16 year old boy and dating. Wife and I disagree

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2014
16 year old boy and dating. Wife and I disagree
51
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 11:55am

Here are the facts:
16 year old responsable son, but has lied before about differant things, nothing more than the average teenage stuff.  Other than that very responsable good kid.  However he has very low self estem.  Very type B.

Likes a girl that comes from a broken home with not much parental involvment.  Mother is gone away a lot for work and dad kind of involved.  She is more or less taking care of herself.  She is a very nice girl that is smart and gets along very well with our son. 

Our son is getting a lot of presure to date her in a steady relationship from her as well as friends.  He wants to as well.  Here is the rub.  My wife is getting a very bad feeling about it.  She likes the girl but feels that with the lack of family supervision, the situation would deteriorate into a very bad area.  I disagreed but I got a I am a mother and I know things talking to.  I see where there is getting to be some preasure from other kids, thier parents who know both kids, and also the girls mom came up and introduced herself to us for this relationship.  I thought she was just being nice but my wife was thinking more into it.  My wife feels with our son's self estem issues he would just go along with the flow and would be draged into family issues and other areas such as premarital sex, etc.....  She feels that this girl and family would be the type to "do anything" to hold onto our boy.  He is a good catch from a family that has some money (percieved).  I think she is a little out there but I do some some validity in her thoughts. 

I feel bad for my son and for this girl.  They have done nothing wrong.  My wife and I  had a talk with our son and told him he should probably not date her and told him why.  I did not agree with my wife but for the sake of peace in the house I went along with it.  I feel horable about this.  I guess I am looking for either, your wife is right go with it, or else a you are right stick up for your son. 

Any thoughts would be greatly apreciated from other mothers out there.

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 1:33pm

So ultimately what your wife is really afraid of is that your son is going to have sex with the girl and she's going to get pregnant. That's what your wife means by "do anything" to keep your son in a relationship since he is a "good catch". In all likelihood he probably is going to have sex with the girl if he dates her, but if your son has been told about birth control and understands his role and responsibility in preventing a communicable disease and an unwanted pregnancy then everything should be okay.

It's time for your wife to let your son grow up and you need to stop being wishy washy. You said that neither the girl or your son has done anything wrong so stop trying to punish them.  Either you somehow keep your son from girls until he finds the one that you are okay with him having sex with or you arm him with information and hope he puts that information to use. Besides, it's not the end of the world if your son dates a girl from a broken home; Most kids come from broken homes these days.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 1:40pm

First of all, we all know that ultimately these two kids are going to do whatever they are going to do.  Not like you can keep them from eachother at school, events, etc.  And I think we have to be very careful about specifically discouraging a specific person.

My opinon would be that of course you will share concerns, but ultimately (especially at 16) you need to let him make some of those choices himself.   Try to have the girl at your house most of the time if you are worried about supervision.  Stuff like that.  

But unless you are very, very strick (i.e. think of courting versus dating) I just don't see how you can tell a 16 year old boy who they can or cannot date.  

I do think that we need to instill, as much as possible, character traits we want our children to look for.   Note I said Character Traits, not living situation.  I agree that although your DW may have concerns over supervision, I think she has taken that story line way out there.  Sure, its possible, but lots of things are possible.  

I hope something in there was helpful and welcome to iVillage!

Serenity

ETA: Your family could potentially be a positive influence on this girl.  Maybe run that by your wife.

Serenity
Avatar for cupcakebabe
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2011
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 1:43pm

Ultimately, they will do what they want to do, so the choice would now be whether you want to have them be able to come over and be under somewhat of a watchful eye or have them sneaking around. 

I don't see your wife's POV but then I don't know the entire story. If she's a nice girl even with caring for herself at a young age, then I don't see the downfall.

Honestly, I don't think I could ever tell my kid not to date someone unless the person was truly a bad egg (and I'm talking drugs, alcohol, abusive — along those lines). But someone from a somewhat broken home, who still manages to have a good head on their shoulders? I'd definitely give her the benefit of the doubt here. I'd also give your son some more credit, especially at 16.

As a daughter, I think if my parents had ever told me not to date someone, oh, I'd definitely had dug my heels in and did the opposite.

Good luck. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 1:53pm

How about something in-between, like that they can date with parental oversight? They're not just set loose with so much freedom that they can easily get into trouble, but they start with most of their time supervised (like hanging out in a home with parents present and actually keeping an eye on them), group activities with their friends, etc. As the parents you get to set ground rules; as the teens show they are responsible and trustworthy they earn more freedoms, or can lose them. The other concern is that if you forbid their relationship you might encourage a Romeo and Juliet scenario where they sneak around. Parenting teens often requires a lot of effort and management.

The fact that the mother introduced herself seems a good thing. Now you have an opening to talk to her and express that you want to be on the same page in terms of supervising the kids and discuss how that can be achieved. I would ask your wife for some solid reasons why she thinks this girl/family will try to "trap" your son--I assume she means via pregnancy. I realize that some people do still have that mindset but why does she think that this family does?  If you develop a rapport with the girl's mom you can then discuss birth control, your views on teen marriage etc. 

Talking to the kids is very important. Does your son have dreams of attending college, having a career? Have you had serious conversations about birth control? The life-long responsibility of fathering a child, whether or not he is married to the mother? Does he know your stance on your support of him in the future? (for instance, do you plan to pay for him to attend college? If he fathers a child what would your support be then? etc) How about the girl? Does she have any aspirations for the future? If she's smart as you say then she may have hopes for college/career and trapping a boy through pregnancy not part of her plan.

Remember the old expression "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". Not that this girl is your enemy but your wife seems to fear her influence on your son so I would recommend trying to keep her close, get to know her and exert your family's influence on her. If her home situation is bad/unhappy and yours is nice then she may prefer to be at your house. There's also the possibility that if they are allowed to go steady, the relationship will run its course quickly and the worry will have been for nothing. 

The other question is, are you doing anything about son's self-esteem issues? Does he have any activities that he enjoys and make him feel good about himself? If not then I would suggest working on raising his self-esteem. Counselling is one way but becoming proficient at and pasionate about something can achieve the same effect, while keeping him busy so he has less time or inclination to get joined at the hip with a girlfriend.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 2:06pm

Agree with Elc - also question if it's possible to get him away from these (somewhat controlling) friends via having him join a club or take a class (for fun or whatever) and meet new kids to hang out with that way. He may still see the others every day in school but if he makes new not so controlling friends he may be able to build up that self esteem.

Sue

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2014
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 2:09pm

Thanks for your comments!  Yes my son is good at many things but when it comes to girls he has a little bit of a she's out of my league complex.  We are not quite sure why he always feels this way.  He is in varsity football, weight lifts has many friends in many different groups.  However, he is a homebody.  Rarely goes out with friends.  But when he does he has a blast.  We encourage him to get out there with friends.

I have talked with my wife several times about how we should give this girl a chance and to give our son some credit.  She feels that is too much of a risk to take as the age of 16 and better to just avoid it with this girl.  I just can't seem to make any headway with having her cut the boy some slack and to let him make a decision.  Her thought is that it will be easy to stay with her and that she will somehow influence him and change what he has had for life goals like collage and a career in law-enforcement.    Again I wanted to call B.S. on it but I have tried several times.  I did tell her that when he turns 18 in a year and a half we will have nothing to say about it.  She agreed and said she would be ok with them dating then because he would be out of what she considders a delicate stage in life.  Funny thing is that we both agreed that she is the perfect type of a girl for our son and they make a great match.  Crazy right?  I kind of hope in a way he goes behind our back and keeps at least a strong friendship going. 

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Oh my, I wish you luck!!  

I don't condone going against a spouse, but I hope you can talk to your son alone.  

Keep us posted!

Serenity CL making a marriage work

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 3:03pm

Several concerns...

You wrote that your son is getting a great deal of pressure from friends and the girl to get into a steady relationship with this girl. That's not good.

I assume that this would be his first "girlfriend".  He could very easily get into the situation that he feels he has to continue in a relationship with this girl, even though he may not really "want to". He is after all, at 16, much too young to be involved in a steady serious relationship.

I would also be concern that there is not adequate supervision at this girl's home. She may be a nice girl but, at 16,  she is still very young. You cannot "disallow" your son from seeing this girl but you can make sure that you set "guidelines" such as not being at her home without adult supervision, curfews, school work comes first etc.. Have the couple spend time at your home.

I would also sit the two of the them down and have a frank discussion on sex. Talk about birth control, STDs etc.. Make your expectations concerning their behaviour very clear. Since this girl has very little parental involment in her life, you and your wife can take the oppportunity to talk to the girl about her hopes for the future. Does she has career goals?

Stress that they could very easily destroy their future by one mistake.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009

You hope that your son goes behind your back? Really?

You wife is right on one score. Your son is at a very delicate age, when the hormones are more powerful than logic. Kids grow up a great deal between 16 and 18; your role as his father is to help him understand that his hormones should not rule his life and his decisions. This girl might be very nice and "made for him" but that is no reason to encourage a serious relationship at 16.  You should not discourage him but also don't encourage him.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 05-16-2014 - 3:46pm

I think that your wife's approach could backfire; and I don't think I've ever heard a parent say they hope their kid will disobey, especially on something like this. I think that you and your wife need to keep talking until you can arrive at a compromise point, seek mediation from a neutral third party if necessary.

Pages