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Teens and Dating

Mar04

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Alternate titles I considered for this post: Why I Still Practice My Lamaze Breathing. Why I Often Need A Stiff Drink. Why I Sit on My Front Porch Fondling My Shotgun. Why you Should Lock Up Your Toddlers Now.

When my kids were younger and the subject of them dating would come up I would say that I wasn’t going to allow dating until they were married. I was only somewhat joking.

My only experiences thus far in the teenage world of dating has been as the mother of boys. My daughter, at age seven, is still far too young. THANK GOD. And my hope is that having six brothers takes the mystery out of boys and that she won’t want to date, knowing that they are gross, farting, burping, smelly creatures. Either that or her brothers will scare off any boy that dares to come near her. What? If that is wrong I don’t want to be right.

Typically we think of boys as being the aggressors in dating situations. They are the ones pressuring the girls to go further. Remember the tv show The Facts of Life when Blair was in the back of a van with a boy who was trying to force himself onto her, that was the message I grew up with. I had watched that show, all the while cringing with embarrassment, with my mother, who told me that was the reason you always made sure you had a dime with you. So you could use a pay phone to call for a ride and a get away from the boy.

Times have changed.

And not just because our children have no idea what a pay phone is. More and more as I witness the teen boy-girl relationships I am surprised at how aggressive the girls seem to have become, compared to what I remember  when I was a teenager. One son was dating a girl for a short time who said that for Christmas she didn’t want a present. Nope all she wanted was him. Yes, that means what you think it can not possibly mean. After I recovered from my shock and fantasies of driving over to her house and breaking both of her legs in the hopes that she’d be encased in a full body cast and therefore desiring a more appropriate present, my son revealed that he just wasn’t interested in doing that with her. Yet. I’ll admit the word yet made me die a little inside.

They broke up soon after.  Upon hearing the news I think I managed not to do a fist pump in the air until I was in the next room alone.

In talking with my friends who are also mothers of teenage boys, this is not uncommon. Every single one of them has stories of girls being the pushy and demanding ones, not just in a sexual way, but in a controlling, bordering on stalking way.  One mother told me of the explicit text messages her son was receiving from a girl at all hours of the night. Admittedly I am not friends with anyone who has teenage girls,  for all I know they see boys behaving in the exact same manner.  I don’t think it is acceptable behavior for either sex.

My 13 year old son had a girlfriend for a few months, let’s call her Glenn. Not because that is her name but because she morphed into the character Glenn Close played in Fatal Attraction. I use the term girlfriend loosely because really they did very little together outside of school. I liked her a lot, at first. She was smart and I would overhear my son talking to her on the phone every day and he was happy. But I began to notice a change.

What is the line when a parent should intervene? At first the constant phone calls seemed harmless. Along the lines of, “Oh that’s so cute how smitten she is!” Then they reached the place of being intrusive. Glenn would yell at my other kids if they answered the phone and didn’t immediately disclose his whereabouts.

I noticed that my son was apologizing on the phone a lot. I asked him about this and he said that Glenn was always mad at him and he had no idea why.

She would call my cellphone looking for him, even though she had been told repeatedly not to call my phone. She would call my other sons. One of my sons was forced to turn his phone off after she called 12 times in less than an hour. We began joking that we needed to hide the bunnies!

I worried about it and wondered what I should say to him. I didn’t want to forbid the relationship thereby making it seem even more enticing. But I also didn’t want to let it slip by, for my son to think that this is what relationships are like. In this area I suppose it helped that his siblings kept telling him that his girlfriend was mean and sort of scary; at least I wasn’t the only one.

The final straw came when I picked him up from school one day and saw Glenn scowling standing with her back deliberately turned to my son. He said goodbye and she didn’t even acknowledge him.

What was that about?
Oh, nothing she’s just mad at me. Again.
Why? Did you have a disagreement about something?
No. I was supposed to meet her afterschool by the back door, but I was late.
Oh?
I had to talk to one of my teachers. I was only five minutes late. Now she won’t even talk to me.
What do you think?
I don’t know. I can’t do anything right.

My 9 year old pipes up from the back of the van,
Man, you have to dump. that. girl.

My teenager sighed and looked out the window.

We hadn’t even pulled out of the school driveway when my phone rang. It was Glenn.

She screamed at me to put him on the phone. I would not tolerate my own children talking to me in such a disrespectful manner and I certainly would not take it from one of their friends. I told her as much and hung up. Then I ignored the next 8 calls from her as we drove the 2 miles home.

I was going to have to call Glenn’s mother. This was beyond the boundary of normal behavior. It was over the top crazy.

My son called her when we got home and “broke up” with her. He basically told her that she was not nice and he didn’t really like her anymore. Glenn didn’t take it well.

I have been closely monitoring to see if Glenn continues her controlling and mean ways. So far my son says she isn’t bothering him and the phone records support this. I haven’t called her mother, but wonder if I still should. I would want to know if my child was behaving that way. At least I think I would.

What do you think about teen dating? Has it really changed in the past couple of decades? Or is it just my vantage point that has changed? If I had teenage daughters would I be seeing it from a completely different perspective?

About the author

Chris Jordan

http://notesfromthetrenches.com
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.


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41 Responses to “Teens and Dating”

  1. Melissa Mar 04 at 7:01 pm Reply Reply

    Um..wow. I have three boys and you just scared the crap out of me. My oldest is 11 so we haven’t hit the girlfriend thing yet. I think I would have called the mother after the constant calling and nasty behavior to siblings.

  2. Carrie Mar 04 at 8:28 pm Reply Reply

    I have 3 daughters and 2 sons.  Oldest is 26, youngest is 10 for perspective.  This isn’t an issue about boys vs. girls.  There are plenty of domineering boys out there too – you just happen to have a son with this issue.  

    I honestly don’t think speaking to the parents of the girl would matter one hill of beans.  It doesn’t appear they are watchful of her behaviors and most likely wouldn’t be kindly to you for pointing out their failings.  Good job to you for taking the back seat while your son figured it out on his own.  You’re a very good mother.

  3. Yve Mar 04 at 8:50 pm Reply Reply

    I heard about those girls from my girl and thought she was over-exaggerating, then my boy got a bit older and suddenly not only were they real- they were texting him at midnight!

    Sad because these girls are so dominant (and scary) I feel that my son never even sees those sweet girls who i would MUCH prefer him to date!

    Scary scary, things once got so intense that i did call the parents- and they were much more inclined to believe that my big scruffy rugby player was the monster, not their sweet princess. (and suggested maybe he should be polite and return her calls, instead of complaining to me about them!)

  4. Katherine @ Grass Stains Mar 04 at 10:07 pm Reply Reply

    Chris, as always, I find your post so compelling. I’m several years behind you in terms of the dating thing, as my three boys are 8, 6 and 3 now (and we have a baby on the way). But I’m already petrified of what’s coming … and the behavior you detail in this post is part of the reason why. I’m 37, and when I was younger and began to date, that kind of behavior would have seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie to me. My parents — and the parents of the boys I dated — would NEVER have tolerated it.

    I DO believe you should approach the young woman’s parents, because if I were they, I would want to know. They may take it poorly, but I think you’ll feel better having done it, and you never know. Maybe it will make a difference and change the course of the young woman’s life. (I’m purposefully referring to her as a “young woman” instead of a “girl,” because that’s what she is. She’s not 6, and she needs to learn how to behave like a responsible adult. That’s my two cents!

  5. Ashley Mar 04 at 10:18 pm Reply Reply

    Um, Glenn acts that way because that’s probably how mom treats dad. Dad can’t do anything right, and mom gives him the cold shoulder. So sad. Your son made a good choice.

  6. Natalie Mar 04 at 10:29 pm Reply Reply

    I can’t wait to read everyone’s responses. My oldest is 11 and just now his first girlfriend, which is way too soon for me, but I’m pretty unsure as to how to stop it, or if I should. At a school event, she asked him if he wanted to kiss. He said yes. Last week she invited him to a movie (in the afternoon). She called the house a few times to set up the movie. In the end, my son’s cousin and my youngest son were also in the theater (small town, one theater, you can’t avoid it) so I was OK–it seemed more of a friend thing. At any rate, “dating” in 5th grade? I’m a little weirded out. Is this the norm?

    • Amy Sep 22 at 11:14 am Reply Reply

      at 11 i was firm with no dating.. too young. My son will be 14 in 2 months and just admitted he has a “girlfriend”. he is a football player and she is a cheerleader. I have a no dating rule in my house until older however, you are very correct that what we refer to as “dating” is not the same for them. I advised him i would allow it at this point as it didnt have the “i’m looking for a wife” meaning. I met the mother of the girl. i informed the mother i was raising him to be pure until marriage, and even kissing was special and should not be taken lightly. After discussing my expectations of my son and how i was raising him she went to her daughter with confidence and had a talk with her that if she wanted to date my son she was expected to act in the same manner and he was expected. Actually having this talk with the mom was great as she had been so nervous in the past to discuss relationships or sex, purity etc with her daughter she was relieved to have a starting point. We have been watching them closely and again they are in 18th grade so only see each other at school sport events and once in a while at the skating ring. They held hands last night for the first time in from of us but both say they have not kissed. I did advised my son that hand holding or a brief hug was appropriate touching and ok of course groping etc.. are off limits. 
      I also made him think about his girlfriend choice by asking him why he liked her, what character qualities did she posses that he really liked.. etc.. He did finally say he didnt really think she was all that nice all the time and didnt like any character qualities she had but just liked her personality and she was pretty. He thought maybe they should break up but didnt really want to. 
      So, i didnt tell him to break up with her, i just made him think beyond she is cute,  and be realistic. i know if i demand they break up he will just “date” her behind my back.. i also want him to learn how to have a healthy relationship with a girl and that yes its ok for her to be around family and know his mother and for the parents to get along etc.. so i am praying my heart out and using this and a learning moment for him and myself :) 

  7. Cyndi Mar 04 at 11:16 pm Reply Reply

    I have experienced something similar with my 15-year-old son. A girl he wasn’t interested in pursued him relentlessly all through 8th grade. He finally gave in and agreed to go to the 8th grade formal with her after she indicated she’d do ANYTHING for him. Fortunately we got wind of their plan to have friends watch the bathroom door while they (in her mind) consummated their love, and we contacted the guidance counselor who nipped the plan in the bud. I also caught them in a very inappropriate Facebook chat and warned her that I would contact her mother next time. (My son was no innocent party.) The final straw was discovering that she had texted him naked photos, and I did email her mother. I got no response. This 15yo girl is now dating a 20-year-old, and comments on Facebook indicate that her mother is thrilled for them. That speaks volumes to me. It is a scary world.

  8. Navhelowife Mar 04 at 11:36 pm Reply Reply

    I’m of the same mind as Katherine. Hard to do, of course, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll save the family years of heartbreak down the road.  
    Oldest has a GF now, but things seem fairly calm. Of course, that has been helped by the fact he lost his cell phone for a week! 

  9. Angie Mar 05 at 12:10 am Reply Reply

    Oh my goodness. I would want to know if it was my daughter. PLEASE don’t ever let that be my daughter (she’s only 5 now.)

  10. Half Hearted Hippie Mar 05 at 12:24 am Reply Reply

    As my partner and I begin this whole process of trying to conceive and start our family, THIS RIGHT HERE is what I am scared of. I am a doula and childbirth educator. I am not scared of pregnancy and labor. I have been a professional nanny for over a decade. I am not scared of infants or small children. I know all of those stages — from pregnancy to preschool — can be incredibly frustrating and difficult. But I am not scared of them. I am SCARED of the teen years. I have absolutely no clue how to handle any of these situations. 

  11. Deputy's Wife Mar 05 at 12:49 am Reply Reply

    I have three younger boys and I am thoroughly frightened after this post.  My two youngest (7 and 9) are girl crazy.  My seven year old has set his sights on a classmate and declared to everyone in the first grade that she was his.  Everyone thought this was cute, everyone but me.  I explained to him that she was not his property, therefore she could not be his.  I also explained he was living with me until he was 35, so there would be no time for girls.

    A friend of mine had a daughter who was stalked by a boy.  Turned out, the daughter was texting and calling the boy just as much he was to her.  She basically said it to seek revenge on him.  My friend was stunned.  They dealt with it and got her daughter some help.  They had no idea why the daughter would act this way.  Friend and husband have a good marriage and treat each other with respect.  

    I will end this with the fact that teenage girls scare me.

  12. KMac Mar 05 at 1:17 am Reply Reply

    I’d say that many girls have been too aggressive for a long time, it’s just that now they have so many other means with which to be the aggressor.

    When I hit my teens I had guy friends, but my parents laid down pretty strict rules about my relationships with them–and these were just friends! Once, I remember wanting to buy my best guy friend a cool t-shirt for Christmas, but my mom said clothes were too personal and I wasn’t allowed. I thought that was ridiculous at the time. And I thought she was soooo mean and old-fashioned with all these silly rules about my guy friends.

    But then, after my teen years, Mom was talking to my guy friend’s mom, and his mom told mine how much she’d always liked me because I wasn’t like the other girls he knew, calling all the time, buying him inappropriate presents, etc. Yeah, all the stuff I’d railed against was stuff his mom thought was an indicator of my good character and my mom’s good parenting. I’ve never forgotten that.
    I know that I’ll have the same rules and guidelines for my daughter in her relationships with boys.

  13. Kristie Mar 05 at 2:12 am Reply Reply

    Its just weird and different than when we were young. The rule, absolute and unbreakable, when I was growing up, was that I was not allowed to call boys. Ever. For any reason. If I needed homework help, call a female friend. Need a ride? Call a girlfriend. No excuse EVER for a girl to call a boy. If he is interested in you, *he* will call *you*. Now, cell phones and texting have put a whole new spin on this situation. I tell my 14 yr old daughter she is not allowed to call boys, and she doesn’t. But she rarely calls anyone …. they all text. And once a boy texts her, then it opens this never-ending stream of conversation, which annoys me. When is a conversation “initiated”? When does it end? Should I be mad if the texts go back and forth for weeks? She (thankfully) doesn’t have a boyfriend, but it still looks bad, in my opinion, for her to be having these ongoing conversations with boys …. where do you draw the line?

  14. Starfire Mar 05 at 3:12 am Reply Reply

    Well, I have 4 kids, ages 16, 14, 11 and 9. I do not believe kids under 16 should be dating. I don’t allow it. I get really annoyed and eye roll at the parents of my sixth grade daughter’s peers, who think it is so cute to let 11 yr olds go on “dates”, dropping them off at the movies/malls all prosti-tot’d up in club dresses and heels. I believe kids should be kids and feel like 13 yr olds in no way, shape or form are ready to deal with the emotional baggage of dating. My oldest daughter is 16, and has a boyfriend, but he still isn’t allowed to take over her life and I find she self limits seeing him outside of school once every couple weeks or so. These kids are copying what they see on “reality” shows, and you have 11 yr old kids growing up thinking what they see on Jersey Shore and The Kardashians is representative of real relationships. And you have parents that want to be more friend than parent. A sure recipe for disaster.

  15. Dregina Mar 05 at 6:41 am Reply Reply

    I taught healthy relationship skills to teenagers for two years a few years ago, and I was horrified at the misperceptions so many of them had about love, commitment, and how to behave in a relationship. Stalkery behavior (obsessive calling, anger over opposite sex friends or even conact with anyone else from the opposite sex, needing to know where your bf/gf is 24 hours a day, etc) was seen by most of the kids I worked with as romantic and appropriate. If kids don’t have parents at home talking to them about what love looks like and doesn’t look like, feels like and doesn’t feel like, they are going to decide for themselves – and they’re kids, so the most extreme and insane behaviors will look like the biggest commitment, the biggest love to them. Hopefully this experience will teach your 13 year old son that he doesn’t want a mate who is controlling and angry. Better to learn this at 13 than 30!

    As for the 16 year old girl who is ready for sex, hopefully she was making that decision from an educated and empowered place, with knowledge about birth control and to do it with someone she trusted. I can’t really clutch my pearls at that one, but I’m sure I would if it was my kids.

  16. gem Mar 05 at 6:44 am Reply Reply

    I have 2 boys 14 and 16. Neither have had “serious” relationships as yet although various names have been on the go for a few weeks at a time. My older boy did have a somewhat serious relationship over Christmas which did have me a little concerned that he was going to go where I was not yet to see him go! (As you say, when he is married, ideally if he waits until about 40 to get married! I jest, but is is my baby!) Ironically she broke up with him, so my concerns re her getting too serious were premature, LOL. They are still good friends though and she seems to be perfectly nice although I don’t know her. My younger son did get some persistent texting from a girl he met in summer camp. The ones he showed me were not inappropriate as such, just very persistent as she live 200 miles away and they had not been going out anyway. He had been going out with someone else. I felt more sorry for her than anything and did hope he hadn’t “led her on” but he insisted he hadn’t.
    What’s scary for me now is that my older daughter is now 12 1/2 and will be entering that whole environment  very soon. She still seems very innocent. She swims competitively so spends a lot of time in mixed groups at training and galas with boys a few years older than her and seems oblivious to any undertones when the boys are insisting on sitting at their table at meals etc. She thinks they are just being annoying! Some of her friends though do seems a lot more sophisticated. I think teenage girls can be just as mean to each other though. I really hope she gets through the next few years unscathed but more than ever I do want to wrap them all in cotton wool and protect their hearts. 
    I do think if one of my sons was getting harassed like that I would be telling the parents if I knew them. As you say I really would want to know if my daughter was like that because it is not normal.
    Here’s wishing us all luck!

  17. AngelB Mar 05 at 9:27 am Reply Reply

    Intervene.  People need to get over the myth of “if I forbid it, it will be more enticing.”  In high school I was in an obsessive relationship.  I didn’t know how to get out.  There was very real danger.  My family knew the relationship was unhealthy although they probably didn’t understand the stakes involved.  I asked my mom for help.  She told me that I had to deal with it.   The sick relationship went on for another year because I didn’t have the tools to “deal with it.”  Sometimes the kids are asking you to forbid the relationship because they can’t figure another way out.

  18. Jenny B Mar 05 at 11:00 am Reply Reply

    Wow, am I glad my kids are 27 and 24 and not mature enough for a relationship. I would definately call Glenn’s mother. If my daughter we acting like that, I would want to know. Makes you wonder what kind of role models she has. Make the call for your own peace of mind!

  19. kate Mar 05 at 12:10 pm Reply Reply

    Oh My. My sons are 11 and 5. I am so glad that neither one of them is interested in anythiing but reading and XBox. I remember when I was in 5th grade and all the cool kids started going steady. Nobody wanted to be my boyfriend and one of my sisters told me that I was not the kind of girl you date, but I was the kind of girl you marry. When I was in college and people were starting to get serious about life, I had more interested boys than I could handle. I think that aggressive girls have been around for a long time, but girls like us can’t remember because we would have never been an aggressive teenager. Your boys are adorable and kind. It is no wonder they have girls interested in them. Good Luck!

  20. Adrienne Mar 05 at 12:20 pm Reply Reply

    I have just done the fist pump myself, as my 13 year old’s first girlfriend dumped him in front of her friends a couple of weeks ago, telling him that she “lost interest” in him. I assured him that I thought that was probably her issue, since I’ve been around him for 13 years and I have yet to lose interest in him. He laughed and told me that I had to like him, I was his mom. (I assured him that I know lots of moms who don’t really like their kids, hence their social lives that take up more time than that which they spend with their kids…)

    The girl that set her sights on my son is a nice girl. She’s involved in activities that my son is involved in, and they actually had a friendship to start with. When they started “dating”, he told me she was kind and pretty, which I viewed as much healthier than “cool and hot”, and it seemed innocent and okay. Then I started getting calls asking him to meet her at the movie theater…solo….and I told my son that we weren’t doing solo dating until later in high school…and he told me he couldn’t tell her that because it sounded like I was judging her mom for not having that same limit. I asked him where he got that idea…and yep, it was her words!

    She gave him a $30 gift card for Christmas. He didn’t tell me about it…I heard about it from other moms….because he knew I wouldn’t approve, but he was afraid to give it back because of the same issue…that they would think I was judging them, and she would break up with him.

    Then there were the long manipulative notes accusing him of not being “invested” or “committed” to their relationship, of wanting to know when they were going to “move to the next level”…and my son didn’t even know what she meant by that, but eventually discovered that he was supposed to be hugging her and that the next level would be kissing…

    My son genuinely liked her and didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but he’s so not interested in a “relationship” at this point. I think he was secretly relieved that it was over when she ended it, but he was embarrassed that she did it in front of her friends, and now the girls in her posse won’t even speak to him,, despite the fact that he’s always been friends with them. He said that he knows he doesn’t have to worry about having a girlfriend again anytime soon, because he’s been labeled a baby by the cool girls.

    This kind of stuff didn’t happen until later in high school when I was a teenager, and it seems like it’s so early for this kind of thinking. And what surprises me is how many parents either endorse or don’t discourage the behavior. I’m not a prude, and I’m not trying to keep my son a little boy, but I also think that he deserves to be a young teenager and figure out who HE is on his own, without the pressure to be something to someone else just yet. My son’s concerns about how it would be taken if he verbalized that his family isn’t okay with “dating” and gifts at this age are valid ones, because most of the parents of these little vixens aren’t much more mature than their princesses…LOL!

  21. suzie Mar 05 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

    But this is not “girl behavior.”  This is an individual who is exhibiting extreme behavior, and I believe her parents (or the school, if parents aren’t responsive) should be told.  The girl needs help.  

    I have girls.  My younger daughter is about to turn 13, and has started with these young-person “relationships.”  This means they text, they dance at a dance, and MAYBE they go with other friends for pizza after school.  I was shocked a couple of weeks ago when we had a meeting of our self-created parenting community group (for all parents of 7th graders in her school), and the mother of one of the most text and chat active boys starting to talk about “promiscuous girls,” and how she always talks to her son about how to respond to these girls who are “behaving badly.”   When I spoke with fellow mothers of girls, it was clear that we were all flummoxed by the comments and the allusions to girls’ behavior – especially given what we know about this particular boy and the THOUSANDS of text messages that he sends to our daughters (unwelcome text messages, that are returned with “gtg, bi bi”).  Sadly – I was too taken aback at the time (and was in a large group) to press on the issue.  But I am very confused about where this idea of “promiscuous girls” comes from, since I know this group of girls very well, and I also am a parent who monitors chats and texts. Promiscuity is not the reality here.

    Is the fact that girls are now being taught – rightfully so in my opinion – that the genders are on equal footing?  Because girls in my community are not being told not to ever call a boy, to act like a “lady.”  The messages sent to my daughters about their strength, their equal place in the workforce, in the community – do not coincide with traditional ideas of dating and chivalry.  

    I think this is a great discussion, and I am glad you brought it up, Chris.  I am struck by the different perspective of parents of boys and girls.  I think that in the end, “boys” and “girls” don’t act any particular way.  Individuals have their own issues, and gender of course play into that, but I do not think it is the defining force.  The girl who wanted your son as a gift was the same boy I dated when I was a sophomore.  And Glenn – she needs an intervention!  

  22. Emily Mar 05 at 3:30 pm Reply Reply

    I was an aggressive little girl. But I didn’t want sex.. just lots and lots of kisses. It does scare me for my little girl. but she probably seriously won’t date until she’s out of high school. I don’t see the point in it at all. I stopped dating for a bit in college because I knew my education was more important and I was being distracted. My friend’s kids are not allowed to date until 18 and now 3 of them are over 18 and only 1 is dating while in college, the other 2 are not. It’s not mean to help your kid not enter adulthood with unnecessary baggage.

  23. Jamie Mar 05 at 4:05 pm Reply Reply

    Holy cow. Yet another topic I hadn’t considered in the whole parenting arena.  Thank goodness I don’t have kids yet.  But I do remember being a teenager, and never went through or even witnessed this type of insanity (Glenn thing).  I feel for kids these days…so much pressure to look like the hyperbolic, sexually pigeonholed, cartoonish people on television – particularly reality tv.  I hope to have as balanced an outlook someday as you do, Chris.

  24. Sue Mar 05 at 5:59 pm Reply Reply

    Oh holy crap! My oldest is just about to turn 13 and so far, he’s had a few girlfriends, all of whom told him that they were “dating.” As far as I can tell, he didn’t have any say in the matter. It sort of makes me laugh because “dating” just means they change their Facebook status to “in a relationship” and then mostly ignore each other. But apparently things don’t stay that innocent. The thing that encourages me is your other kids’ input about the relationship – my kids will listen to each other long before they would listen to me.

  25. Lisa Mar 05 at 7:50 pm Reply Reply

    I have two sons, 20 and almost 17. Luckily, they are both pretty non tolerant of ANYONE bossing them around (including me which is another subject), but I DO see the girls being very aggressive and available and willing and obsessed. Cellphones and Facebook make their ability to keep tabs on one another WAY too easy, if you ask me. And I wouldn’t call the mother. I’ve found that doing that did nothing but further ostracize my own kids. I never thought I’d be the kind of parent who didn’t call other parents when kids are acting out (because I’d want someone to call ME), but parents either put their head in the sand, or decide that I’m psycho. And then hassle my kid. “Your mom better stay out of my business.” That happened. Wasn’t in regards to a girl/boy thing, but partying. So, I usually just try and deal with my own kid. Sad, but true.

  26. Deb Mar 06 at 1:13 pm Reply Reply

    We had a rule that our kids couldn’t date till they were 16. I can’t tell you how often my kids now look back on that and said it saved them, because they had to tell someone their parents wouldn’t allow it. It took the pressure off of them.

    It’s really an arbitrary number, you can pick whatever you want, but it worked for us. Fourteen seemed too young, fifteen, they aren’t driving yet, sixteen just seemed to fit.

    I think about whether you should have told the mother and I think yes, I would have wanted to know about it if it was my daughter. This sounds more like a cry out for attention and help than anything. I don’t even think you could say it mirrored her parents behavior–it’s just an indicator that more is going on than meets the eye.

  27. angie Mar 06 at 2:05 pm Reply Reply

    I have a teenaged daughter and son, and we don’t condone dating at all. The world has changed since we were kids, but I think it started then, and this is the nightmare offspring of dating when we were kids–the whole going together thing, people being possessive, obsessive, the sexual pressure, etc., all supported in tv and the movies, etc. There are aggressive boys and girls, but the girls are the ones who stand to lose a lot more by that behavior. There are so few of my daughter’s peers that don’t have kids I can count them on one hand–she’s 19.

  28. annmarie Mar 06 at 9:18 pm Reply Reply

    Kids dating is just bizarre and weird to me. What’s the point? I’m honestly not trying to be a wise guy, I honestly do not understand the point of having meaningless relationships that will most always end in breaking up. I always encourage my daughters to make meaningful friendships, ones that will last and that are based on making them better people and for the life of me I do not see how introducing dating relationships into their lives at such a young age will do that. It’s like you are giving a little piece of your heart away everytime you date someone new. And we know it’s especially damaging to girls to do this as they are prone to fall head over heels so much easier than boys. It’s so sad to me. It’s almost like dating has become practice for divorcing. My parents were so lax about dating. I dated basically whoever I wanted and I so wish my parents had some kind of clue as to how used I was allowing myself to be. I’m sure my own husband could have done without the years of nonsense he’s had to put up with because of my past relationships, some of which were quite damaging.

  29. Marnie Mar 07 at 12:02 am Reply Reply

    Wow.
    A note to Cyndi – the girl who texted naked pictures of herself was spreading child porn. And your son, as the reciepient, is also party to child porn. Deleting them doesn’t completely erase the information. I don’t know how long it’s been, but if it happens again with her or anyone else, I would recommend contacting the police department immediately to report that it was sent to him, so that it doesn’t appear to be initiated by him. There are horrible repercussions for kids who are convicted, like having to register as a sex offender, or being turned down for college.
    I was ready to agree that this chick was mimicking her parent’s behavior, but after reading the other comments, it’s probably not so black-and-white. Kids get a lot of messages not just from parents, but from television shows, and from friends. She may be being coached by a friend who thinks that’s the way relationships are supposed to work. I don’t know that it would do any good to call her parents, but maybe the message from your son was loud and clear.
    Finally, annmarie, I’m sorry your experiences were so bad. I think that all relationships, regardless of when they start, help build who we are and who we become. I would not have the good marriage I have today if I hadn’t had a lot of trial and error in other relationships. I will certainly keep a close eye on my kids and their relationships, but i think it’s important to learn things for themselves, since they don’t seem to want to hear it directly from me. :-)

  30. Futureblackmail Mar 07 at 8:38 am Reply Reply

    I was just telling my husband the other day that I think the teenage years is why I learned lamaze. I worry about this as well – my stepson broke up with his girlfriend because she wanted to have sex and he didn’t. Am I proud? Absolutely. Am I still worried? Absolutely.

  31. Tara Mar 07 at 10:02 am Reply Reply

    It is no recent anomaly that the girls can be aggressive. Many of us weren’t close to those girls, or didn’t know the boys they dated well enough to hear the stories. I only had one female friend when I got to high-school and very few after, my friends were the guys.
    Way back in the early 90′s… there were girls who’d manipulate and threaten, spread untrue rumors, sleep with other guys for jealousy / revenge, physical assaults, and emotional abuse that I could go on about for days. There is and has been abuse and ‘pushy behavior’ perpetrated by both sexes for a very long time… most people just don’t seem to notice. Nobody noticed back in ’87 when my hubby was being babysat by his mother’s friend & the daughter talked him into trying sex (they were both 8 & he didn’t have a clue what she was talking about!).
    I have 4 children (from 1 to 16) and one on the way, I disagree with the one size fits all no-dating rule. I think Chris has shown how we can stand by our children’s side and help as they grow without ruling their lives completely. I believe that boundaries always need to exist, but many teenagers can date and keep it a positive experience. They just need to know how to apply boundaries for themselves and understand the basics of healthy relationships. They are supposed to learn all that from us.
    I met my husband when I was 15. We had a strict no-dating policy in our house. What Daddy doesn’t know… The problem I have with imposing a rule instead of teaching skills is that you end up with a baby on the way between sophomore & junior year, or maybe that’s just me. Either way, near 18 years and soon to be 5 children later… if we hadn’t found a way to date each other we may both be serial dating the ‘pick of the litter’ today. So…

    Oh!… btw, if either of my girls ever behaves in such an aggressive and borderline abusive way… PLEASE tell me, so I can reel their little butt back in! :)

  32. Jessica Mar 07 at 1:47 pm Reply Reply

    I think the mother should know. Would you tolerate it if it was a boy screaming and being obsessive? No. We would not. But there are different standards for girls, and that’s not right.

    I’m TERRIFIED of the dating stuff. TERRIFIED of it. And my little guy is only 17 months old.

  33. Amanda Mar 07 at 4:37 pm Reply Reply

    I think 13 is far too young for “dating”, as innocuous as it may be. I’d also call the mother, even after the “break-up”.

  34. Rebecca Mar 07 at 9:47 pm Reply Reply

    I am a school counselor, and sadly this is becoming more and more common.Statistics are now showing that teenage boys are more likely to have been hit by their partner than teenage girls and less likely to see this as abuse. Girls think this behavior makes them “empowered.”

  35. Caitlyn Mar 08 at 9:34 am Reply Reply

    oh my heavens.  That can’t be normal at any age.  At least I hope it can’t.  That’s just scary.

    As far as I know, dating hasn’t changed that much.  My sister in college had a perfectly normal, non-stalker relationship with her last boyfriend.  My 13-year-old sister isn’t really interested in boys quite yet, so I don’t know what she’s dealing with, but I’m pretty sure she’d never be that controlling

  36. hennifer Mar 08 at 12:22 pm Reply Reply

    I’d just like to say that more than ever I’d love to read all these comments. I have one boy, one girl and my son is quickly approaching this age range. I myself was very sexually aggressive as a teen and for all the wrong reasons. I think you might still call Glenn’s mother but fear she is probably where Glenn is learning it from. Sadly kids at this age really do confuse jealousy/obsession with love. I’m glad your son has other siblings that see he deserves better. So much to think about!

  37. Jana Mar 08 at 10:26 pm Reply Reply

    I have an 18 year old son who is a senior in high school and he has a 16 year old girlfriend. She and my son have had sex, she was his first, he was her 11th (information via Facebook)…girls today are just much more promiscuous than we were in high school. The thing I hate most is there is no real “dating”, just getting together to have sex. That is not a relationship to me, but he assures me this is the norm in 2011. If that is true, all I can say is thank God I grew up in the 70′s.

  38. GG Mar 16 at 3:11 pm Reply Reply

    It isn’t dating anymore, it’s more like being married. The expectations and obligations that these kids place on each other is ridiculous. Most kids in High School think that asking a person out on a date is crazy, you have to “like” the person enough to be a couple, then you enjoy their company. The boundaries of that enjoyment seem to have expanded to all forms of sex, and having that sex is okay, ’cause you’re a “couple”. Talk about skewed…..
    I thank my lucky stars each and everyday that my two sons never fell for this ridiculously twisted version of dating.  My oldest has a girlfriend that feels the same way, they began old-fashioned dating in college and have been together for 3 years. The youngest son, a senior in high school, has gone to dances stag, and Proms in groups of friends who have the same values as him. He refuses to “hook-up” with any girl who doesn’t value herself enough to not follow the crowd. Dad and I support him and praise him for staying true to what he feels. He gets a lot of support from his older brother and the brother’s girlfriend for the fact he’ll find someone special someday and that he just needs to wait. But I know it has to be tough…..I wouldn’t be a teenager nowadays if you paid me.

  39. Katie Mar 13 at 11:03 am Reply Reply

    I am so glad to have found this post. My son and I thought it was a freak thing with him. He had his first date at 18 because every girl he ever started to talk to at school would latch onto him as if they were an instant couple and because he did not reciprocate their attention and feelings they would knock him down and then he’d avoid them and they would start gossiping about him and say he has “issues”. He asked a girl to the prom he thought would not act like this and told her upfront nothing serious and she said yes. Two days later, barely knowing my son she was in love and started subtly making him feel bad where he was apologizing for not bringing her out on dates because of his work schedule and school. She then started accusing him of “friending” girls on fb, finding time to hike one day with his friend and brother and questioning the company he keeps based on some comment some kid made on fb from an extracurricular group my son belongs to. He didn’t even see the comment. Don’t bother talking to the mom – this mom contacted me when my son put his foot down with her behavior and the mom justified her daughter and was basically wanting to hear explanations for my son’s actions and thought her daughter had a right to do all this and how upset her daughter is that my son is upset with her. I never get involved like this but I told this mom that I had a problem with this behavior too and this girl should only speak to my son to apologize. Needless to say they are not going to the prom.

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