How much involvement with teen relationships(22 Posts)
DD1 17, first proper boyfriend. Started going out a couple of months ago, though knew and liked each for several months before that. I wasn't over the moon when it started as same school, so fall outs and break ups likely to interfere with school work. However, having met him and like him, very sensible and respectful, realises she has a lot on her plate. And Im also aware there's not much point trying to stop it.
Her feelings about him have been all over the place, and she seems to tell me everything she is thinking and feeling. And a lot of what he says and does too. She now thinks he is about to break up with her, I can't really tell if that's likely from her reasons, have offered some advice but loathed to offer too much as aware teenage perspective different. She also talks to friends, but most are mutual friends so difficult to know who she can trust.
Shes in bits at the moment, and am wondering whether to tell her just to break it off, as is likely to feel worse if she gets in deeper and it ends just before their A levels, or when they all go their separate ways for Uni.
And is it normal as a parent to feel so involved in it all?
I couldn't sleep last night, mainly through worrying about the effect all this was having on her. But a small part of me seems to be reliving my own teenage years.
She needs to learn to deal with having a boyfriend and getting on with her life as well. Making it all into a bit of a drama and involving everyone in the ins and outs doesn't help the situation at all.
I wouldn't offer any advice about breaking up and would just be non committal about the things she says about the relationship. If they break up just before A levels it might be your DD that wants that rather than her boyfriend or she might be the one that ends it when they go to university. Even if it isn't what she wants she'll survive and is unlikely to complete mess up A levels if she has been getting on with her work throughout the year.
I would be trying to make sure that home isn't the place for drama and angst.
She's disorganised and not very good at compartmentalising, so school work is suffering. Even though she is not seeing him too much out of school, spends a lot of time (that should be soent working) overthinking everything. I think part of the problem is that she is only 14/15 in her head as far as relationship experience goes.
Finding it difficult to keep listening without it all turning into a drama, so my work gets affected too. And obviously don't want the communication to stop.
I think I would be trying to get her to think of ways to refocus on school work ie "if you write that essay then we''ll have a chat later". Then listen but be a bit more "hmm" with your answers.
DD1 (23) was a massive over sharer about relationships and I would just listen and not offer any advice. Then when it all goes pear shaped its easier to deal with because you are less involved (and haven't encouraged them to do anything they regret). DD2 (21)is the opposite and tells me nothing but does talk to DD1 who then blabs everything to me!
I'm only a baby at this (DD only 13), but my tuppence is...
Listening is good, you're doing a great job there if she wants to tell you everything.
I think your other job is about keeping her self-esteem up so that she never thinks she should put up with crap.
Relationships are only worth having if they're fun and if the other person treats her well (and if she can treat them well).
That said, I try hard to stay OUT and just listen or point out good ways to make decisions when they're uncertain not to do, not say what should be her decision or reaction.
Still reasonable to ask "Why do you want to stay with him if this is making you unhappy?". Listen to her reasons without saying if they're right or wrong, you are her sounding board. Try not to offer advice unless she's still torn, and even then it would be how you might make a decision or what you think the important priorities are that she may want to consider.
I think maybe when they know they have autonomy then you the parent actually end up with more influence about the things that really matter.
I find with my DD1 during the dramas of boys etc (DSs less communicative with mum so far!) that it is helpful to think of one of her friends and say something like 'What does Kate think about it?' Then it separates the issue from you having to constantly come up with stuff and also invites her to consider an outside point of view. We all know our friends are usualy sensible when we are in a bit of a tizz. Hasnt started happening with DD2 so far (13) but bracing myself!
Thanks webwiz, great to have the perspective from someone who has been through it.
Most of the conversations (with me) seem to be late at night when she has just come off on line chat to him. Difficult to police that as cant turn wifi off without it affecting everyone.
School work suffers because she can't switch off while in lessons, or concentrate.
lljkk yes, asked her stuff like how important her A levels etc are in her life right now vs 'the relationship' and A levels and getting in the right course wins hands down. But she still lets her feelings get in the way of everything else. DH just saying it's because their brains are wired differently lol.
kelly friends are proving helpful, but she is getting on their nerves too. And whenever she talks to a friend, gets worried it will get back to BF.
And although I wouldn't have anything to say about "the relationship" I would certainly have plenty to say about mooning about in school with a wistful expression instead of listening to the teachers - this falls firmly in the parental advice category.
DS is off relationships at the moment because girls are "too stressy". He had a bit of a bad experience with a girl who tried to put all sorts of limits on what he should and shouldn't do and wanted to make plans for the next year when they were only a few weeks into the relationship. He lots of friends who are girls but is focussing on A levels (Thank goodness!)
Best of luck with it all its isn't easy.
Really hard for teens to plan their lives more than a week ahead.
If it's her first proper relationship then this all sounds perfectly normal, and I think it's great that she seeks out your advice.
Personally I would rather my DC talked to me than to their friends, as they get terrible advice from their friends, fuel the school rumour mill and become the butt of gossip.
I would definitely try to minimise the drama and take every opportunity to remind her what's really important - school, friends, family. I always used to say 'are you actually getting this worked up about a BOY?' (raised eyebrow, amused expression) and somehow it always seemed to put the drama into perspective.
But other than that you need to accept that she's almost an adult and this will play itself out regardless of your opinions - there's really nothing you can do about her feeling distracted at school or mooning about at home.
It's just not easy watching everything she's been working towards for years slowly fall apart. She knows she is creating most of the drama, but can't seem to stop it. She knows what I am saying about getting her priorities right makes sense, but her emotions are running too high.
There seems to be so many 'relationships' going on in their 6th form at the moment. Doesnt help that DD has all her free periods at the same time as BF, although she does claim to be doing work during them.
I know, it's really hard to watch them making mistakes but we've all been there. How many of us prioritised a relationship at some time in our lives, to the detriment of other things, and how many of us stopped because someone told us to?
Your DD sounds like she's got her head screwed on right - she knows what she should do, but just can't currently put that into practice. Keep talking to her, supporting rather than nagging, offering advice when it's appropriate, and it'll all come good in the end.
As this is doing your DD's head in I'd advise her to think about asking her BF if he's unhappy with the relationship. She might not get the answer she wants but she's not happy with things the way they are now anyway and if it turns out that he does want to call it a day at least she can get on with dealing with it sooner rather than later. There's no point speculating with you and your friends about whether or not he's unhappy. As you've said her friends are getting fed up of the situation. Even good friends don't have unlimited patience and they'll be more likely to be supportive in the event of the relationship finishing if she hasn't already tested their patience to the limit.
Does she have a tendency to overthink everything/obsess anyway (I speak as someone with this problem!). If that's the case she needs help with finding ways to relax and encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle with enough exercise and a good diet. (easier said than done of course)
In your case my advice would be to try not to dwell on your DD's relationship(s) too much. At her age things can change quickly - a lot can happen in a term - and you'll go mad if you worry about things that might not even happen (I speak from experience again).
My sympathies - their exam years are stressful.
She says they have talked, and neither want to break up. But she is now worrying that there are things he isn't telling her, as he knows she worries.
I'm not saying much at all, except casually reminding her she should be doing some schoolwork right now. She's gone to do some music practise, but taken her phone with her, so suspect not really focused, but in a better mood than yesterday.
Goodness she sounds like me But she is now worrying that there are things he isn't telling her, as he knows she worries.
It might be that if she wasn't worried about her relationship she'd be focused on worrying about something else. Perhaps you could encourage her to actively see how long she can go without thinking about him. Set herself targets that get longer. If her thoughts return to him she should try to put them out of her mind until a set time.
It must be so difficult these days when there's the option of being in contact 24 hours a day. So many texts/photos etc to overanalyse.
Also, her BF might not appreciate being talked about.
chocoluvva yes, that just about sums her up. If she had nothing whatsoever to worry about, she would be worried about that.
I've given her a list of other things to worry/think about (getting her UCAS in this week, revising for forthcoming tests, deciding what she wants for Xmas.....).
And agree about all the on-line activity, absolute nightmare. I've seen her on a group chat between 2 couples, a separate chat with each if them and a larger group chat running all at the same time. I'm amazed she has never put a response on the wrong chat and really messed up. If only she had other things in her life as well organised.
I used to be thankful that she never went out much during the week on school nights. Now I wished she did, as at least when she goes out she's too tired when she gets back to stay on line for long.
With regards to being talked about, not sure. They are good friends with another couple, and all 4 of them have been known to separately sound problems off each other. There seems to be an unwritten code between them that info. won't get back to the person being discussed. DD has had her fair share of being sounded about the other relationship too.
She may well be addicted to her phone. I know my DD is/was. I think she uses it a bit less now (she's 18 - I think the novelty of fb and instagram eventually wear off) but it makes me sad to think that she chooses to avoid time completely by herself, filling in time with screen stuff instead of soaking in the bath, reading a book or just pottering. Apparently the anticipated, but not certain 'reward' from checking phone activity delivers a dopamine hit. And the more frequent the hit of dopamine the less sensitive the brain becomes to other things that would normally trigger a dopamine 'hit' eg sunny weather, observing a random funny incident etc.
IME 17 is the age at which girls begin to grow out of enjoying a nice bit of drama (although in my case I think my anxiety worsened around that age). FWIW, I have mixed feelings about the approach you're taking with your DD: on the one hand it's great that your DD tells you things and knows you'll be supportive, but on the other hand, as other posters have said, by engaging with her teenage worries and possibly giving her the impression that you're worried too (I am very guilty of this) you might actually be validating her behaviour.
It might be that you would be more supportive by being less involved in the nitty-gritty of her social life but more insistent that she addresses her anxiety issues by adopting a healthy lifestyle and trying to model the appearance of being confident and calm. Of course that is so much easier said than done.
Also, the danger of giving advice is that if your DD takes it, she might be unwilling to take responsibility for her actions or blame you for the consequences. I hope she manages to focus on her exams and other goals. I completely understand the frustration of seeing a bright teenager distracted by things that most likely won't matter in a year or two.
Hmm re growing out of the drama. She's a late starter, this is only just the beginning.
Although I do worry about her worries, I don't think she knows.
I try not to offer too much advice other than that its not worth continuing with a relationship if they are making each other unhappy. And be careful what she tells her friends, especially if she doesn't want it to get back to him.
Not sure about the phone. Bit worrying that she takes it in when she is doing music practise. Hope she doesn't interrupt herself with it and mly had it there to keep away from DD2s prying eyes.
Exercise never been her thing, although she's been doing a bit more walking since she's been going out with him.
I find it impossible not to get emotionally involved. I mull over situations , worry and drive my OH mad. It's the worst and best thing about girls is that they are so expressive.
Little bits of advice may go down ok but you need to leave her too it. Inside you will be fretting something awful.
The worst I find is overhearing them on the phone occasionally. My D talks so loudly you can't help but hear. Then you get half a story and assume the worst. I get right on my own nerves about it all.
Stand back let her deal with it and go insane silently
Funny, I don't think DD has ever spoken to her boyfriend on the phone. always text and message chat. She tells me that's the norm, all her friends do the same. Seems weird to me not to want to hear someone's voice.
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