What boundaries for a 16 year old? And how to communicate with

(8 Posts)
purpleroses Tue 03-Sep-13 10:50:25

DSD turned 16 over the summer. She's a nice, mostly sensible girl who's doing very well at school but has caused some difficulties earlier in the year when she was lying to us about where she was at night. Suspect that she was actually staying over with an older boyfriend that she's now admitted to having.

Now that she's 16 DP feels we should treat her more as an adult. I agree that she's a mature girl - and I'd much rather allow her to stay over with a boyfriend, than have her do it behind our backs. But she isn't always inclined to tell us what she's up to - and I'm concerned this could get worse now that she's 16.

I'm trying to improve general communication with her - DP isn't always so great at this as it largely involves snatching moments when she's around to ask her what she's up to or gently steering a conversation round to things I want to ask her about. But I'm not really experienced with teens (DSC come to us every weekend, and stay with their mum in the week - my own DC are a bit younger).

Any tips for getting them to tell you the truth about what they're up to? And what boundaries do they still need?

dexter73 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:36:17

I have a 16yo dd. I don't expect her to tell me everything that she is up to as she is entitled to a private life, within reason. I certainly didn't tell my parents all the ins and outs of my love life and social life. They got the bare basics. What is it that you want her to tell you about?

I have a 16 year, I expect her to tell me where is if she is staying out all night, she is quite good about doing this now, we had a nightmare when she was 14, with her disappearing with an older boyfriend. Up until a few months ago I was doing spot checks by phoning the parents of the friend she was with to make sure, she didn't like it but that's what she got for lying in the first place.

But now as long as she is in by 10pm and answers her phone if I call her she pretty much can be anywhere during the day, she is out now and I don't know where she is other than that she is with one of her friends.

She is about to start college and I told her yesterday I thought it would be good idea to stay in mon - Thursday most of the time, to get a good start on her course and she agreed, but whether she does that we will see.
As to the talking I find I you get them in a confined space, such as a car, teenagers are quite happy to chat about their live, or maybe over dinner turn of the TV and ask how things are going, my DD loves to tell me long complicated tales about her friends that I really have no interst in but at least it means a get some background on whats going on in her life.

purpleroses Tue 03-Sep-13 14:25:33

What is it that you want her to tell you about? Well not the ins and outs of her love life with all the details, certainly. More where she's going and when she'll be back. And to have some idea of who her friends are and what she does with herself - not exactly where she is when, but what sort of thing she gets up to. She's been pretty evasive the last year or so - probably because of feeling the need to lie about things she thinks wouldn't be allowed.

I can do some of this framed around "which meals am I counting you in for then?" but that doesn't cover the overnights. Would you expect them to tell you where they'll be overnight? If so, just a friend's name - or to know where it actually is? I'd like her to feel that if she did end up somewhere she didn't want to be (eg at a nightclub and had lost her friends), and needed a lift home that she could ring us without worrying about saying where she is.

I very rarely stayed out overnight at that age - and wouldn't have expected to be allowed to stay at a boyfriend's. I could stay out late if I wanted but my parents would ask how I was getting back. Is it too intrusive to be asking that sort of information at 16?

dexter73 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:59:41

I don't think it is intrusive to want to know roughly where they are and what they are up to. My dd asks me where I am going and who with if I'm off out! I would definitely expect to know whose house she was staying at overnight. I also would like to know if they have lifts or buses arranged if they are going further afield.

adeucalione Tue 03-Sep-13 17:47:57

I have two this age and certainly expect to know where they are and who they're with. I've always thought this showed I cared about them, and I don't think they've ever seen it as an invasion of privacy.

They have to be in by a certain time and tell me if they're staying out overnight - again I feel that this is just common courtesy, so that I'm not waiting up or expecting a 'pick me up' phone call.

I do expect my DD to tell me where she is overnight, she has 4 or five friends that know and who she stays overnight with, she knows she must always answer the phone if I call or I will cut the contract I pay for, I think just telling your DD be home by x time or call us with a number of where you are staying should cover all bases?

purpleroses Wed 04-Sep-13 17:00:58

Do you think you can still insist on having a landline for the house she's staying at 16? We've had trouble getting these off her in the last year - even when she was 15. Suspect this was because she was lying about where she was, though she claimed that it was just "embarrassing" to have her dad ringing up to check up on her. She has her mobile on at all times, though has been known not to pick up when DP phones her - again suspect this is at times when she's not where she's said she'll be. She's replied to texts instead usually. I hate all the lying and would so much rather have a relationship with her when she feels able to tell the truth about things - that's what I'm hoping to get onto a better footing now that she's a little older.

DP is a bit rubbish about knowing who her friends are. I don't know if her own mother knows them (DP suspects not) but if she does she doesn't pass on any information to us. And I'm starting out from a base of not having known any of them when they were younger and not really having the authority of being her parent. I feel DSD falls between homes/parents sometimes with no one really knowing much about her life. In some ways this suits her fine but I do feel 16 is rather young for such independence.

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