(sorry for the weird formatting -- I pasted from Word)
My dd (I’ll call her Dot) is 14 and a freshman at a very small school (80 kids). She’s dating a sophomore boy (I’ll call him B.) who I think is an idiot – all style and no substance. He tells outrageous lies in order to appear dark and mysterious. For example he says that he lived in another country and spoke no English until he was 7, that he had a twin sister who was given up for adoption shortly after birth, that he has a rare disease and has been in and out of the hospital all his life… I confirmed that all of these are lies after talking to an acquaintance who has known the family since before B. was born. He claims that he’s attempted suicide several times, that he’s bipolar and schizophrenic (don’t know if these are true). He says his parents leave a loaded gun around because they hope he’ll kill himself. I haven’t met his parents but I know they’re older, very involved in their church, they buy him basically anything he wants and drive B. and his friends around a lot—he has one half sibling who is much older.
He and Dot go to the teen center for 2 hours every day after school. They watch movies and play video games and ‘snuggle’ on the couch. Then she takes the bus to my office. Dot is friends with B’s ex-girlfriend. The girl has told dd to run as fast as she can away from this boy –that everything he says is a lie, he’s needy and manipulative, etc. He’s been to our house twice and I took them to the movies once. From his interactions with me I got that he’s shy, insecure and awkward. Dot says he’s always like this with people he doesn’t know well, including most of the kids at school.
Dot knows about some of the lies and has admitted to me that she doesn’t know if she can believe anything he says (she’s never told him she doesn’t believe him). But in the next breath she said “His parents sent him to a military school in Arizona in 7th grade –The instructors there beat him all the time”. I replied ‘this sounds like another one of his stories’. (I Googled his name and saw that he made the honor roll at the local middle school throughout 7th grade.) Deep down she knows that everything he says is a lie. She’s always been attracted to boys with his look – tall, thin, goth musician-types with skinny jeans who dress all in black. Other than his looks I can’t imagine what she sees in him. Keep in mind that there is another boy at school who has a big crush on Dot –he is sweet and sane and he and Dot have the same sense of humor and get along wonderfully. But she rejects him as being more like a brother to her.
Dot seems to have no shortage of confidence. She’s very outgoing with her peers and has tons of male friends. Why would she be with this guy? I don’t feel like I can forbid her to see him. I’m hoping that she’ll get tired of his ridiculous stories and see through his Edward Cullen act. I try not to say too much but I don’t hide the fact that I don’t like him. This has been going on for almost two months and, if anything, they’re getting closer. I read her Facebook conversations with him (she doesn’t know that) and he likes to correct her a lot, and seems to subtly put her down at times. For example, last night she was having trouble with her music homework and she asked him for help. He said ‘oh that’s easy…I can help you with that’. When she explained the assignment further and it was apparent that he had no clue what the answer was he said ‘Well, I could just tell you the answer but do you really think I should be doing your homework for you? By the way you spelled crescendo incorrectly’. Dot sheepishly apologized for asking and said she’d figure it out.
Should I just see if this runs its course? What makes me nervous is that, in middle school, she was attracted to a boy who had some of the same traits (needy, brooding, outsider, always looking for sympathy). Dot finally broke up with him last summer when he was pushing her to have sex (they were both 14). She didn’t tell me why they broke up until months later. We have a pretty good relationship and she’s usually open with me. I’m a good listener and she likes to talk so eventually everything comes out…
Why doesn’t her ‘Loser-Radar’ work? Her girlfriends get really quiet when she starts talking about how wonderful B is. I know they don’t like him. He doesn’t treat her that well, he’s needy and likes to play the victim… I don’t get it and I don’t know if I should intervene.
I’m a single mother by choice; Dot didn’t meet her father (an old friend of mine) until last year. I worry that not having a positive male figure in her life has left her attracted to these kinds of boys. But if you were to meet her and have a conversation with her you would see an outspoken, independent girl with feminist leanings. This is not the kind of boy you’d think she’d be with. Maybe this is just a visceral response to raging hormones? She went through puberty quite early –beginning between 8 and 9. People guess, even after talking to her, that she’s 18 or 19.
I think that if I prevent her from seeing him outside of school it will turn into a Romeo and Juliet thing, with her perceived ‘love’ for him only growing. My instinct is to let her figure this out on her own, with the occasional snide comment from me. I’m worried about this particular boy but also worried that she is attracted to him at all, and that she will continue to end up with boys like him. I’m sorry this got so long…Any advice you can give me is appreciated…
I think I would too.
I was never much for the drama, and much preferred a less "damaged" boy than one with so much abuse and neglect in his history. (yes, I realize his drama isn't actually true) I've never been good at listening to someone else's problems and feeling bad for them. So.. I don't know what she likes about him, but I suspect she likes the drama.
I've known girls who loved the sad songs, and were always keeping poetry and loved the deep meaningful books. I think it makes her special and she seems to have a very good heart. She may have her heart broken a few times, but I think she's just a really good, trusting person.
I do hope she gains some experience from this though, and realizes she wants something better in her next boyfriend.
Ok, she reminds me a little bit of myself at that age. I dated some REALLY big losers.... Same sort of guy, needy, manipulative AND whats more, I look back and remember that I had a really nice, sweet, very caring, mentally stable boyfriend, who adored me just before I went on this loser streak. It happened around the time my all girls high school closed down, I had settled, had friends and then the rug was pulled out from under me... which wasnt the first time. I look back at that time and deep down I can see a young woman who was very insecure. What I think I needed, which I never got, was for my mom to have been a more positive role in my life at that time. She was kind of stressed, with so many things apart from the fact that her little girl was growing up and it all seemed out of control for her. She was never close to me but the distance got worse and was irrepairable by the time I got into my late teens/college. I guess I can only really speak from personal experience, but your dd sounds a little like me. To look at me I looked like I had all the confidence in the world. Seriously. I was NOT lacking in the confidence department. I was lead in 2 school plays, I had friends, I did well in school, but seriously inside I must have just gone thru an awkward phase. I did come into my own when I met my dh, who is absolutely NOTHING like those guys. Funny thing is tho, I went from dating a guy who was a complete idiot and jerk towards me, very insulting and demeaning, to dating someone who was needy and pathetic really, a little weeny sort of guy. ... To marrying my dh who is awesome, not perfect, but SO different from those guys. He really is nothing like the kind of guys I dated in hs and I consider myself lucky actually, when I think about who I could have ended up with (there is a lot more to it actually, some of it painful, but it was all a learning curve for me and Im ok now!)
Ya know, I dont even think this will be helpful, lol. It just reminded me of what I was like at her age. I was quite insecure despite an appearance of confidence. Perhaps it is all about just discovery. Maybe she's confident in some areas and not so much in others. You could let it run its coarse. If this is the route your gonna take I would advise not to make snidy comments, but to keep absolutely silent, try not to pull faces (or wince, lol) and wait till she comes to you for advice. Its a tough place for a mom to be in tho. I think, ultimately, my mom did trust my judgement (as I reflect on it all), and trusted that Id find my own way and come out of it all pretty much unscathed. Its tough, I handle things differently in our home now, my girls are 12 and coming up to this age. We have done things completely differently than how my mom and most mainstream moms handle this age. So, I can only go by my own past.
If it escalates tho beyond annoyance for your, to the point of real concern, then Id step in. Thats why I say stay silent for now. Let her figure this out on her own and save any comment from you for when/if you become overly concerned. But watch closely. Save any comments for a time when you feel her safety is threatened. She may well have turned off by then if you do take the 'snidy comment' road.
Originally Posted by genifer What I think I needed, which I never got, was for my mom to have been a more positive role in my life at that time. She was kind of stressed, with so many things apart from the fact that her little girl was growing up and it all seemed out of control for her. She was never close to me but the distance got worse and was irrepairable by the time I got into my late teens/college.
Ya know, I dont even think this will be helpful, lol. It just reminded me of what I was like at her age.
I think it's really helpful and important. If mom is always showing the disapproval of the boyfriend that might be making Dot cleave to him even more. I'm not saying let her do whatever she wants, but can you tighten your bond with her and work on your relationship with her and this boy just might be a phase.
Sometimes I don't think there's a reason we like who we like. We just have that surface attraction. Your Edward Cullen comment made me laugh. When I read those books, I was thinking "That guy is a completely controlling douche!" But millions of girls find him to be the man of their dreams. Who knew?
Thank you everyone...I never know if I'm overreacting or underreacting!
Genifer, your reply was very helpful... So good to know that this is probably normal...and won't necessarily lead to anything long-term. I'm guessing 'Dot' is very much like you were at that age. I really do trust her but sometimes it's hard. She's been given so much autonomy in such a short time: New high school in another town where we don't know anyone, she takes public transportation to get there, and has hours of free time to spend in the downtown area after school. Her middle school was in our little, rural town and she took the school bus home right after school --plus, I'd known all her classmates since kindergarten...
But she's a good, sweet kid --her grades are wonderful this year -- she really seems to have matured in so many ways --that's why this odd choice of boyfriends worried me. I guess at this age they take two steps forward and one step back...and each step is probably important and necessary --even the backward ones.
YoungFrankenstein, you're right that I shouldn't make the snide comments. I don't want to drive a wedge between me and dd. But it's sometimes SO hard to keep my mouth shut. I want to scream 'His story is ridiculous! I can't believe you actually believe that crap!'. I will try to be more accepting. I'm sweet as pie to his face, though (that's not easy, either)...
I agree about the whole Twilight thing...I always thought Edward was a creepy, domineering a$$. That might be the root of the whole problem -- that in early adolescence (6th grade), dd was obsessed with the Twilight books. I think that coincided with a flood of hormonal changes -- and the attraction to the dark, brooding outsider was ingrained in her psyche. In the coming years, I hope her brain will start to override her hormones as top decision maker : )
I'm going to try to relax about all this...Keep the lines of communication open...and try not to make it out to be more than it is...
Hugs mama.... My dd is only 6 so I have no BTDT experience. I also picked losers in high school and always wanted to help people and fix them.
Your twilight book idea sounds right on to me. I would personally limit the time she can spend with him but on the sly like finding other things to keep her busy.
glad her friends are not supportive of her relationship with him. I would watch this situation very closely as I know you are. I don't think you are overreacting at all. I would also keep lines of communication open with her to make sure she is not getting sexually active with this boy....You def don't want to deal with him forever.
Thank you, Emilie... That last line really hit me! Lordy, the thought just about kills me. I think it's time for another talk with Dot. I gave her the talk last summer when she was seeing Idiot #1. I told her that I hoped that she wouldn't choose to have sex for a long, long time, until she is ready and more mature and in love, etc etc...but that it's not my decision to make -- unless I'm going to follow her around 24/7...and when she thinks she's ready --I said 'even if it's next week' she could come to me and we would get her some birth control. I said there will be no judgment on my part, no questions asked (I can't promise that but it sounded good at the time!). After my little speech she just looked at me and said 'You're scaring me Mom! I'm only 14 years old!'... So I was a little surprised to find out later that the reason they broke up was that he was pressuring her.
I'm not really cut out for this parenting thing!
Im wondering if this is something worth considering too. You know how I mentioned what I was like at your dd's age, well I think its worth considering that this young man probably wont be this way forever. Ykwim? He's at an awkward stage in his life too and perhaps this is a 'stage' that he'll grow out of too? Just a little food for thought, to give a little bit of perspective.