Trust, distrust, too strict, not strict

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Trust, distrust, too strict, not strict
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 2:01pm
Well - here is my issue right now. I have a wonderful dd! 15 years old. I am so proud of her in so many ways - she is absolutely beautiful, very sweet, talented, loved by her peers and by the parents of her peers. I always get the most positive comments from the parents of her friends about her. She means everything to me.

Recently she has disappointed me. I am so hurt with what I recently found out. Her behavior was so out of character and I am affraid I will not be able to trust her anymore.

She recently spent a week at the beach w/ 3 g/fs supervised by me and my dh. We gave them what I felt to be a reasonable level of freedom. They were allowed to hang out on the beach at night with all the other kids and their friends until midnight. They were always very good about sticking to this. DD also kept me posted - calling in from a cell phone from time to time. During the day they hung out on the beach or walked to near by shopping and restaurants.

DD has a b/f who did not go to beach. After coming home from the beach this b/f broke up with her - the first day back at school. This as a shocker b/c he was madly in love w/ her. She could do no wrong in his eyes. He wrote her songs, showered her with true, sincere caring and affection. Everyone talked about how much in love he was w. her. My dd told his best friend that he broke up w. her and he was so totally stunned. Did not believe it. They had been going out for 6 months.

Well - I asked dd what happened. She claimed she did not know. Said it was probably just like how you know when u first start dating someone you are all crazy and excited about them - then you just get tired of the relationship. Well - this just did not make sense to me. I asked her if she did something at the beach that he heard about that mad him mad. She firmly said no!

OK - I snooped and saw an email from another x-b/f she had broken up with to go w/ this guy. Basically she and this x were in an agrument - something about her accusing him of betraying their friendship and him stating he did nothing wrong but she did - she betrayed her b/f and herself. She said she knew what she did was wrong and that she would have likely told this b/f b/c she would not be able to face him w. this in the back of her mind.

Now my curiosity is really getting the best of me. I grill my dd some more. (Not letting her know what I know). She continues to deny any wrong doing. She basically is blaming him saying how he will not even talk to her. By the way, the first day back from the beach, the b/f came over. They had a serious conversation in the back yard - I could sense the tone from afar. But later he was holding her in his arms. He left and everything seemed fine. I know now he already knew what she had done this day he was over and I know that she admitted it to him. I am guessing this x b/f I mentioned earlier told him.

So - I still do not know the whole story. But through a little sneakiness and invasion of privacy I learned what happened. Fortunately it did not involve drugs, sex or alcohol. But she did 'cheat' on the b/f by being w. another guy in terms of kissing, hugging, etc. She also did something else I am embarrased to say. Something not becoming of a lady and what I believe to be proper behavior.

My problem - how do I approach this with her w/o spilling the beans or her learning how I know what I know. My dh and I have always had talks w. her about what constitutes proper behavior and the difference between what we feel is right and wrong and morals, etc. So I do not think another generic talk is enough. She even talks about the poor behavior of some other girls - but some of the things she critcized them for doing I have now heard she has done. I am guessing this tactic is to keep me off course. I am concerned too b/c of the impact this may have on her reputation at school.

As I said, and I trully believe, this is not my dd's typical behavior. And I can tell by her emotions of late and behavior she is very concerned that she has made a mistake. But I feel I still somehow need to drill it home. And let her know I am on to her behavior. I have not talked to my dh about what I know. There is no doubt he would lock her in her room until she turned 21. He is very strict but is less informed on a lot of stuff with her or the kids in general than I am.

Why is it so hard raising teens? I would love to hear others thoughts on this.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 6:29pm
Do some of your dd's other friends ever talk to you or talk around you when they are together?

My dd's friends all often talked to me, around me, etc - as did their moms. My dd just assumed, if I told her I had heard something, that someone had told me. She also knew I wouldn't say specifically *who* said what unless there was a reason to do this.

Can you possibly sit her down and say that you have been hearing odd snippets of stories going around, be it from parents or other kids? I think the important thing you need to establish first is your reasons why you think you need to talk to her. These are sometimes the kinds of experiences our kids have to live through to learn lessons ... she sounds like she's already figured she's made a mistake so it's not like you need to 'correct' her, or ensure she understands how wrong and hurtful it is to cheat on someone. It's one of those lessons that once burnt, she will likely never repeat this mistake. Parenting would come into play more if you felt she hadn't learned anything and was launching herself on a road that led to further such behaviour ...

Maybe you want to tell her you trusted her. Are you prepared to go the full way of telling her even the part that embarrasses you to think she's done? Because kissing, holding someone's hand isn't that big a deal in and of itself; the rest of whatever happened is the bigger issue but how will you approach this? If you do need to talk to her, then it is broachable by simply saying that you've been hearing the odd thing around and it's enough to tell you that the bf broke up with her over something that happened when you were at the beach - and that alone tells *you* that something she did was inappropriate and something you had thought would not happen.

I might even wait for a little while. Let her emotions die down a bit. She has to handle stuff from friends and school ... having to handle something at home too right *now* might not be the time that will gain what you hope to achieve through talking to her. Just be sure you have what you DO hope to accomplish clear in your own mind before setting out on a conversation with her about this. Stick to what falls under 'parenting'. End it with ways that "empower' her to know she can deal with this, that mistakes happen and that you have trust that she will have the right attitude and take the steps she needs to take to rebuild the relationships in her life that have been touched by this.

I think it's hard to parent teens because we no longer get to decide everything for them; we spend 12 years getting to decide everything without a great deal of thought. We get to prevent most scenarios that would hurt them. We get to veto most of what they watch and listen to. When they become a teen, they truly do have private lives and are beings separate from us and beings who are actively trying TO separate from us. Fun ;-) ... but incredibly great too :-)))

Good luck nccmom. It's not easy. First just clarify the whole thing in *your* mind, decide what IS under the role of parental intervention and what isn't and then make a decision. I'm sure it'll work out just fine. HUGS.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 11:15am
Thanks for the feedback. I will wait a little while and probably tell dd I had heard about this through another parent but not tell her who. I also learned the b/f said he still loved her - but it was not the same. He also said he was afraid she was going to get over him and start dating someone else and that he does not understand if she still loves him as she says she does - why she will not even look at him at school. Well my dd is difficult for me to read so I am sure he is having a tough time. DD is blaming him for not talking to her. Time will tell and they will have to work this out.

And yes - I am certain my dd knows what she did was wrong. I just want to coach her on how to fix a bad situation and not hurt him or anyone else anymore. Is that stepping beyond my parenting role?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 2:44pm
Well ... let me respond by a question :-)

If you had done something as she had, would you have gained anything from your parent (a) knowing and (b) offering you advice on how to not do this again? Would your parent approaching *you* on this be more uncomfortable or would it have been a relief?

I know you want to help. I learned w/my dd that the times I wanted to help in these kinds of ways that the help was not wanted. Had she *asked* me, it would have been different but she didn't. My dd didn't 'cheat' on someone but when she and her bf broke up that time a few years ago, she kept trying to place herself whereever he would be, keep up talking to him and he was trying to extricate himself. I tried talking to her about this, about how the more she tried when he didn't want her to try, that it would push him away further and she'd end up more hurt. I wanted to protect her too. But it didn't help. And it caused her to feel worse, esp when I was right and so on top of everything else, I was right, and she was still pushed away. Of course they are back together again and things are different *now*, but at the time this was not welcome. And in the end? Nothing I said to her helped anyway. It was still something she had to go through and figure out on her own. Then she dated her 2nd long term bf for awhile, and now, 2.5 years later, he STILL calls me - or tries (he's not allowed to); got a job where she goes all the time. When she tried to tell him she needed time to sort out how she felt he wouldn't give her that time. He called her incessantly and showed up at her work, so afraid she would leave for good - which had the exact effect I'd talked about before. So she learned it the hard way the first time and she learned this lesson again from the other perspective too. Life does have its ways of teaching things we don't have the same power to teach.

You say you want to tell her how not to hurt him, but he's already been hurt. SHe knows this too, even tho she's blaming him for not talking to her. She's going to feel bad but is going to try to find ways to throw you off of *why* he's not talking to her. She might not be saying the same blame story to those who *know*. And if she is, she's still trying to not deal with this. But in the end, she will have no option BUT to deal with it. At most, next time she tells you that it's his fault they aren't talking, I'd likely say something like, 'There's always two sides to every story. And because he is not the kind of kid who would just go from treating you the way he did to not talking to you without a good reason, I know there has to be SOMETHING - a piece missing - here. So ... my advice is to find out what that is honey, and deal with it. And remember that we all can make mistakes but we need to learn to take responsibility for when we DO - when we do that, it also helps the people we might hurt along the way to feel less hurt." She will be mad if you say this, so say it only if you think she's refusing to accept responsibility. I think teaching our kids to accept responsibility is part of parenting, esp if they involve us by trying to convince us that there is nothing they've done to deserve something happening. If she gets mad, says there's nothing, just listen, and just say again, 'I still think you need to find out *why* he's not talking to you suddenly; people do not behave erratically for no reason. Nearly everyone has a 'pattern' that fits their character and this does not fit. So even IF whatever this IS isn't 'terrible', even IF it turns out to be just his 'perception' of something, you can still tell him the truth of it, or you can apologize and tell him you wish he'd never been hurt and that you wish you could do whatever it is over again and differently but that it's done, and all you can do is say you're sorry, ask his forgiveness, and let him go ... when we *deal* with a problem, our conscience is then clear, lessons are learned and life goes on." And stick to it, bceause from what you've written, this is the truth of the kid in question. And you don't even need to let your dd know that you know what has happened. But don't take this further. For one thing, just because the boy is the one wronged, it won't help anything at all for her to feel you are backing HIM over her - which is more of what I think would come across if you did tell her what you've heard/learned. I hope that made sense.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 6:18pm
Thanks for the input. YOu know - as much as I hate it, I really think a big part of this has to do with the b/f from before that we had talked so extensively about. He and dd keep crossing paths. I was hopeful that this terrific kid would help her move on. Don't recall if I mentioned - the boy from the past was also at the beach when we were there. He had talked to dd on line prior saying they should hang out at the beach. Then he called her first night we were there. 3rd night her and her friends hung out with him and his friends. I asked if anything happened - if he had made a move on her like last time they were together. She said no b/c they both have b/f & g/f. He just asked if she still liked him. She just resonded with something like 'that was random.' and 'why?' then the conversation got diverted by others in the group.

Later on I was chatting with her - asked her a Q about something that was going on that night and she said she did not know - she was too busy looking at the x b/f. So see, I think her past is preventing her from moving on and feeling anything close to what she felt b/f. I am sure (or strongly hope) that one day that will happen - either they will get back together as was the case w/ your dd or she will find someone who can truly make her forget him. Or what would also be good I think is if she does like she said to me several days ago - she wants to be free for while. Does not want to go out w/ anyone on an exclusive basis.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 10:40pm
That's very possible. And she's still just 15. Better that NOTHING life-lasting happens yet for a while to come ;-) 15 is too young. I think 16.5 is too (when my dd & her bf got back together). We just don't have the power to decide that FOR them however. Feelings happen in spite of parents' best efforts.

My dd did a couple of completely-out-of-character things in the intervening years she and her bf were apart, both when she was 15, too. And I think both were kind of tied into her past too, and just perhaps efforts to shake it free from her. She also went thru a period of time where she preferred just being single, esp when the guy she did date for a lengthy time was making it known he wanted to go out with her as opposed to just being friends. I wish they HAD just stayed friends.

Anyway. She'll be fine. And what will come, whatever it may be, will come. Just encourage her to grow on her own for awhile :-) That is the best thing my dd did and I am sooo glad for even those two years.

Take care nccmom :-)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 8:31am
I'm new here. Hope you don't mind me adding my 2 cents. I have a 17 y/o son, and 2 stepsons who are 15 and 13, so my house is filled with teenagers, and testosterone. ;-) They are a handful.

My thoughts about the situation with your daughter is that you may be making more out of it than you need to. While you hate to think of your daughter as possibly 'betraying' a friend, she's only 15. She has a lot to learn about life and love. She may go through many bf's before she's done. She'll break a few hearts and have hers broken a few times, as well. It's all part of growing up. It may also be that this bf she has now is smothering her. He sounds like he might be a bit too caring. Maybe he's getting too close and it's making your daughter uncomfortable.

From what you've written about your daughter, you have a child to be extremely proud of. Don't look for trouble where there may not be any. Give her the space to explore different types of relationships and people. At 15, 6 months with the same boy is a long time. Don't give her the idea that boys and dating are the most important things in her life. While you don't want her to treat people badly, she still has a long way to go before she can make mature decisions about relationships.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 9:44am
Thanks for you input. It is good to have another view. You made some very good points - particularly the point about me making too much out of it and him smoothering her. I know that he did and she had wanted to take a break one time earlier. She could not do it because she did not want to lose him. Although she is young, she is pretty mature for age - in relation to many of her peers. And she has had 3 long term b/fs so far. One lasted for 1.5 years. This b/f made it clear that he wanted them to be together all through high school. Shortly after the break up she told me she was looking forward to being free for a while - although I knew she was really still hurting. But I think it would be good for her to be no b/f for a little while. It is just hurting her and so it is hurting me. And she is taking a lot of heat for this and some other things that happened from kids at school.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 2:38pm
I have to agree with this poster. At 15, no matter how 'mature' a child seems, they are still, well, 15! If she has already had 3 long-term boyfriends, one for 1.5 years she must have started dating when she was 12 or so! I think she just needs time to have fun, be a kid, and giggle over boys! I'm not sure the number of long-term boyfriends is an indication of maturity - I have a 15yo ds who is very mature but since he's not really even allowed to date yet he's not had any long-term girlfriends.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 3:21pm
Just to clarify. I was not implying that the fact that she had 3 longtime b/fs was an indication of her maturity. I think the fact that these relationships lasted longer than most, are indicative of her ability to relate to boys and people in general. I am referring to her behavior in other ways. For example, she is not 'catty' like so many girls her age. She is not vindictive and deceitful like so many kids. She has the ability to carry on a conversation with many adults and kids alike. Many parents have told her friends how much they like her because she 'talks' to them - most teens their age avoid any real conversation with friends parents. She has had longterm relationships with b/fs and g/fs alike. She does not tend to cast friends aside too easily and displays loyalty towards those friendships. If you have ever read Queen Bees and Wannabees - you will see what I mean about the type of teenager who does not have this kind of realism or honesty in their friendships.

She still clearly shows me her age too. We have to stay on top of her to get her chores done, check up on her on school work (although this has improved greatly this year), she still fights with her younger brother, can act really silly sometimes, and has made some poor decisions that shows us she is mature in a lot of ways but still has a lot of growing up to do. But when compared to other kids her age, she definitely comes across as the more mature in most instances.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 4:58pm
I'll start off by saying that I think you should tell your daugher what you know. That may be the only way she will confide in you what is going on, which you obveously want. Also, it is just plain a matter of honesty.

Now, it seems that you have for the most part a really great daughter. It also sounds like she learned her lesson. Everyone makes mistakes, and maybe it is better she made hers early and learned from it now. Lets face it, it could be much worse, she didn't sleep with the guy. Just chill out and tell your daughter what you know and talk to her about it. If you don't feel comforatable telling her what you know happened, then just let it go, chances are she won't make the same mistake twice.