Do the parents of my son's girlfriend like him "too much"?

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Do the parents of my son's girlfriend like him "too much"?
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Tue, 09-18-2012 - 5:08pm

Hello,

I am the mum of a 14 year old boy and I have some concerns about how his relationship with his first serious girlfriend is developing. Or rather, my main concern is with the girlfriends parents.

My son Pete met this girl Kate, while they were on a summer rec league swim team together though they go to the same school and must have known each other prior to this summer. Anyhow, they quickly decided to try and make a go of some kind of relationship. Pete has had crushes before and the occasional girl mooning over him but never anything serious.

I am still not really happy that Pete decided to have a girlfriend, I would much rather he didn't while still in school but my husband tells me that would be unrealistic. 

Anyhow, we got to know Kate reasonably well over the summer, nice kid, very bright, quite beautiful, superb athlete. Really can't dislike her, much as I want to.

Her parents on the other hand seem to like our son as much as Kate herself does. They also first met him when Kate introduced him to them and never appeared to have anything but approval of the relationship and affection for our son.

I am almost creeped out by it.

They have continued to invite him to dinner and on family outings, hikes, kayaking, etc. Originally I thought they were just trying to get to know him but this has been going on for months and there seems to be nothing they don't want to include him in.

We haven't included Kate in anything and we're not going to. I made it clear to her that I do not approve of my son having a girlfriend and I will only tolerate her as long as she behaves herself and doesn't push too far.

Again, I can't really say anything bad about Kate's family, they're really outgoing, respected in the community, involved as parents. Kate has two younger sisters who are both sweet and well mannered. The dad, especially likes Pete and seems to just love introducing Pete to people as Kate's boyfriend.

Aren't parents of pretty girls supposed to drive off the first real boyfriend of their oldest daughter, or at least scare the living hell out of him, rather then embrace him and practically make him a member of their own family.

Now they are asking to have Pete join them on a four day vacation at a lake house owned by Kate's grandparents. I am drawing the line at that, not the least because they were unclear or not terribly fussed about what the sleeping arrangements might be.

I am not sure what they are thinking but I sure as heck am not going to allow any possibility of my son sleeping with their daughter even if they might think it ok.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

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Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
My opinion is that 14 is too young for kids of EITHER sex to have such a serious relationship. As I told my kids (and as my 31yo HS teacher dd reiterated as HER opinion, the other day) it's fine for a 14 yo to have a bf/gf, as long as that relationship consists of talking to them on the phone, sitting together at lunch and on the bus, and holding hands when they walk in the halls.

Spending too much time together, or leaving them alone together, is a recipe for disaster. They are just TOO immature.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Apparently they don't think that 14 is too young for their DD to have a BF so they are doing the normal thing in that case, which is to include the boy in family events and treat him as though they like him, which they do.  I think it's odd to allow your son to date (which you are doing) but then say you are only "tolerating" the girl, who you say is perfectly nice.  If you don't want him to date, you should have forbidden him from doing it--you can't really prevent him from having a "girlfriend" which is more a state of mind and liking each other but a lot of parents have rules that there can be no one on one dating until 16 or something like that.  I actually think it's pretty smart for their family to include him in all the familys stuff--the more they are doing things together, they less time they are spending alone.  How much trouble can they get in when the whole family is kayaking together?  Plus by getting to know the parents, and assuming he starts liking the parents and respecting them, I also think it makes it harder for the boy to do things that he knows will upset said parents.

My son had this GF when he was 14 and spent a lot of time at her house getting to know her parents, so much so that when her grandmother died recently, even though they had broken up about a year ago, he went to the wake (the grandparents also lived with them so he knew her too).  The girl's father was very impressed that he did that and said all this stuff about him being a good kid, they always liked him, etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009

Where I come from is important to what I say below:

Our daughters and SILs were a few months shy of 13 and 14 when older SIL took a liking to our older daughter and parked his best pal with our younger daughter so that they could all go to a Halloween dance.  During the next 20 months they hung out/dated at dances, movies, mall, six flags, hurricane harbor water park, merged finances, educational goals, and life plans.   When they were all 14 ½ and 15 ½ we took the guys on vacation with us for a week on the beach in Destin, Florida.  It was a blast for everybody.  Six months later both couples went to Cancun with youngest guy’s parents for Thanksgiving week and skiing with oldest guys parents the week after Christmas.  The young couples paid for the extra costs of these trips with their money.  The male parent shared a room with the guys and the female parent shared a room with the girls.

On that Florida trip each couple made private vows to each other and those vows are important enough to them to be engraved on the inside of their wedding bands.  No, I don’t think 14 ½ and 15 ½ year olds should be making vows, but that is fact—something that we did not know about until many moons later.  They were 15 ½ and 16 ½ when I came home from work early one afternoon and discovered both couples in bed.  I did not see anything, but it was obvious when they came out and I was home.  They were married at 17 and 18, a few months before graduating from high school with over 70 semester unit of college credits. While planning the wedding, youngest couple oopsed on the birth control and BLESSED us a grandson two years ago next month and a second grandson last May.

I am very aware that the above situation puts us in the freak zone.

We live with the couples who are now 19 ½ and 20 ½, are still attending classes four nights a week, and have now been married for 30 months.  And yes, all six parents worry about the out years. Worry is what parents do.  Everything looks great, but so did the Challenger liftoff until 67 minutes after launch. 

A few thoughts about your situation:

I can’t argue with the above posts.

Traveling together breaks up lots of teen romances.

It is doubtful that this romance will go the distance.

If you feel uncomfortable with anything, it’s OK to go slow.

Including the girl in your activities will give you a better read on her and her family.  Also it gives you a read on your son and what he sees in her.  One of the risks of this is that you may fall in love with the girl also.  We gained sons in the marriages of our daughters.  Hubby and I love our SILs.  

I doubt her parents are any more interested in them having sex than you are—probably less interested. 

I would be very upfront with her parents about the sleeping arrangements, probably a mother to mother conversation.  I had those conversations with both mothers before the Florida, Cancun, and Ski trips.  For some strange reason, both of the other mothers were very interested in their sons not sharing a bed with our daughters on those vacation trips. 

If they all sleep in a big tent with the parents between them that would probably be OK, if I felt I could trust the parents. (I assume they are not nudists.)

Ok, I now see the lake house.  Ask the qustion about how are you going to keep them from sharing a bed.  That is a fair question to ask. 

Can you trust your son? 

You have to do what your gut tells you is best. 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000

Hi and welcome to the board. I'm with you and some of the other posters in that I think 14 is too young to have an 'attached at the hip' bf/gf relationship. I'm also with your dh in that it's a bit unrealistic to expect him not to want to date anyone while he's in school, which I assume will be until he's 17 or 18. These years are often when kids learn about the opposite sex, what traits they like and don't like, etc. If you really don't want him dating at such a young age you're well within your right to reign the 'romance' in a bit. Tell him that after thinking about it you feel he's too young to be so involved with this girl. They can continue to see each other at school and with all the technology these days they can text/Skype/etc. But if you're not comfortable with him going to her family functions don't let him go. Or compromise and let him go to an occasional dinner at their house and maybe invite the girl to an occasional dinner at yours. But no all day/multi day trips with her family. They've only been an item for a couple months, chances are by Christmas one or both of them will be 'in love' with someone else, especially if they don't get to spend much time together outside of school. Good luck and keep us posted!

Pam
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2009

Forbidding some thing only make the want for it increase. Forbidding is a terrible idea. People will always find a way to get what they want.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2009

Yes, eventually people have sex. 

I have to say, I disagree with a lot being said. I had a serious relationship when I was 14. We stayed together for two years. We are still friends.  My parents not wanting to include him in things made me want to be with him more to prove how much I loved him.  When they included him,  they did see how much we loved each other. It felt great to have parents that supported our decision instead of parents infantilizing me.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

Ditto to everything musiclover says.

While I think 14 is *probably* too young to date (certainly I think middle school is), if you're not going to forbid it, then for goodness' sake, be nice about it!  You can either forbid dating or you can allow it, but don't be angry with the girl your son chose if you allowed it. 

Your son chose a girl you yourself say is great, so what is the problem if her *family* wants to spend time with him?  What on earth is so weird about them liking him?  Doesn't that say a lot about what a nice kid your son is? 

Honestly, I'm scratching over my head about why you're so "creeped out" by them liking your son right away, or why you'd want them to try to scare the hell out of him.  If they're keeping him well within their sights by inviting him along with family events and outings, they're doing *exactly* what parents of teenage girls *should* do.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I don't know why you feel like that.  Why do you think you do?  Do you have other kids?  Is there a little jealousy that maybe Pete might like the other family more--I know I felt a little stupid jealousy of my kids' stepmother when my ex told me they were getting married, like maybe they would like her more than me since she wouldn't have to enforce rules or make them do their homework.

As far as kids not dating until they are ready to marry, I think that's kind of extreme.  Where I live the average of marriage is like 23-25.  Although I don't think it's good for kids to get serious too soon, even back when I was in high school in the 70's dating was common and our parents didn't expect us to get married any time soon.  But I do have several friends who got married to their high school sweethearts.  I just don't think it's realistic to expect kids to wait until they are out of high school to date when all their friends are dating, going to homecoming, proms, football games or whatever.  I'm sure there are some kids who would just as soon wait and avoid the social pressure.

And maybe Pete liked Kate because she was NOT agressive like the other girls.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009

Let me see if I can answer some of your questions, but keep in mind that none of us has all the knowledge you do about the situation and in my case my thoughts may be a bit biased because of the two teen romances I discussed earlier. 

You have a very big plus going for you in that both families appear to be stable nuclear families.  That is the case with all three families involved in our situation.   

I’m guessing that Pete is your only child because none other is mentioned.  And that really is not very significant either way to what I am about to say.  However, those parents with older children have a better understanding of these romantic things than those of us going through it the first time.  Both of the SILs have two older siblings that are several years older than they are.  Their parents had already been through the tumbler that knocked off a lot of rough edges on the parents and the older siblings.

When I try to make a joke, it is not meant mean spirited, but is part of my nature to see humor in life. 

I’ll start at the bottom.

Why do I feel these people are trying to steal my son?

Jokingly, I’m tempted to say something like, “OH NO, the secret is out, and you have discovered the secret plot of every parent of just girls to send their daughters out to bring home boys to fulfill the needs of their parents to have a son by stealing the sons of other hapless witless parents.”

Seriously, I doubt that they are trying to steal your son.  More likely they view your son as a good companion for their daughter.  Someone to spend time with and enjoy being with.  They do not view him as a sexual partner, near term spouse for their daughter, nor anything evil or bad. 

Most likely they view Pete as someone they feel they can trust not to take advantage of their daughter or break her heart.  And that is a compliment to him and you.

The dad jokes that with 3 daughters it’s nice to have a young man around, and I’m not sure how much of that is actually joking.

Relax, he’s joking.  This is another complement to your son.  He and his wife are probably using your son as an example of the type of young men that their daughters should be interested in spending time with. 

Also, he probably has some reservations and worries about things progressing to fast and too far  Much the same way as you do. He is using humor to defuse things.

I still don’t get what makes Kate different  . . . . . . . . . . . .  so, I can’t figure out just how she managed to catch his eye.

It’s obvious from what you describe that the two teens like each other. 

Spend a little time with her and you may get a clearer picture of what makes her different.

Also, spending a little time with her parents is valuable.  Go out to Costco or the mall for pizza and shopping with her mother.  You’ll get a much clearer picture of where Kate and her parents are coming from on a whole host of issues.  As parents, you can each express your concerns and discuss them.  My guess is that you will find that her parents’ thoughts are very much in line with yours.

Embedded in our DNA is the need for a relationship beyond that of parent and child, that with siblings, or non-romantic friendships (with friends of either sex).  I would argue that that is what has suddenly changed as he has matured and dare I say hormones are kicking in.  This is as natural and normal as the sun rising in the east each morning. 

That does not mean that either is looking for a lifetime mate in the other at this time. 

Something to keep in mind is that up until a hundred years ago the average age of marriage for boys was around 20 and the average age of marriage for girls was around 18. Prior to birth control, couples usually had a child the following year and several more quite quickly thereafter.  Formal education for most ended at 8th grade, if that late, and very few went to high school, much less college, and life expectance was about half of what it is now.  And puberty came a year or two later than it does now, so it was much easier to remain a virgin until marriage and “tell death do us part” was a much shorter period of time.

Uncomfortable facts that should be recognized and dealt with:

Another fact is that the average age of first sex is 16, which usually happens in one of the teen’s homes between when school lets out and the parents get home from work.  This does not mean your son and Kate will be in this group.

Now is the time for your hubby to have “THE TALK” with your son, which should be a continuing conversation, not a one-time lecture.  Having that ongoing conversation may help keep your son out of that group; it will not encourage him.  It is better that his father give him correct information than the guys in the locker room at high school who often give false information. 

Every teen (both male and female) should have the Hepatitis shot and the HPV Gardasil series, not as preparation for sexual activity, but for health reasons, just like we give them the polio shots. 

I had hope that someday a worthy girls parents will rejoice when she introduces him to them. Just not so soon.

Most couples introduce their dates to their parents long before things get real serious.  Most will introduce several dates to their parents before things ever get serious. Most parents want to meet the person their child is spending time with.

I think your husband is correct about teen romance being part of growing up.  And as others pointed out above, teen romances are extremely fragile.  Remind him of this fact, so that he can understand and cope better with things. 

Just because she introduced you and hubby to her grandparents as “my boyfriend’s parents” should not be given much weight.  Boyfriend has many meanings.  He is obviously more than some boy in the neighborhood.  Get concerned when she introduces you as “my finances parents” or “these are the parents of the boy I hope to marry.”  Just joking about that last sentence. LOL

At 15, he is more than halfway towards bring home a wife and grandchildren to visit the “old folks.”  And as parents we are not ever going to be ready for them to grow up or leave our nest, but that time comes quickly.  This wife is probably not going to be Kate. 

His wife will become #1 in his life as she should.  The fact that she is the center of his life does not mean he loves you and his father any less. Do it correctly and you truly do get a daughter in the bargain.  We got sons that we truly love as much as our daughters. 

I hope this makes some sense. 

Hugs,

Kimmy

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
One comment to the above - her dad might NOT be joking about it being nice to have a young man around - having one (an only) ds it is refreshing when his gf comes around as I finally have another female to talk to/side with/relate to, etc.!

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