Tuesday, July 19, 2011

13 year old daughter snuck out

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness 
10                         10                             10
Comment: Helpful advice!


Question: Long story made short(er) my husband and I made mistake (which we now realize) of letting our 13 yo daughter talk on phone w/a 15 yo boy for long periods of time, let him and a friend come over to our house and hang out (we were always home) then found out she snuck out of house in middle of night to "hang out" w/boy she liked and his friend and a friend of hers.

We grounded her and talked to her about it. My problem, as Mom, is that I feel so sorry for her because we have forbidden her to see him/talk to him (although we know she's talking to him on occasion and runs into him at after school events, even though she's in middle and he's in high.) I know we did the right thing in stopping the relationship but I feel guilt and have trouble sleeping, etc. due to this.


She says she loves him and her feelings aren't going to change, etc. I just want to know how long you think it may take her to "get over" this and if you think it may have any long term effect on her. I know all kids are different but she's more mature than some 13 yo girls, in some ways, and very pretty.

I also found out there was some inappropriate touching while they were out walking the neighborhood and hanging out in the woods. She has been very honest w/me. She also said we "don't understand because if we did we wouldn't be DOING THIS to her."

It just hurts me to see her hurting but don't want to talk about it too much w/her and dwell on it. She is sleeping, eating, having fun w/her friends, not being disrespectful, etc. so I don't worry about depression. She does say she cries in her bed at night but I've never seen evidence of it. Maybe I'm just reading too much into it?

My husband says this is the consequence she has to pay for her actions and I totally agree but I just want to feel better and I don't think I will until I feel that she does. She says nothing will make her feelings go away. Also, this boy is 15 1/2 now and will be driving soon. We tell her it's best to stop the relationship now rather than have it drag on as when she's in 9th and he's in 11th he'll be driving and we won't allow her to ride w/anyone when she's only in 9th grade. She says it's "my life" and she should be able to live it and let them break up when they're ready, etc.!

Thanks.

Answer: Dear Lori:

You need to validate her feelings first and foremost. She is right that she cannot turn these feelings off nor should she. Separate what behaviors you want from her and stick to those. She cannot choose what feelings she has or experiences to make you feel better about being her parent.

Next, as for the guilt. Let's deal with that one straight on. Are you ready to be a grandparent? Are you ready to help her raise a baby? It is expensive and very tiring when it is unplanned at such an early age. Teen pregnancy is not a myth it is a reality. There are more grandparents raising grandchildren than there are children in the state foster care systems.

If you don't do anything else, ....let go of the guilt. If you don't break this guilt button now for doing what is in her best interest this is all going to be down hill! Seriously, she knows how to push that button and will keep doing so for the rest of her LIFE! You have been sufficiently warned....parenting is not a popularity contest. Being a parent means one just has to suck it up and do what needs to be done regardless of the outcomes.

Next, tell your daughter if these feelings are real (and we both know at this age no matter how real they are they run onto the next love of their lives) they will last until she is 18. Then she can do as she pleases.

I understand you are trying hard to be firm and yet you also are having a hard time with her heartbreak. You do realize that you will not be able to enforce a no contact order with her 24/7. Hopefully she will respect herself and you as well to abide by it.

This is the hardest part of parenting however getting her to the age of 18 without an unplanned pregnancy will be worth it!

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

P.S. She won't appreciate what you have gone through until she is probably 30! :)