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13 yo DD has a secret boyfriend

(22 Posts)
SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 18:55:25

I just twigged today, after a heated, whispered conversation between 13yo DD and 10yo DD. This was meant to be kept secret from me, but 10yo DD said something that made me wonder... She then confirmed my suspicions later on the promise that I wouldn't say anything.

Obviously if I say anything to 13yo DD it will drop her sister in it, which is not ideal. But I'd prefer to be in the loop at least partially! I've met the boy, he seems nice and I'm sure she wouldn't want to spend her time with someone unpleasant.

But... Now what? Should I wait to see if she tells me, or should I ask how he's doing (there are a few conversation starters I could try that would be innocent enough).

I want to respect her privacy but do feel she is a bit young to be navigating a bf/gf relationship without feeling like she can talk to me about it.

Manumission Sat 17-Dec-16 18:59:58

How subtle are you generally?

I'd be inclined just to take a coincidental shine to him and start inviting him to the odd thing and including him casually in this and that as a particularly nice friend.

yeOldeTrout Sat 17-Dec-16 19:03:29

Don't you wonder why it's a secret?
Is she a private person or does she think you would be interfering, or does the boy need to keep it a secret?

SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 19:06:14

Good idea. I can do subtle, so long as dh isn't around - massive, massive wind-up merchant with little subtlety when he feels uncomfortable (pfb DD with a bf certainly falls into this category)!

I'll see what I can come up with.

SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 19:07:14

I think she's keeping it a secret because I think she's too young for a bf.

Manumission Sat 17-Dec-16 19:08:11

Don't tell DH then. I think that's justified actually in the early stages of delicate teenage affairs of the heart. She's obviously shy about it. (I'm married to a clodhopper too grin )

SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 19:08:26

But hey ho, that ship has sailed. I need to deal with the situation now with understanding and calmness. New to all this.

Manumission Sat 17-Dec-16 19:10:17

Two or three years of faking a relaxed attitude and you'll start to feel it smile

yeOldeTrout Sat 17-Dec-16 19:15:02

So she doesn't want to deal with your disapproval. Are you going to tell her you don't disapprove now? Do you have any other messages for her.

corythatwas Sat 17-Dec-16 19:54:08

I'd leave it to her to tell when/if she wants to. A 13yo boyfriend is likely to be not very serious and not very long-term so it's not actually as if you had to do anything about it.

If you give the message now that you respect privacy, she is more likely to confide in you when things get more serious. And the same goes for your 10yo. Breaking a promise you made to her (which presumably nobody forced you to make) may well make her less willing to confide in you in 5 years time.

But if dh is a wind-up merchant, you will really need to have a serious talk with him asap. Remind him that the best way to keep his daughters safe over the next 10 years will be to make sure they don't feel embarrassed or silly about letting him into their private lives: is he really prepared to risk that just for a cheap laugh?

SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 20:03:53

Trout this is my eldest dc. I don't want to screw up. What would you suggest I say? I feel that 13 is too young for a bf/gf relationship. But it's not my life, obviously. I'm not going to force this on her; I at least know enough not to actively push her away.

Cory I agree with what you're saying, especially with dh. He comes from a family of winder-uppers and I find it wearing at times myself.

corythatwas Sat 17-Dec-16 20:55:20

OP, remember that gf/bf at 13 doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as gf/bf at 25 or even at 17. Chances are it is very hands-off, very short-lived and that she dumps him when he forgets to keep enough pocket money back to buy her a Christmas present (this was ds' downfall grin).

It's a kind of practice courtship which is (usually) completely safe because both parties know that nothing is actually expected. The main danger of parental intervention (or even notice) is often that it makes it into far more than it would ever have been if gone uncommented on.

Both mine had gf/bf at that age: can't even remember what they were called now, absolutely sure that very little went on.

corythatwas Sat 17-Dec-16 20:56:51

If you want reassurance (as us parents of teenagers sometimes do) that this isn't some evil new development introduced by the digital age, try reading the Anne of Green Gable books. They have boyfriends at that age- and it means nothing.

DearMrDilkington Sat 17-Dec-16 20:59:59

I remember my boyfriend at that age. He asked me out, I said yes, we told everyone we were going out and then made awkward eye contact in corridors with each other for the next few weeks until the 'love' died down..

She'll be alright, wait for her to come to you.

SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 21:13:33

Thank you for the reassurance. I'll keep the pearl clutching at bay and try to remember how I was with boys at that age. (ie, awkward!!)

yeOldeTrout Sat 17-Dec-16 23:12:44

Practice courtship is true, ime.

What would you suggest I say?

Drop hints to show you've changed your mind about 13yo is too young, so there's a chance she wants to tell you for yourself. I bet she's dying to tell you. My teens pranced and crowed about it like loons whenever they got a gf/bf.

DD had a 13yo friend ("Jane") whose secret boyfriend went a bit psycho. (Jane's parents banned boyfs for religious reasons). I stepped in to help Jane break up & help the boy get some pastoral support. I still feel sad & angry that Jane couldn't turn to her own parents; the boy was caught up in his own set of secrets but also had to keep Jane's secret. I wish Jane had a posse of adults helping her & reinforcing positive messages. That's why I feel strident about how red lines can just plain backfire with teens. Choose your red lines very carefully.

They say the best way to stop teens doing "stupid" things (crime, sex, drugs) is to ... bolster their self-esteem (so they don't think they should settle for crap in their lives), encourage their aspirations (so that they don't want to do anything to spoil their plans) and give them someone they trust to talk to (when they into difficult situations, especially when they have already made some bad decisions to get there).

SerialReJoiner Sat 17-Dec-16 23:39:19

Thanks. That gives me a lot to think about. I appreciate everyone's insight.

DiegeticMuch Sun 18-Dec-16 22:34:23

I'd ageee with everyone else's definition of relationships at 13. They're very innocent and chaste, but exciting and consuming at the same time. It won't last and the chances of anything bad happening are small. When she tells you, be visibly glad for her. If you handle this well, she'll come to you first about the big important stuff when she's 15+

Isadora2007 Sun 18-Dec-16 22:43:56

Sorry to burst your innocent bubbles but I was a very studious and intelligent girl. With a strict and naive mum. I had a boyfriend age 13 and we were sexually active before my 14th birthday. We were together for 9 months and thankfully I didn't become pregnant. I did however go on the Pill without my parents knowledge. Took the morning after pill once. And had sex on a very regular basis.

My older children are in their teens (19 and 16) and I have always been open with them about stuff and encourage honesty and very little in the way of "set rules". Instead I have brought them up to be respectful of themselves and others and trust that they know what is right for them and that there I should absolutely NOTHING they can't talk to me about.
DS1 (the older) was in a relationship from 12 almost 13 and they were not sexually active until just before their 16th birthdays. But they did get to sleep together with my blessing (and her mums) from age 14/15 as we were open and honest with them. Dd1 is 16.5 and haany had a boyfriend as yet but has had some sexual experiences (not full sex) which she has felt able to talk to me about openly.

Please just encourage your kids to talk to you. Put aside arbitrary rules and talk about everything and anything.

SerialReJoiner Sun 18-Dec-16 23:15:15

We had a chat tonight and she opened up a bit to me - not about the boy, but another issue she was sitting on. I am glad I made the effort to have the chat, and I think it has paved the way for future conversations. Fingers crossed.

SureStartRedemption Mon 19-Dec-16 08:05:12

Isadora - sorry to burst your innocence bubble but if you think a 14/15yr old were sleeping together in your house and NOT having sex until they were 16yrs I think you may be the deluded one. I'm sure they told you they weren't...

Isadora2007 Mon 19-Dec-16 12:09:00

SSR I can't can assure you they weren't. I won't divulge why as it's not my business to share... But they weren't.
It's called trust as well as respect and i know my children well enough to do both.

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