14yo, first boyfriend, texts and groping - HELP!!!(10 Posts)
14yo dd has a nice group of friends, and now one of them has gone from friend to boyfriend. Well, I'm assuming this is what's happened, she mostly denies it.
Today she was late back from school, and looked a bit flustered and unreasonably happy - so I checked her phone when she was watching TV. She and this boy have been texting a LOT and I'm really worried at how the messages have escalated to his saying things like "I'm so horny" and making plans to meet for hugs and gropes and what lies they'll tell in order to do so.
What do I do? I can't confront her directly because she'll know I've been spying on her, but I am now really worried about what she's going to do and how I can best protect her. They're both 14, but she's only just turned 14.
If they're planning to tell lies they must be assuming you won't be OK with it, and probably your daughter doesn't feel she can talk to you about sex and relationships. That's the first thing to sort out - reassuring her that she can - but it will be hard because - as you say - she will guess you have been spying on her.
Tbh, hugging and groping are hardly unusual at 14, but it could progress...
Which means you really do need to have a discussion about self-respect, respect for the other person, and being really, really ready before moving on. Both of them need this. And - scary as it may seem - advice on contraception too, even if she is adamant it won't go that far yet. It might be worth bearing in mind that many European countries have an age of consent of 14, and all the hormones are there from puberty.
You may have to come clean and admit you read her texts. She'll be horrified, but if you apologise and make it clear that you only did it because you're worried about her, and if you are prepared to have an adult discussion without being judgemental, you might get away with it. And she might even appreciate it. Like it or not, she's no longer a child in any realistic sense but, because she's not yet a woman, she needs you. You obviously know this last bit, else you wouldn't be posting, but at the moment she may not realise it and somehow you have to get her trust.
This happened with my DD, though she was exactly a year older - just 15. I read her texts, saw they were planning to have sex. They'd been seeing each other for about three months. I was totally shocked. I never told her I'd read them. I initiated a discussion about it all and she opened up to me and I took her to the docs and she went on the pill. The relationship lasted almost three years. It wasn't how I'd envisioned things - I still thought of her as a young girl - but better than a pregnancy at such a young age. Good luck. Hope it is just 'groping'!
As Peebles suggests, you may be able to initiate a discussion without telling her you read her texts. Something along the lines of "You're growing up now and..."
Thank you both for your advice. I had a chat with DD last night, didn't tell her I'd read her texts, but said I'd noticed a change in her behaviour, and spoke a bit about what is okay and what's not, that I'm her ally and she can trust me and confide in me, encouraged her to have self-respect and be safe.
But I don't know. It might all just be water off a duck's back. And I feel like I have really failed in parenting her. They've been secretly snogging and feeling each other up only for about three days as far as I can make out and it's so far from what I want for her. I'd like her to have a boyfriend, not just someone that she can't even talk about or tell her friends that the relationship has changed. And I'm sad that it all seems to be based on physical responses and not on wanting to spend time together without All That going on.
I think she's enjoying the power she feels she has, that she's turning him on and can tease him etc but it's not how I think a relationship should be and I don't know how to get her to see that this isn't the right way to go about it all.
I empathise as my daughter is the same age. She's saying much more now that she thinks her friends are not respecting themselves by having sex so young and having so many partners and it is putting her off having another boyfriend as she doesn't to feel pressured into it. She said its important to her that her first time is with someone special. Our teenage issues have been more around antisocial behaviour, drugs and truanting in her friendship group. It's a hard time OP whatever teenage issues you are dealing with and I feel for you!
I'm sure you haven't failed as a parent, and I understand exactly where you're coming from hoping she will have a relationship which isn't just based on the physical aspects. Sadly - in my experience, at any rate - schools are pushed for time to fit in much sex education at all, and it's the relationship part that tends to be left out.
To be honest, I don't see a problem with teenagers starting to have sex at an early age in principle (legal aspects aside) as long as they are really ready. Some might well be ready at 14; others not until 20+. But sex without a proper relationship doesn't usually work.
I wrote a novel about teenage relationships (I mustn't mention it by name - against the rules) but perhaps I can get away with a short quote which you could show your daughter. This is a 16-year-old girl telling her friend about her new boyfriend of just a week. The boyfriend has promised not to pressure her and to wait until she's ready, and the girl says to her friend,
"So we'll just snuggle up. But that's part of it, right? Perhaps even *the more important part*"
(I just put that in bold for now, to make the point. I hope this helps.)
Thanks, leonard, that's reassuring. I do understand what you mean about being ready. And that the readiness comes from a maturity around relationships and understanding that it's more than just working up to PIV.
But I don't think she's got her head around that!
I think it's the secrecy part that most concerns me. I woke up at 6.30 this morning and it all immediately rushed into my brain again. I'm sick with worry. She's not great at talking about feelings, never has been, so I've written her a letter. I'm trying to explain how a normal relationship works, that it's more than just the physical, and that she gets to choose how she is treated and what sort of physical contact she wants. And really emphasised that she can trust us and talk to us about stuff. I guess that's really all I can do for now.
(an all-girls Swiss boarding school is, unfortunately, beyond our means!!)
I think the letter is a really good idea - wish I'd thought of that!
Hmmm... all girls boarding school. Not convinced that would work, anyway. My wife used to work in one (not in Switzerland), but unless you actually put them in a convent...
I've worked in girls' schools, btw, and a mixed boarding school. If they are determined to have sex they will always find a way, which is why I think relationship education is so important.
Hello. How are you getting on?
it's the secrecy part for some teenagers I think that a large part of the appeal of being in a relationship is the thought that they are being grown up/doing adult things. Sometimes they react to the feeling of being disapproved off by their parents by rebelling and doing the stuff they know their parents don't want them to. And your DD is probably enjoying experimenting and doing something new for her.
So what can you do to keep her safe?
Don't let her think that you're bothered by this relationship (even though quite naturally are) and that way she will have nothing to rebel against. Where do they see each other btw? Be openly pleased for her but in an understated, 'Aww that's sweet' (but it's no big deal) kind of way. IYSWIM.
Give her the impression that you trust her judgment so that she can't rebel against you 'controlling' her as she'll see it.
Try to keep her as busy as possible!
Try to make her confident enough to only do something if she really wants to. Compliment her for anything you can think of- unfussy eater, quiet/chatty, sense of humour, kind, anything.
Take an interest in her hobbies, school stuff and friends so that she gets the message that a bf is just one (small) part of her life rather than an all consuming thing.
Invite him round and keep him at the dinner table for as long as possible. Engage him in conversation and don't let your DD think you are frightened of the effect he has on your DD. Pretend to be calm so she gets the message that you are a rock for her. Hopefully this relationship won't last long.
Apologies if you're doing these things anyway.
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