Friday, October 22, 2010

17 year old involved with a girl who violates boundaries

Questioner: Brenda


I never thought I would be doing this but here I am. I am the mother of a 17 yr. & we are having consistent problems with. In my son's sophomore year he met a young lady 2 yrs. younger than him and they started "dating". We set ground rules for James, we met her parents and for 2 yrs now he has consistently challenged his father and I. This young lady seems to have complete control over our son. He has forgiven and continues to overlook the things she has done and continues to do.
These are a few examples of what we have been dealing with...They went to our pool together and I found them in a very serious compromising situation. She has stolen our son's passwords to his social networking/email accounts. Reset the passwords and assumed to be our son. She them proceeded to be ugly and inappropriate to our daughter/myself and other female friends of our son's. She has crawled out of her home and has shown up here at all hours of the night to "be with him". She has been vulgar to all extremes with myself and my husband. She stole a ring from my daughter and I just could go on and on. Regardless of whatever she does our son 'forgives' her and continues to defy us. We have caught him in numerous lies, and though we haven't FORBIDDEN them to be together, we have tried to set limits and boundaries which he will buck at and not follow. We are consistent and hands on parents. we dish our consequences for his actions as well. Our son's friends have all slowly pulled away from him as well. One stated to his father and I that our son is with a "toxic" girl. Not even his peers seem to understand or like this young lady. We have attempted to speak with this young ladies parents who really think these things are all OK and typical teenager stuff. But we are reaching our breaking point. This relationship/obsession seems to be unhealthy.

What advice can you give us on a professional level. We seem to be in a catch 22. We say OK and its still a problem. We say NO and be firm and they do it anyway. We are seriously at a crossroads here.

Dear Brenda,


Okay it is obvious from what you are describing that this young girl is a problem child. However, forbidding him to see her has not worked. Stop focusing on her problem and focus on what is going on with your son.

What is the problem that someone can disrespect him like this and he will continue to allow someone to treat him this way. This is what is going on with him.

I suggest counseling right now. He is 17 and practically and adult. This is only going to get much worse when he turns 18. He needs to feel in control of his decision making and at 17 will not respond to you telling him what he can and cannot do.

Now as for this young girl. When she stole your daughter's ring did you report it to the police? Have you told her not come to your house or you will call the police? You need to focus your behavior in a direct response to her behavior. She stole his passwords and that seems to me to be an egregious enough of a bad behavior that I would not allow her on my property or in my house.

As far as his defying you and allowing her in the house. You need to tell him that you will call the police and get a restraining order if need be. Yes, you stand to lose you son however, most often the last thing to go with teens is their dependency upon their parents financial strings. So withstand the heat. You need to set the example of how to deal with your own boundaries.

You may need to pull this this is our home and we all need to feel safe in our own home. It is our choice as to whom comes and goes from our home. Once she has been told that she is not allowed to enter your home and that you will call the police or get a restraining order or whatever needs to be done. You are parents with a responsibility to protect all of your children. Your daughter needs to be safe in your home as well.

Be parents, take action and stand by what you decide. Actions needs consequences.

That this has been going on for 2 years now says that you need to accept your own role in the drama. You have been complicit in your son's behavior. Failing to protect you other child(ren) from this drama. This will not be easy at this point. DO get into family therapy now!

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller