Words of Wisdom for My Teenage Daughter

Updated on May 13, 2010
S.J. asks from Miami, FL
15 answers

My 14 year old daughter commented that she knows several girls in her P.E. class that have “boyfriends” and she doesn’t understand WHY these girls would date boys in the first place. She feels they are all TOO young and I of course agree!

I wasn’t quite sure how to explain the dynamics as I was not very popular in high school and I didn’t date until my Junior year. I dated the same boy until we broke up because we went to different colleges (I thought we would end up getting married). Seriously, I was that awkward teenager who reached puberty after all my friends, an A/B student, looked like a bean pole and my hair was a big curly mess! Not to mention very shy. My head was always down.

My daughter is in advanced placement classes, very athletic social. and has tons of friends (mostly from sports and her AP classes) Basically the total opposite of me!

Her question to me was “Why do the popular boys always date the most popular, prettiest girls in school? Why don’t they want to date the athletic, smart, pretty girls?”

The best advice I could muster up was “Most boys at this age and in high school date the girls they want to have fun with. As they get older during/after college, they date girls they want to marry”. Now realize I said “most” boys not all!

O.K. I know not the best advice!!!! Luckily she was very satisfied with my answer but I wish I could have given her better advice. I would like to be better prepared when this comes up again.

Any advice? Any good words of wisdom? Any good book to read?

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answers from Provo on

I feel the answer to that may be because high school is a big popularity contest and also it is important that , especially in high school, most boys find it difficult to date a smart, athletic girl because they do not want someone who can challenge their ego.

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answers from Portland on

She sounds like a pretty sharp kid. I'd be inclined to throw the question back at her. "What do YOU think about that?" She may need hours or days to think about it, but if the suggestion stands that she's capable of finding her own answers, she will more than likely rise to the challenge.

You can offer a few related questions, too, like, "How important is it to you to be dated by boys who are looking only at the outside of a pretty girl?" Or, "What kind of boy do you think you would like to date?" "What does popularity look like? How do you think your life would be different if you were in the popular crowd?" Those answers are in your daughter already, and you can help her draw them out.

Learn more about these useful techniques in How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. A great book, and very easy to incorporate into your daily conversations!

I think your answer was great, by the way, and it would certainly not be accurate to say "all" boys will eventually want a different sort of girl. And kudos to you for being the kind of mom who's daughter can ask such important questions.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

How about "sometimes boys that age are afraid of strong independent girls"? (It's true!)
Or that "it takes awhile for teenage boys to mature to the point that they can see past the lip gloss and tight jeans"?
She needs to know that there are boys who will appreciate her individual strengths and qualities and those are the ones that matter.

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answers from Sioux Falls on

Give her the book "Lies Young Women Believe." It explains alot. If she would rather watch a video, get "The Naked Truth" published by Interlinc ministries. It is amazing and "blush-free."

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think boys at this age are driven by hormones and they are pretty one-minded if you know what I mean. My husband, wonderful gentleman that he was when I met him, is the first to admit that at that age there is only one interest and it isn't social standing! If they are concerned with social standing it is only to get a girls attention. I am like you and did not date in high school. I was captain of the cheerleading team, friendly and very socially active, homecoming queen etc... so why no boyfriend? I was not going to make out with them and they knew it. Simple as that. And good for your daughter not jumping into all that too soon. It will pay off in the end when she accomplishes her personal goals and then meets prince charming once she is mature enough to know him when she sees him! Thank goodness I didn't end up with the boy I would have chosen in high school (or college!) When I look at them now I know that it is a blessing I didn't get too serious and waited for my husband. I can only hope my own daughters will be as sensible as yours!

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answers from Dayton on

There is a social caste system in highschool. There always has been and always will be. The titles of those different social clicks may change, but the clicks themselves stay the same. They pair up the way that they do because it is expected. The jock dates the cheerleader and all such as that. To be different is the kiss of death. To date outside the expected caste system structure is treason. Even if the liked a different girl, the social consequences of dating her would be disastrous. Friends are lost, social standing and status is lossed. It is an eat or be eaten mentality and that poor guy just became the main course. At that stage of development most kids are incapable of dealing with a change of that magnitude.

Congratulations to you. You have a smart, independent, confident well adjusted daughter that doesn't feel the need to follow blindly like a trout upstream. She is herself. You have done a truly wonderful job.

You might add that boys, when they are older and out of the fishbowl that is highschool, don't feel as much the need to conform. They are more independent, ready to think freely and learn to follow their bliss. They worry less about other people and what they think. They are smarter, more experienced and ready to have more mature relationships built of more mature reasons than "if I don't date her, they'll eat me."

She's smart, she'll get it, and what's more, she probably already recognizes it.

Hope this helps,


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answers from Atlanta on

Your daughter sounds just like mine...same age too! I think you gave her the right answer. I tell my daughter not to be in a big hurry to date in high school...it is a mere drop of water in an ocean full of fish :) She has plenty of time to find "the one" & he could be anywhere. That seemed to help give her a better perspective. I tell her to focus on making friends who will last a lifetime instead of relationships with boys that will last about 3 minutes.

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answers from Augusta on

because boys at this age have only one thing in mind, and it's not their brains. They are attracted to the "pretty" ones. Also the athletic /smart girls don't have the time to spend catering to the "needs" of boys. They usually date the girls that will spend all their time with them and the smart girls are smarter than the boys and generally intimidate the boys, as do the athletic girls.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Sounds like a conversation I had many times with my mom and friends.

I remember calling my Mom my sophomore year of college and asking if she'd be attracted to me if she were a guy my age. She said, "No". She said guys my age want the Bud Light models, not a smart, studious girl who's ambitious. It didn't help because I saw all the other girls getting the guys I found attractive.

I wish I understood the psychology of the teenage boy - or any man for that. So much is driven by what other people think of them, what girls they think will be easier and those that don't threaten their status.

Perhaps the AP classes don't expose her to the guys she's interested in - that happened to me as well. Not that they would have necessarily been interested in me, but it didn't help that I didn't have those classes or those friends in common. Even being a cheerleader and a gymnast, I never fit into the "popular" clique in school and had a hard time finding my place.

She sounds perfect - I hope she has the self-esteem not to let not being the object of their desires pull her down.

I'd almost recommend letting her see all the people you went to high school with on Facebook and what they've made of themselves vs. where you are in your life. A lot of those popular guys are overweight, still partying like they're in college and the typical cliche of the popular guy in high school many years later.

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answers from Rochester on

I have a 14 year old with almost the same problem.... she also has told me about how some of the girls she is friends with are already sexually active...YIKES! I maintain with her that she will never be punished for anything she talks to me about regarding boys, and she freely speaks her mind on a regular basis about the happenings of her schoolmates. She is also very proud to tell them that she is still a virgin and hopes to stay that way until she finds the right person. I do not expect her to remain this way forever, but the positive reinforcement of giving her space and privacy, combined with the fact she knows she can talk to me anytime about it has made her friends start coming to me about boys/sex too. Of course if I were to hear anything out of the ordinary or dangerous I would immediatly tell the other girls parents, but for now I just listen, smile and explain that they have their whole lives to figure out who is best for them, and although I am sure at 14 it seems like they will be single forever... I also tell them that letting the other girls date these boys will not only stop them from making advances on them, but they can also learn who out of the boys is good relationship material from watching there interactions with the other girls.

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answers from Huntington on

I think I would tell her something like,
"Boys are just like girls...they can be shy and fear being hurt or rejected. With that in mind, if a boy feels comfortable with a girl and they have things in common and she makes him laugh, he is more likely to be interested him her. Imagine how you would feel if the shoe were on t he other foot. You would probably only want to ask out someone when you were REALLY sure they would say yes.
There are boys that just want to have fun and do things your father and I don't approve of. Sometimes popular girls feel pressured to do things perhaps they don't want to do because they feel like they will lose being popular or because a guy will move on to another girl who will. There will always been those people and those are not the people want you hanging out with. If you do as I mentioned above, you may not end up with the most popular guy, but you can attract guys that are right with you and share your values."

Remember, mom, it is just as hard for a boy at that age. I remember being SOOO shy when it came to boys. SOOOO fearful of rejection. Looking back, I know several guys who did their best to flirt with me and I was too shy to give them enough back to make them feel they could approach me. It's a shame, too, b/c a couple of them are very successful now!!! lol

Good luck...I am not there yet, but know my day will come.

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answers from Charlotte on

S., the best thing I can think of to say to her is that some boys and girls at this age are very shallow. Not all of them, but a lot. That's why they pick the jocks and the jocks pick the pretty girls. They treat their boy and girlfirends like trophies, thinking that it makes them look cool. They haven't learned that this is not what people look for in a friend of a different gender, and one that they want more than friendship from.

Some people never learn this, and some people realize that it's what's on the inside that counts, not just a pretty face or a bunch of muscles.

How about letting her see the movie "Thriteen Going on 30". (You watch it first because there are a few places in it that you have to know you are okay with her watching it.) I love the part where the main actress meets the guy she thought was such hotstuff as a teen, when he was grownup - he was a cabbie who stil lived with his parents, and what a loser he was!

Good luck,

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answers from Columbus on

I have a friend whose husband says that there are NO nice boys (speaking as a man who used to be a 13-14 year old boy)

We have not had these converstaions with our 13 year old, so I will be looking for what other Mom's say...


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answers from Louisville on

you did good momma! most boys this age date the pretty girls for one reason... hormones. dont be scared to share that with her but it sounds like shes a pretty girl herself! so mamma be ready over the next few years!



answers from Lexington on

They are too young to have boyfriends. At 14, most boys aren't ready for that kind of relationship either. My 14 year old gets teased because he doesn't date, but he's far from interested. When she's 16 or 17, she'll be more ready and the boys will too--though, as others have said, she will need to be careful.

When I was 14 I had a crush on a boy named Bill. He didn't really seem to notice me though. A couple of weeks ago I found him on Facebook and got up the nerve to send him a message, telling him about my crush. It turns out he did remember me and he thought I was too smart for him. Btw, Bill's not nearly as good-looking as he used to be.

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