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#1 of 18 Old 03-24-2014, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here we go. My beautiful, smart and vivacious 13-year-old has a boyfriend. It isn't the 2 week kind of boyfriend either. He's been around since before Christmas. They survived the holidays, Valentine's Day and Spring Break which are notorious for killing young love. They talk and text a lot (too much.) Since his arrival, my approval rating has dramatically dropped and I've lost thousands of cool points. I am completely out of touch and l - a - m - e. I suppose I knew that was coming, but seriously, I could be so much worse.

So, this boy is a smart kid and plays saxophone. He's in all her accelerated classes. I just feel like she's letting HIM be the smart one and she's not as involved in activities as she used to be. At her age that is a recipe for disaster. Someone please help me navigate the romance years. She is my oldest and I am really not ready for her to be such a big girl.

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#2 of 18 Old 03-29-2014, 09:41 AM
 
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:Hug to you, OP. It looks like your post might have been missed so I'm bumping it up for attention. :bump: Anyone have some BTDT experience or wisdom to share?

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#3 of 18 Old 04-05-2014, 05:21 PM
 
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Oh dear, but I had to look up what BTDT meant. :o And I am hardly qualified to say much because I romanced my boyfriend until falling preggy, whereupon he miraculously vanished. That said, looking back I think what my real mother should have done was encourage me more with praise, and showing me how to do things. It wasn't until I became adopted that my fostermum encouraged me off the computer to take more interest in outdoor pursuits. My love for plants grew when she showed me how to sow seeds and care for them. But also she kept conversation going when challenging me to discuss the literature I was reading. "Mum Rachel" which I still call her, helped make me articulate. She never stopped asking me to explain myself. Into the first few months of my adoption I began to find talking to her about a variety of subjects very easy. Rachel's interest happened to be music.

 

I don't think you're as out of touch as you imagine. All it takes is sparking your daughter's current interest and growing together perhaps even sharing her interest. However, do not feel afraid or embarrassed to discuss sexual things like, eg. being responsible for contraception because let's face it, the average teenager even at 13 can be just as impressionable and horny as older teenage girls.

 

How amazing they survived Valentine's Day! You should ask them how they managed it. Your daughter's boyfriend being able to play sax really is impressive. Does your daughter share his music interests? Like, does he play jazz? I play acoustic guitar which actually helps my little girl fall asleep when I play a lullaby.

 

Mum Rachel taught me to use the longbow. I joined her archery club, a great way to exercise my painfully acute shyness. She even got me interested in jigsaw puzzles, though I remember cackling with helpless laughter when the dining table collapsed dead centre for not being secured and all the 3,000+ pieces cascaded onto the floor! :rotflmao

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#4 of 18 Old 04-13-2014, 11:05 AM
 
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It's only natural for her to let her boyfriend take the dominant role. I think everything you are saying is normal. I would say just let it taake it's natural course and it will be better for everybody.

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#5 of 18 Old 04-13-2014, 05:07 PM
 
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Team up with the boyfriend to build your daughter up. Part of a great relationship is getting appreciated and inspired by the other person, while doing the same for them. He's a good guy right? So have him around for family time. Don't let it become a choice of you vs him for her. Both of you find your daughter beautiful and smart and everything and both want her to succeed. Let serious boyfriends be in a long try-out for the part of husband, basically. How would you treat him if he were your son in law? Within reasonable limits, treat him a bit like that now.

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#6 of 18 Old 04-13-2014, 05:32 PM
 
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Well, my daughter's only 2, so thankfully I have a while before I end up in your position. :) However, I will say that as someone who can remember being in your daughter's situation, I'd recommend taking her feelings seriously and do what you can to include her boyfriend in your world. I can remember my mom telling me I was too young to know what love was and that I should pay more attention to my family/siblings/etc., because he was just a temporary part of my life and my family would be there forever. Well, 18 years later, we're still together, happily married for the last 9 years with 2 kids and a third on the way. I'm still close to my family (including my mom), but it took a long time for them to accept that he wasn't going away, which I sort of resented.

 

Also, I know my situation is somewhat unique, but I went through the same moon-eyed, honeymoon phase with my boyfriend/future husband as well, where I ignored everyone else and let him make all the decisions and be the smart one (he graduated valedictorian and I was salutatorian), but if it weren't for him, I never would have gotten my PhD. I'm sure there are a lot more instances when high school boyfriends completely derail a girl's life, but there are also some instances when smart kids make good choices.


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#7 of 18 Old 04-21-2014, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We had the boyfriend over for Easter dinner yesterday. He has nice manners but I'm sure we were a bit intimidating. He didn't speak much.
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#8 of 18 Old 04-26-2014, 04:52 AM
 
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I'm new her but I'm in a similar situation.  My youngest is 13 and has been with her bf since last summer.  At first thought it was just the boyfriend of the week but now almost  9 months later I know it is more of a serious romance.  They both do well in school and are in band together but it still doesn't make it easier on me.  Although they are both still virgins, I know they have done some experimenting and to be safe I got her on bc a month ago.  It's tough navigating a 13 yr olds romance and I do worry about it but we can only hope we have taught them to make good decisions.

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#9 of 18 Old 04-26-2014, 11:19 AM
 
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I'm new her but I'm in a similar situation.  My youngest is 13 and has been with her bf since last summer.  At first thought it was just the boyfriend of the week but now almost  9 months later I know it is more of a serious romance.  They both do well in school and are in band together but it still doesn't make it easier on me.  Although they are both still virgins, I know they have done some experimenting and to be safe I got her on bc a month ago.  It's tough navigating a 13 yr olds romance and I do worry about it but we can only hope we have taught them to make good decisions.

 

I welcome you to Mothering and hope you will remain with us, sharing. :)

 

I hope also that you will keep talking to your daughter, making her feel so special that she will want to talk to you about anything. Sadly, my relationship with my real mother was so terrible that I can not speak about it even now, except to say I have a daughter called Juniper, nearly 4 years old, who is my absolute joy and centre to my life; I'm not quite 17 yet. So anyway, I just want to say that though things will be difficult for you with hard choices to make as time goes by, at least you had the good sense of putting your 13 yo daughter on bc, but that she is happy with her boyfriend - it's a very, very rare thing they have been together since last summer. That's brilliant - really it is, and I am sure you are doing much better than you give yourself credit for. I'm sure also that your daughter is extremely happy your putting her on bc, for even deep down if she's shy and hasn't voiced it, will love and appreciate you for that decision you made. My late mother was something else.

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#10 of 18 Old 04-26-2014, 12:24 PM
 
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My relationship with my mother was a lot like yours and it has taken me over 30 yrs to finally accept it.  But now that I'm the mom I have been much more open, patient, and understanding with all my 3 kids.  My13 year old and I have a very close relationship and so far she does tell me everything. We had several talks about the bc issue and although she said she didn't feel she was ready to have intercourse yet, we both felt that it was the right time just in case. And as they experiment she knows that you don't have to have intercourse to get pregnant.  So both her and I are glad we took that step.  But as a mom I would've preferred her first love come at 16 instead of 13. 

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#11 of 18 Old 04-26-2014, 01:04 PM
 
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I asked Aunty Lyra if she fell in love quite young, and she said she fell in love at 16, but these days teenagers tend to start far earlier. Lyra is in her mid-20's, a very huggy sort of woman and so easy to talk to.

 

I'm so pleased you already have such a close relationship with your daughter; it's growing together, taking a day at a time. :)

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#12 of 18 Old 04-29-2014, 01:33 PM
 
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FWIW, I started dating my husband when we were 14. We graduated together, went to college together, got married and now have 2 kids. We have always tried to do what is best for us and we ****l accomplished what we wanted and did things in the "right" order. Don't underestimate young love, sometimes it does work out! As a teen I always hated that people wrote off our relationship as "not real". I think what made it work was we were friends first and neither of us compromised our ambitions.
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#13 of 18 Old 04-29-2014, 09:38 PM
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FWIW, I started dating my husband when we were 14. We graduated together, went to college together, got married and now have 2 kids. We have always tried to do what is best for us and we ****l accomplished what we wanted and did things in the "right" order. Don't underestimate young love, sometimes it does work out! As a teen I always hated that people wrote off our relationship as "not real". I think what made it work was we were friends first and neither of us compromised our ambitions.

I was 15, dh was 16 when we started dating.  We married at 21 and have a wonderful marriage (nearing 19 years).  My mother married my father at 17; they have been happily married for 44 years.  I agree; while it isn't common, young love does exist and can work out.  I can't wrap my head around bc at 13 (yikes!) but I know it is a reality for some.

 

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#14 of 18 Old 05-23-2014, 01:16 PM
 
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I was 15, dh was 16 when we started dating.  We married at 21 and have a wonderful marriage (nearing 19 years).  My mother married my father at 17; they have been happily married for 44 years.  I agree; while it isn't common, young love does exist and can work out.  I can't wrap my head around bc at 13 (yikes!) but I know it is a reality for some.

 

Amy

I think in some cases young love can be forever and that's one of the reasons that I am taking my 13 yr olds relationship seriously.  It may not work out however you never know and as parents we do not want to make light of young relationships just because we don't think they will last.  My oldest daughter has a 16 yr old friend who is getting married in August after she turns 17 and I hope for them it is a wonderful and lasting marriage. 

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#15 of 18 Old 05-24-2014, 06:35 AM
 
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I was 15, dh was 16 when we started dating.  We married at 21 and have a wonderful marriage (nearing 19 years).  My mother married my father at 17; they have been happily married for 44 years.  I agree; while it isn't common, young love does exist and can work out.  I can't wrap my head around bc at 13 (yikes!) but I know it is a reality for some.

 

Amy

 

and this...

 

Quote:
FWIW, I started dating my husband when we were 14. We graduated together, went to college together, got married and now have 2 kids. We have always tried to do what is best for us and we ****l accomplished what we wanted and did things in the "right" order. Don't underestimate young love, sometimes it does work out! As a teen I always hated that people wrote off our relationship as "not real". I think what made it work was we were friends first and neither of us compromised our ambitions.

 

I'm not sure how old you ladies are, but I hope you realize that these experiences are few and far between; the exception, not the norm these days. The divorce rate is over 50%, and I am one of those early-on statistics.  Met him at 16, engaged at 18, married at 20, separated at 22. Part of me thought it was odd (to be honest), this was about 20 years ago (married summer of 1994). No one else I knew was remotely ready, willing or thinking about marriage.  The only saving grace was that my parents essentially did the same thing, although they were expecting my brother (mom married at 19, gave birth before she turned 20- still married 45 years later).  My parents did not discourage me; my mom couldn't wait to be a grandmother (well, she had to wait until my next marriage, which also ended in divorce, but I digress). She saw nothing wrong with me throwing myself into a life similar to hers (young housewife and mom).  I was in college, and had a career plan though.  My dad made a strong case for me to get my career in order (which I did), as the breadwinner, and growing up in a house where his dad split, he wanted to me to be secure in that way. 20 years later, I have a 14 year old from my second marriage, and am married 3 years to a wonderful man.  I have a solid career (am not rich, but can hold my own), and am well-educated.

 

Did I love him?  At the time, yes.  Did I know what love was?  I knew what teen love was.  Was he the right man for me, long term? No way.  I was a kid then, an entirely different person.  I'm sure he was too. He too is remarried, with kids, and quite successful as well (I know this through the person who introduced us).

 

My 14 year old daughter does not know of this experience.  When the time comes, I will tell her.  She obviously knows I divorced her father, and I'm sure this changes her outlook on love, relationships and marriage (in a way that I can never understand, having been raised in a 2 parent home).  She is not in a relationship, and to be completely honest, it's a bittersweet feeling.  Part of me is thrilled I do not have to worry about birth control (although we talk very openly about all of that) and the emotional games that teens play with each other (due to their developmental stage- they can't help it). It's bad enough she has to deal with girl friends that toy with her emotions on a regular basis.  However, part of me would love for her to have a person she can enjoy being with in that way; a sweet little teen relationship (but I don't know that that exists these days- call me skeptical, and worried that she will fall hard).  All of this is perfectly age-appropriate, and I believe it really is a 50/50 crap shoot (hence the divorce statistics) that it will last (I know a couple here and there that stood the test of time as well: HS sweethearts, but did not get married so young).  She has one 'friend' that she is very conversant with over text, because she only sees him once a week at a class they take together (and does not live nearby).  She refuses to admit there is anything going on with him, and I cannot confirm or deny.  

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#16 of 18 Old 05-24-2014, 08:31 AM
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and this...

 

 

I'm not sure how old you ladies are, but I hope you realize that these experiences are few and far between; the exception, not the norm these days. 

 

I will be 40 this year.  We married in 1995.  I do realize that we are an exception.  :-)  I have lots of theories on that. . . but anyways.  I really think that somehow many people are lacking the skills needed to maintain a marriage.  The divorce rate is higher for young couples, sure, but it isn't exactly low for people who marry in their 30s either. 

 

My 14 yr old isn't in a relationship yet either.  Truthfully, she isn't allowed to date yet so it puts a bit of a damper on anything too deep.  Birth control isn't on her mind at all.  She is on a dance team -- she loves it.  She and the girls on the team all had "boyfriends" a couple years ago, but they decided it was more of a headache than anything (none of the girls are allowed to date so the ones that go to school only had school time access to them).  Some of the older girls on the team are dating and do have boyfriends.  I assume some of them are having sex.  I assume that one isn't because she is pretty vocal about staying a virgin. 

 

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#17 of 18 Old 05-24-2014, 09:39 AM
 
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@KimPossible129 I didn't write the second quote in your post, but for a minute I thought I did, it describes me so well.  I'm 32 and I agree that it's important to do things in the right order. Even though I've known my husband for going on 20 years, we've only been married 9 and only started having kids 4 years ago. I recognize that most marriages end in divorce and that, of those, young marriages are more likely to fail. However, I also believe that there's some added benefit to having started dating my husband so young. Many of my friends and colleagues are doing the online dating scene and seem to feel a little pressure to find someone, settle down, and start a family. Because we've known each other so long, not only were my husband and I able to take our time and enjoy life together before starting this frenzied, chaotic journey called parenthood, but we had time to really get to know all facets of each other and become completely comfortable as a unit. I honestly couldn't imagine doing this with someone I'd only known a couple years. Parenthood is hard enough without understanding your partner inside and out. I'm not saying I think all or even many teens should consider getting married. I just don't think teen love should be discounted as something less than adult love.

 

Of course, many, many years from now, when my teenage daughter tells me she's in love, plans to marry her high school sweetheart, and starts talking to me about birth control, I know I'm going to completely lose it.

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#18 of 18 Old 05-24-2014, 10:02 AM
 
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I think that whether a 13-year-old who falls in love ends up marrying the boy and having 60 years of happy marriage, or the relationship ends up fizzling out a year or two or five down the road, the thing I want to keep in mind as a parent is that the feelings she has for him are legitimate, strong, important feelings that deserve to be taken seriously by the people who care about her. Those feelings aren't necessarily trivial or illusory because she's under some magic age. The relationship she has with him isn't necessarily frivolous, or doomed, or pointless just because she's not 16 or 19. She's a human being just like any 25-year-old, and she's capable of having strong romantic feelings just like anyone. I don't think the only reason to take feelings and relationships seriously is because they might lead to life-long commitments. The reason to take them seriously is because they're relationships. Because they're important to the people involved in them. Our kids have a lot to learn about how to be in a romantic relationship, and they need our support as they learn those things. I don't think it's doing them any favours to trivialize or devalue the relationship "because it probably won't last" or whatever.

 

Not that anyone in this thread has really scoffed at young love. I guess I just wanted to say that the care and intention parents take in reacting appropriately to their teens' romantic relationships is important stuff, and it's important not simply because they might end up staying with that partner for life. It's important to their happiness and growth as human beings regardless.

 

Miranda 

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