Forced Breakup

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2003
Forced Breakup
11
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 2:52pm

I made my 17 year old daughter break up with her 16 year old boyfriend after a year and a few months...I always knew he was bad news...After reading some vulgar text messages between them I decided that this was heading in the wrong direction i.e. he smokes pots and drinks alcohol none of which my daughter does...Now my daughter and I are in an all out war with each other because she thinks I am wrong and I should listen to her and give him another chance and I will not do that...Please help and give me some advice on where do I go from here...I will have to regain her trust but for now she thinks Im an evil witch...HELP!!!

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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 7:04pm

Just wondering, did you talk to your dd about the pros and cons of the relationship before issuing the decree? How is it that you were reading her texts? And, if she's been dating him for over a year and hasn't yet joined him in drug or alcohol use, why is it now a problem? And how exactly will you enforce her never seeing him again?

I understand that you don't want your kid exposed to bad influences, none of us do, but they are around them on a regular basis. If your dd was coming home from dates stoned or drunk then I would agree that you needed to step in. But the fact that your dd hasn't gotten involved in problem behaviors says a lot about her. Maybe the boy has some good qualities that she really likes and is encouraging; and she could end up being a good influence on him, instead of him corrupting her.

I suppose that you realize that you risk a lot of backlash. Your dd could decide that since you're treating her like she's "bad" she may as well BE bad. Or maybe she starts lying and sneaking to see him without your knowledge. Or maybe the next bf makes this guy look like Mr Goody Two Shoes. I'm not saying that you cannot discipline your teen or do anything she doesn't like, for fear of her reaction. But most teens have a pretty good sense of fairness, and can accept a fair punishment. 

Your dd is old enough that what you did says that you do not trust her. If she has not done anything to lose your trust (except be in like or love with a boy that you don't trust) then she is understandably offended. Since you are adamant that you will not change your mind and give the boy "another chance" then its probably a matter of time until your dd forgives you and trusts you again...but it could be a very long time. If upon reflection you decide that you were too heavy handed then admit your mistake to your dd and apologize. Discuss your concerns and fears and brainstorm ways that you can feel comfortable with her dating him. For a parent to admit that she could be wrong and then to have an adult conversation about the problems, can go a long way to rebuilding respect and trust.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2003
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 7:44pm

We have talked about the pros and cons of this relationship several time...Some time last year when she was 16 they had sex and I found out about it and was not pleased at all...That is when I found out through his own admission that he smoked pot...I told him that in order to continue seeing my daughter he would have to quit that because if he gets caught with that and she is with him they both go to jail and Im not coming get her...

I was resetting one of her old iphones to give to my father when I noticed her text messages still on there so I opened it up and read...I pay the bill and have always trusted her not to send inappropriate things via text message or any other social media...Low and behold there were several messages in reference to sex and other things...She isnt allowed to go to his house since last year when the sex occurred and he only comes to my house so I know there arent having sex here...When confronted she couldnt promise me that there were inappropriate photos on there as well...I didnt dare look because I dont want to see...But there were text messages from him saying he was so high that he couldnt barely move and so on and so forth...So that in my book is a bold face lie especially when he has assured me on several occassions that he quit...

She doesnt leave the house very often unless she is with me and if she chooses to see him behind my back she will suffer the consequences...Once she turns 18 she can do and see whoever she chooses but she can get a job and move out because she wont be doing it under my roof while I am paying for her college...

We go to church on Wednesdays and Sundays and she knows that what she is doing is wrong because she has made mention about other people doing these things and how dumb it is...I do believe he has her brainwashed into thinking he is so awesome...

It would be nice to think that my daughter was a good influence on him because she doesnt participate in those things but if she was such a good influence it wouldnt still be going on...

This is the last straw because I have already given several chances for him to get it right with me and he chose to lie to me over and over again...I dont condone this behavior and I wont allow my daughter to date someone who thinks its acceptable...I dont personally care if shes doing it or now...Its illegal end of story...

Im aware that she doesnt think it is fair but the reality is that life isnt fair and unfortunately if you live by the ways of God he provides his will...I am a 37 and a single mother with no outside help...I am not denying the fact that I was once her age and not too much farther down the road I was pregnant for her because I made bad decisions in my life and I have suffered for them greatly ever since...I dont regret having my daughter but just stating the facts...She has seen me struggle immensly...She knows what we have been through as a family and how it feels to have a father who doesnt care about her...

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 11:54pm

Dear mivincent26,

Welcome to our corner of the village and gentle hugs to you.

I have very little BTDT experience with having a child with substance use issues because the guys our girls started hanging with/dating in junior high, and married, both had substance abuse issues in their families that they did not care to have personal experience with. Youngest SIL has a grandfather, father, and brother who are all members of AA in good standing. (Lest it sound like these families are losers, they are not, and hubby and I would pick both families to be our daughter’s in-laws every day of the week and twice on Sundays.)

(In the interest of disclosure, we are now three plus years into two teen marriages that are looking mighty good, but the final verdict will not be in for another five decades. Hubby and I live with the two couples in a modest 1,500 square feet three bedroom home with a garage converted into two more bedrooms. The two couples are well ahead of the pack schooling wise. We were planning the weddings when youngest couple oppsed with the birth control. They have blessed us with two grandsons, with another baby is on the way. Like William and Kate they choose not to know the sex ahead of delivery. I would like a little girl, if You’re listening Lord? And yes all six parents worry about these teen marriages. Worry is a big part of being a parent. A couple of years ago, I asked my mom when she stopped worrying about my siblings and me. She answered, “I’ll let you know when I do.”)

Personally, my “drug of choice” as a teen (starting at 16) and college student was the old “screwdriver” which led to activities that caused me lots of problems, some that will be with me for the rest of my life, and others that took hubby and me a decade of marriage to work our way through. Not a good path to have followed. So I do understand your concern for what is best four your daughter. (Lest it sound like our life sucks, it does not, and hubby and I are so blessed and happy. We found that there can be light at the end of the dark tunnel.)

I’m guessing your DD is a senior next year and BF is a junior next year.

I personally think all is fair in love, war, and ESPECIALLY PARENTING. I probably would never let the kid know I was “sneaking a peek” because they will be more careful in the future about giving you the chance to do so. (As a side note, sometimes parenting can feel more like war than love. LOL)

Sometimes, as a parent, you do have to be the evil witch, (as in “I’ll get you my little pretty” from the Wizard of Oz). However, it is a good idea to treat the kids with the respect of hearing them out and hearing their view of things; asking questions as you listen and explaining what you see as troubling or flat out disturbing. Drug’s at any age and screwdrivers (or whatever) at 16 and 17 would be on the list of my troubling or flat out disturbing.

At 17, the “cake is close to being baked” and, for good or bad, your daughter is close to having complete control over her life, over choices, with the ability to make poor choices. (Ain’t that scary?) You want to try to stay in the loop of the people she discusses things with, if that is possible, and that does not mean caving or approving.

As somebody posted a few weeks or months ago, “For teens, love is often a state of mind.” Who knows what she sees in this guy, but I would try to find out. I’d be asking where he is headed and what he is doing to get there? And, how substance use is going to help him, her, and their future children they are going to have? (And those will be my grandchildren so it is of interest to me that their dad not be a pothead or the town drunk. Not that it is particularly relevant, but the Boston Marathon bombers were potheads.)

I’d have this same type of conversation with the BF. Hubby and I and the parents of the guys, had many of these types of long conversations with our two couples.

I’d also get to know his parents very very well. We did that early on.

As long as you’re talking, you’re making progress, even though it may not seem that way.

NOW, HAVING READ YOUR SECOND POSTING, I see that you have been having these long conversations for some time with them. This is also a long term pattern that he appears to not be willing to change. I would continue discussions, nightly if necessary. And I would be asking both of them more pointed questions about where they see themselves separately, and as a couple, in one year, five years, ten years, twenty years, and . . . ? Both of them should want a relationship that goes the distance with a mate who will be there when they are needed and with what is needed.

As I alluded to above, hubby and I were two really screwed up people when we married, but one thing we had going for us were two sets of parents who were good examples of the Elizabeth Barrett Browning words, “come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” Hubby and I are getting closer every day to claiming those words—including the OLD word.

Both of our couples attend classes four evenings a week, fall, spring and summer and each of the four works 16 hours per week--A very busy schedule indeed. The three sets of parents continue to drop into each couple the amount of money that they would have if the couples were single and living at home. We call it the parental scholarship program, and like you, none of us would be dropping that money into potheads and beer bashes. Better to save the money for her use at a future time, if that is what is going to happen in the here and now.

Let them know that the reason for your concerned is that you love them BOTH. (Yes, I said both of them. CHRIST loved the sinners, and came to seek the lost. Saint Augustine, named after a city in Florida, or vise versa, lived a very profligate life before his conversion. At the end of his life he said, I know Augustine to be a great sinner.) And love does not mean you let them do as they please and mess up their lives and the lives of your grandchildren.

I hope this ramble of mine is of some value to you and yours.

Love,

Kimmy

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 11:16am

I do agree with you that I wouldn't want my teenager to be dating someone who smoked pot.  To be honest, my DD (who is now a 24 yr old nurse and got through both high school & college with good grades and really not many problems for me) did use alcohol in high school and I knew about it and probably did nothing to stop it.  Maybe I was just lazy but I didnt' want to be one of those parents who was like a detective following her every move.  The big thing for me was that I didn't want her driving drunk and killing herself or someone else so we did agree if she was going to be drinking--no driving.  There was probably a big "don't ask don't tell" policy going on at home about what she was doing sometimes.  Maybe it was dumb on my part, I don't know but she seems to have survived.  I wouldn't go so far as to let kids have an alcohol party at my house and I also told her that she was the one taking the risk if she was going to be arrested for being a minor in possession or something like that.  I think her friends had enough sense not to have these big drunken parties where the police are called.

Well that diverted a lot of what I was going to say.  I think at 17 (almost an adult) it's very difficult to keep control of everything your teen is doing and it puts you in a bad position because what happens when she turns 18 and does go to college?  Are you going to allow her to go to college and live away from home?  i've jujst seen so many kids (even back when I was in college) who were so closely supervised at home that when they went to college they just went crazy and did all kinds of things their parents didn't approve of.  My parents were kind of strict but not oppressive so I didn't really feel the need to go crazy just to rebel against them.  Of course I was just never interested in using drugs even though sometimes I had roommates who smoked pot.  so you might be able to keep her away from pot smoking BF now, but you can't keep her away from every pot smoking friend or drinking friend in college.

And you say that she can't go to his house and they don't have sex in your house while you are watching them, but does she go to school?  Do you pick her up immediately after school?  Believe me, if they have had sex and if she liked it, and she is sending him sexy text messages and photos, I'd be 95% sure they are still having some kind of sexual activity & I'd be bringing her to the doctor to get some birth control.  My DD was in college when she asked for BC and it's not that I was thrilled but if she was going to have sex, I'd much rather that she not get pregnant on top of that.  I think that once kids have sex, it's very difficult to convince them to go back to not having it, unless it's the kids' own idea, like she really regretted doing it--they aren't going to stop having sex because Mom thinks it's wrong.

I remember having a talk w/ my DD before she went to college about the fact that the reason that I talked WITH her a lot and not AT her (like my 2nd DH did w/ his DD, who was one year younger than my DD) is that if the parents make all the decisions for teens, then when they are on their own, they have no ability to make good decisions by themselves.  They should want to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, not because a parent is standing over them and they might get punished.  So when my kids were talking about doing something I mgiht not approve of (or maybe had already done it) they knew they could always talk to me about it because (in their words) I wouldn't "have a fit."  I'd always stay calm outwardly and just talk about it and give my opinion about why I don't think something is a good idea and maybe the bad consequences that could happen about it--but ultimately they have to make their own decisions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 6:00pm

<p>Musiclover said:</p><p>Are you going to allow her to go to college and live away from home?&nbsp; i've jujst seen so many kids (even back when I was in college) who were so closely supervised at home that when they went to college they just went crazy and did all kinds of things their parents didn't approve of.&nbsp; My parents were kind of strict but not oppressive so I didn't really feel the need to go crazy just to rebel against them.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

OK Musiclover, did we go to the same college by chance and you observed me? LOL Hubby and I were the wilder ones in our family and that was not good for us. However, we were lucky or smart enough to not DUI or get in cars with a drunk driver.

It is my opinion that If the teen is going to drink in college, I think it’s better that the teen learn the effects of drinking and the number of drinks that get them to certain levels of drunk in the home living room with parental supervision, rather than a frat house kegger where they may die from excessive consumption. This happens quite often.

Mivincent26, Musiclover made a lot of good points that I would also make about sexual activity and when you as a parent do have to turn loose on the controls. Your DD is getting close to that point and that is truly scary. And sometimes as a parent you do have to stand by and be ready to help them pick up the pieces when they crash and that is painful for them and you.

The problem with alcohol and pot use by the BF at 15 or 16 is that these are gateways into further experimentation into the harder drugs as he ages, like meth, cocaine, crack, etcetera. My sister and I have cousins of our generation of cousins with kids whose lives have been ruined by meth. None of them intended on being addicts, in and out of rehab and jail.

I’m guessing that these types of things are what you are concerned with and they are what I would stress to both my daughter and the BF. They should both be able to grasp that the path he is on does not lead to good things. DD is this the life you want???? DD this is not what I want for either you or this BF and that is the reason for my actions.

I’d also be taking BF to Church with me and the DD. In the extended group of my parent’s friends is a gentlemen who was a wild drinker when he asked for a date with a pretty girl. She invited him to Church. He said something about having no one to sit with when she said, “I will sit with you.” He went as he was that afternoon—drunk. Over time he was changed and gave up the old life. It was life changing for them both. They had a son and a daughter about my age. Maybe this will happen to the BF. Stranger things have occurred more than once..

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
In reply to: elc11
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 7:25pm

My ds said the same thing about the kids going wild at college--"the ones who didn't get to do anything while in HS wanted to do everything when there was no parent nearby"---his observation. I was lucky with him in HS, he didn't even try to do much stuff so us parents trying to control him wasn't a big issue. But when he got on his own at college he went a little bit wild but was able to get it together in time to finish the freshman year with good grades. Some of his dorm mates weren't so lucky and were kicked out for poor grades or their parents cut them off when they figured out what was going on. 

IMO most older teens will not be "led astray" if they don't want to be. Meaning that if they're against drinking they usually won't hang out with the party crowd etc, they'll look for friends with the same interests and values. And if they want to have certain kinds of friends they will manage to find them regardless of parent's rules. 

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 3:38am

I'm not sure forcing a break-up is an answer. She's 17. I think this is a good set-up for her to bolt when she's 18 or go underground with more risky behaviors. You know they've been sexually active, why would you be surprised with the texts? You know he was taking drugs before... did you really think he was giving them up for his girlfriend's mother? Why force the break-up now when really, none of this is new. 

I feel your best bet is to focus less on the boyfriend and instead build up your DD's confidence. Get her involved in something she can feel good about... volunteer work, a job, an activity. If she's just going to school and hanging out with you at the house, where is she going to meet anyone better (I assume she's already established disinterest in the other boys at school.)  What will she have in common with the sorts of boys you'd rather have her dating? If this boy is her only social life then a forced break-up is going to be horribly crushing.

For what it's worth, my DH was a pot smoker and drinking when I first met him at 21. I know he also did those things in high school (despite 12 years of Catholic schooling... his mom STILL thinks he and his friends were all these "good" boys.) He was also a caring person and a hard worker. When we met, he knew how I felt about it and he stopped. Most kids do outgrow the partying when they replace those crutches with better and more interesting things.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 12:54pm

I know this is rough for you, especially when your child is hanging out with someone who seems so bad for her, but at this age, issuing ultimatums just doesn't work. She'll either openly rebel or, worse, pretend she's not rebelling and lie about it.

It sounds like she's chosen to have conflict with you, which is good, because you can work with that. A lukewarm liar would be much harder to deal with because you wouldn't know what was going on. You're going to need to listen to her for a while. Ask her in a nonconfrontational way why she likes this boy. Does he make her feel good about herself? Does she like herself better when she's with him? Just listen without judging.

Your goal is to help her realize he's not good for her and to see that for herself. But if you just insist that she cut him off, she's going to spend her energy and insight finding ways to defend him rather than on seeing how he impacts her. If this were my daughter, I'd have her invite the boyfriend over all the time for family dinners, outings to the beach, etc. just to keep my eye on them. Once your DD sees you're not treating her BF as an enemy, you may find you have more influence on her. The very last thing you want is for her to cut you off and sneak out behind your back.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 2:28pm

I realize that her dad left the burden of parenting to you, but what's coming through loud and clear in your post is "It's my way or the highway."  Statements such as " if he gets caught with that and she is with him they both go to jail and Im not coming get her..." and "Once she turns 18 she can do and see whoever she chooses but she can get a job and move out because she wont be doing it under my roof while I am paying for her college..." - well, that's tough love all right.  Hardly the unconditional love that most teens need to feel confident in life, because they know they can trust their parents to always be there for them.  What you've told her is that you'll take care of her only if she behaves the way you want her to, and you won't be there for her when things go wrong.  Make a mistake?  Tough, I'm not bailing you out.  Screw up on college?  Go get your own place.

I know raising a kid is tough, and raising a kid on your own is even tougher.  But saying "do it my way or leave the house" is going to result in one thing:  a kid on her own leaving your house as soon as she possibly can.  And good luck then having an ongoing relationship.  An 18yo may have some legal rights, but she is NOT an adult.  You should know that, having made some decisions you regretted when you were a few years older.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 9:54pm

"...She doesnt leave the house very often unless she is with me..."

"...We go to church on Wednesdays and Sundays..."

"...I was resetting one of her old iphones ... when I noticed her text messages still on there so I opened it up and read...I pay the bill..."

The lack of trust and severe dysfunction in your relationship with your child is at the root of her rebellion.  This degree of control is ridiculous for a 17yo kid, unless they had psychiatric problems or were addicts. 

My dds both have emotional dosorders, but by 17, after years of giving them enough room to develop maturity and to learn from choices that weren't the best, but were not life altering, they were well on their way to independence.  They had jobs, friends, cars and cell phones THEY SUPPORTED.  They were heavily involved in extracurricular and volunteer activities, kept decent grades and were aware of what was required to be college bound.  They made their own choices about church, and religion.  We trusted the foundation we'd given them would carry them thru the rough spots.  But we also paid attention.  Trust, but verify.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But there IS something wrong if you have your 17yo chained to your hip.

And then there's this:

"...I told him that in order to continue seeing my daughter he would have to quit that..."

"...I have already given several chances for him to get it right with me...". 

The boy is NOT YOUR BUSINESS.  You have NO RIGHT to tell that child what to do, or not do.  He is NOT your child.  The only child you have a right to have a discussion with, is YOUR OWN.  Tell her you disapprove of his lifestyle and his choices.  Tell her you fear for her hanging around with people who make choices like he does.  And trust--or hope--that your life of teaching HER to make good choices has born fruit.  BUT DO NOT TALK TO HIM.  Let him make his own choices.  Let your daughter make hers.

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