you some insight...

When I was 13 I lived with my Mom and stepdad who allowed me to have a "boyfriend". The relationship was certainly not serious at that age and my Mom kept a good eye on things. She passed away after I had been in a relationship with this boy for 2 months and I had to move in with my Dad and my stepmom. Their approach to parenting was completely different. They got very angry when this certain boy wrote me a note stating he thought I was really cute and made a completely appropriate comment about my looks. He was in no way being dirty in his speech or actions. With my Mom I had only been allowed to see this boy at church functions or in places where there was a lot of supervision. With my Dad I was forbidden to see him. My parents even wrote a letter to his parents threatening them. It was very extreme!

Growing up with my Stepmom and my Dad from that point on I was not allowed to "date" until I turned 16. They actually made it so that guys were too scared to even say hi to me. It definitely effected how my peers interacted with me in a very negative manner. I "dated" one individual at the age of 16 for almost a year. When he and I decided to break up my parents over reacted and stated I could not date again until I was 18. At that point it didn't really matter since guys were too scared to even talk to me for fear of the wrath of my parents.

At college I struggled to figure out how to interact with my male peers. I seemed to have a lot of great guy friends, but couldn't figure out what their intentions were.

Eventually it all got straightened out, but growing up in my teen years and the issues I faced at college were a bit difficult to handle.

I have since decided that with my children (I have 2 daughters) I plan to do what my Mom did with my brother and I. She made our home very welcoming so our friends always wanted to come over. My Mom was also very open and I felt I could talk to her about anything. She positioned herself to know all about what my brother and I were in to and put a lot of effort into knowing our friends and our surroundings out of the home. I also learned from her that everything can be an opportunity to teach. She knew that the boy I was interested in at 13 was not serious, but she also knew that she needed to teach me to be responsible in situations with guys and that I needed to learn how to have a healthy relationship with a guy. Sometimes she was a little too lax in her discipline, but no parent is perfect.

With your daughter I would continue to supervise her relationship to make sure it develops in a healthy manner. Use the opportunity to teach her to respect herself and others. If she understands that boundaries are for her own protection and well being, she'll stick to them even when you are not around. Keep an open dialogue so you know what is going on. If you suddenly do not allow her to date this young man after she's already built a relationship with him, her trust in you will be broken and she will most likely try to hide things from you. I know I hid a lot from my second set of parents because I felt I could not trust them.

As for your husband, maybe try to include him in such a way that he feels part of the learning process with your daughter. Have him talk to her about what to do if a guy acts inappropriately towards her. If he stays involved in her life and they trust each other, having an open dialogue between them can help them grow a strong bond.

I'm not sure if your ex-husband is in the picture or not... that can certainly cause some other considerations depending on if he is in the picture and what his views on the matter are.

I think it is really great that your daughter is mature/responsible/and trustworthy. It seems to me that if she's doing that well, then you are doing a great job as her mother and you will continue to make the right choices for her.

Dear J. B,
I agree with the way you have handled the situation with your daughter. My son started dating his grilfriend when he was 16 and she was 15. They are in the same grade. The fact is that a two year difference if they are both in highschool is not that much especially since girls tend to be more mature. It is when he starts driving that the issues become more serious because the supervision won't be there. My son is still dating his girlfriend , he will be 18 in October.( He hasn't gotten his license yet because it involves working and money something he has the luxury of not needing yet) I have kept a huge vigilance on "alone" time and have had numerous talks about sex with him and included a couple with her as well.
The bottom line is that because they are at the same school and she has not given you any reason not to trust her, if you forbid the relationship it will only make her go around your back and severe what seems to be a good relationship now.'
Good luck- these issues are the toughest teen issues I have had to go through!( I have a 15 year old that hasn't started dating yet- I just can't wait until I have two to be vigiliant about!)- From : A 7th grade teacher and mother of two teenage boys

Trust is earned and it sounds like she has. Until she compromises that trust, from what you've described, everything is going along as it should!

Hi J.,

It sounds to me like you're doing a FANTASTIC job with your daughter - so for starters - give yourself a HUGE pat on the back & Congratulations!!! My mom & I were the same way. Extremely close, and we could talk about anything to each other. It was wonderful having such a strong mother figure in my life. I feel very lucky & blessed.

Now, onto the topic of discussion ... I think that if your daughter is responsible enough, then yes, you should let her. BUT let her know that the first mistake she makes will end her fun & freedom. Make sure she knows all the rules & even while she's out ... have her call & check in with you (even if she runs into the ladies room so she doesn't have to in front of friends if that would bother her - or even now with texting - when she gets somewhere she can text you 'i'm here', have her call you at some point to check in & then have her text you when she's on her way home )- i know it's alot of 'work' but it worked for me & my parents & i enjoyed a great sense of freedom, independence & responsibility & it molded me into the person i am today.

Bottom line - if you can trust your daughter & you think she's mature & will do the right thing (heck, quiz her about what she'd do in certain situations & if she answers something 'wrong' correct her on what the right thing to do & then she'll know if the situation occurs). And having an older boyfriend is ok too - remember, girls mature much faster than boys - so really even though the age is different, they're mentalities are probably even =0)

Good luck to you & your daughter! God Bless
C. B

Absolutely they should be allowed to date. It sounds like you have very reasonable expectations for the relationship, have good communication with your daughter, and so far there have been no problems. If you tell her she can't date him she'll just be resentful and it might make her feel like she has been pushed into a position where she's forced to lie to you (if she wants to keep dating him). I don't have a teenager yet, but I teach high school, so I see this a lot! It might be helpful for your husband to talk to her about his concerns (he's been a HS boy, etc), but dating relationships take practice like everything else - best that she learn while you guys are still looking out for her!

I can relate to your situation. I have 1 child (daughter, 14) who is dating a 17 yr old boy too. They are exactly 3 yrs apart in age. They do not go to school together though. They have been dating since November of last year. My husband, who is her father thinks I am out of my mind too and way to easy on her. They are not allowed to see each other alone at any time. They usually go skating or to the mall with a group of freinds. My daughter and I have a very open and honest relationship and we talk about everything. She comes to me and is very comfortable asking me any question. I also get very involved in knowing all her friends and most of them call me mom and have a great deal of respect for me. We have to learn to trust that we have raised good children and that they will make good decisions. I know my daughter has a great deal of respect for herself, and for me. That goes a long way. I see it everyday in the way she acts and handles herself. As much as I hate it we have to let them grow up and make their own choices and hope they make the right ones. Some people may think I am crazy but I believe the more we smother them and make their choices for them, the more they will rebel behind our backs and may make the wrong ones. I would much rather be more involved in her life and know what is going on than to have her doing it behind my back. Lets be honest if she really wants to see him she will find a way. They do go to school together and hang in the same crowds. We as moms will never stop worrying but try to relax and make peace with your decision. Keep looking for clues and be very involved with her and talking to her. I think there will be many clues if something is going to happen. Good luck and keep your eyes and ears open.

Just thought I'd throw this in...

When I was 14 dating a 17 year old boy, our families of course were skeptical...

I ended up dating him throughout high school and college, got married to him and had a beautiful daughter (now 10).

We did get divorced actually shortly after we were married but we are still good friends to this day...

You never know what can come from a young romance, but my advice is this...don't let her get too hung up on him because I personally missed a lot of growth during that time. I ended up using my 20's for what I should have learned about myself and others in my teens. Just be sure she knows there are more fish in the sea and she will regret giving 100% of herself to one person at a very substantial growth period.

I hope that helps :)

Hi J.!
Having had teenagers I can tell you that it sounds as if you are making a positive step. If you told her she couldn't see him they would probably just sneak around, thus they would be unsupervised. This way your daugher knows you trust her and she may be more likely to share things with you, that if they were sneaking around, she could't.

Just a thought. L.

Dear J.,

i ha a hard time understanding what could be wrong with this? Sounds perfectly healthy and normal to me. You say you trst your daughter, so that's great. Trust her. What on earth could go wrong? worst cae scenario: they have unprotected sex and she gets pregnant. But it oes not sound like she would risk that, and she knows about the risk, right?

I had an 18 year old boyfriedn when i was 13. My parents did not get inolved. They trusted me. I knew what i wanted and what i didn't. I was with him for a year. I did not feel like sexual intercourse. he respected that. All was fine. I split up amd had a number of other relationships until sing my virginity at 17, after asking my mum for help for getting teh pill. I think trusting your children makes them responsible. like i was. My parents gave me a lot of freedom.

Ask your husband and yourself what you are worried about precisely, and why you have a need to control it.

sounds like you have a great relationship to a beautiful daughter.
best,
D.

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