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  • Saying no

    Kaitlynn is a little upset with me today because I will not drive her about 20 minutes away to meet up with a boy. Yes, a boy! He is a friend of a friend that she met at a concert (her old best friend's brother's band). They have been texting, e-mailing, and communicating on MySpace. I read EVERYTHING and have told her that is my job as a parent to make sure she doesn't put herself in a position she cannot get herself out of. I bite my tongue on a lot of what I read and only say something if I believe someone will get hurt or if they are going down the left path.

    Anyway, he is visiting his cousin, in a neighboring town and will be leaving tonight. She wanted me to take her to his cousin's house so they could talk. This was after I picked her up from track practice at 4:30pm. While I understand how badly she wants to be able to see him in person again, I feel 14 is too young and I have two younger children to care for.

    What do you do when your child gives you the guilt trip on something like this?

  • #2
    Tough one. I also feel that 14 is quite young. Perhaps you can mention to her that with planning, maybe next time he is visiting then she can meet him at the mall or somewhere public where you can hang out with the kids. That way she's not alone with him, it is supervised (somewhat) and completely planned in advance.

    I'm many years away from this so really have no clue, that's just what came to mind.

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    • #3
      We live on an island without a mall The closet mall is 45 minutes away, and isn't a fun mall to go to. The big thing here is to hang out at Starbucks. As the night goes on, she is calming down and accepting my answer a little better. We'll sit down after the younger two are sleeping and talk about why my answer was no. A lot of it has to do with planning in advance and we have been working with her on that. My biggest problem with parenting is staying consistent. I'm working on it...slowly!

      I feel better knowing I am not being the overprotective mother.

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      • #4
        Planning would have been my biggest concern as well. I'm glad things are getting better as the evening is wearing on.

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        • #5
          wow, i am totally not ready for teenage years. i'm glad we've got a ways to go. i'm definitely going to be checking up on this forum, hoping to glean some wisdom before we get there!

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          • #6
            How did it go tonight when she didn't go?

            I hope it went OK.

            These things are so very hard but I think you made the right choice.

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            • #7
              I don't feel you are being overprotective at all! My dd is 14 also and she isn't even allowed to tx or talk on the phone with boys yet, she doesn't get a myspace account either- she would if she could trust me! I just have always put more emphasis on school and friends over boys.

              Thankfully she see's what her girl friends go through with their *boy friends* and we talk about how it must feel to have to endure those relationships so early in life when so many other things are more fun and less stressful!

              I have my 5 year old chanting how they can't have boy friends until after college *wink* ahhh- if only I could keep them from boys that long!!! Having 4 girls I am protecting them as much as I can for as long as possible!

              You have to have boundries and though they might not understand why, I think in the long run they will appriciate it later. Talk to her and just let her know you might have rules and planning is very important and that goes along with being safe!

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              • #8
                This has fortunately blown over (for now anyway). We also talk about how having a boyfriend/girlfriend complicates life when they are at a very complicated age anyway. I have yet to be successful and getting her to stay away from boys, but hope she is at least listening to what I am saying.

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                • #9
                  I am coming in on this two months after the fact, but am interested in the topic so I will chime in regardless

                  My children are 1 and 4. We also have a 17 y/o exchange student who has lived with us this past year (she leaves at the end of the month). From her own upbringing, she is accustomed to having more "independence" than I am comfortable giving her regarding going out, etc., and we have had many discussions about why our rules are the way they are.

                  It sounds like you were frustrated with the situation for two reasons (please correct me if I am wrong): first, the request to drive her to anotehr town was made at the last minute; second, you think she is too young for this kind of relationship. Your daughter complained about your decision, made you feel guilty, and you want to know what others would do in a similar situation.

                  I think it depends a lot of the "child." What may work for one won't work for another, but in our case, talking really does go a long way in helping DD "see the light." In my case, I know DD's friends are given many allowances (no curfew, outings on school nights, etc.) that I am not comfortable giving. I have been flexible in adjusting my house rules, however, when DD is able to discuss a situation/request with me and make a case for me to change my decision. If she makes a valid argument and I cannot see any real harm in her doing something I previously said she could not do, then I may allow her some flexibility. If her argument is weak and/or I don't think she should do something (either bc it affects her OR it affects the family in another way), then she can't do it.

                  Now the TIMING for these requests...well, that is a special touchy point for me. With two small children (who still nap and.or have early bedtimes), driving DD to a location, especially in the evenings, is often quite difficult. We have talked to her A LOT about planning and tried to teach her how to plan ahead and think of more than just her own agenda. She is still developing this skill (*cough*), but at the very least she is aware that it is an area where she can use some improvement.

                  After school let out DD wanted to go on a campout with friends. I was opposed to the idea at first, but then talked throug it with her. I asked her a series of questions covering my concerns (will there be parents there? Will boys/girls sleep in the same tent? Will the be alcohol? Boating? What equipment will you bring? etc). She wrote them down and came back to me later with the answers. I followed up on them and gave her another series of tasks to complete (call campground, ask about familities, get number for parents who will be there, etc). I gave her a deadline for ALL information and finalization of plans and told her if she met the deadline I would consider the trip. Frankly, I didn't think she'd meet the deadline. She proved me wrong, however, and I was impressed with the way she managed to organize this dream trip of hers. After more assurances and a leap of faith, she went.

                  For us, communication was key. That, and me understanding that developmentally, teens aren't likely thinking about the "big picture" and how their requests affect others. Once i understood this I could tell DD how things affetc the rest of us, and she would understand, at the very least, where I was coming from.

                  Good luck managing the teen years!

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                  • #10
                    relationships are healthy

                    If you ever have similar issues in the future, I would encourage you to (if you already have a communicative relationship with your daughter) ask about her desire for boy/girl relationship (romantic or otherwise). Does she want a boyfriend? Why? What does she like about the boy she's pursuing? What DOESNT she like? Even if she has no answers right away, it may prompt her to think about them when she's socializing with her potential love interest.

                    You will never be able to "quash" her interest in boys; it seems more in the attachment parenting style to give her the age-appropriate tools to handle her natural interest in the opposite sex. Setting defined consistent limits, guiding her about body image and intimacy are all great things to start doing right now, before she even has a chance to go "left" as you say. Let your daughters know that when in a relationship (of any kind) they have the power to "protect" themselves from manipulation, pressure and abuse. If you give your daughters knowledge, they will learn to uphold their own values.

                    Right now you can physically control what your daughter does socially, but eventually you wont be able to anymore. What's important is that she learns the skills you want her to know BEFORE she gets into a serious long-term relationship. Your daughter is not going to wake up at age seventeen or eighteen completely prepared for a long-term relationship. It happens in baby steps.

                    While its true that romantic relationships in the teen years can be stressful, it's also true that during any kind of relationship a person has the opportunity to learn more about themselves, others and how people relate.

                    The romantic attraction in a relationship brings out one's deepest emotions, and learning how to predict, control and even enjoy emotional ups and downs is a part of becoming a responsible adult. If you have a strong relationship with her already, you will be there with her through the "stress" of a teenage relationship as well as the joy. And if you daughter ever becomes interested in marriage, her early experiences with relationships can help her decide what she is looking for in a partner!

                    Rather than demonizing your daughters' friends' young relationships, why don't you discuss their problems and healthy solutions to conflicts. Your daughters will then have conflict resolution models already planted in their heads when they ARE in relationships. Your daughters may even become sources of relationship advice to their friends!

                    And when you're fourteen, if it doesn't work out... there are no divorce proceedings!

                    I'm not so sure reading your daughter's communications is a healthy practice. Surely, monitoring or limiting them (to protect her from online predators) is a good thing, but reading actual correspondence she writes to people you already know seems a bit intrusive and mistrustful.

                    Planning is essential when an adult has to do the driving but remember that teenagers lives aren't as schedule driven as adults. Sometimes they just think up something cool to do offhand and pray that their parents will say yes... have a little pity!

                    Good luck!
                    Last edited by seventeen_stars; 08-14-2008, 02:08 AM.

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