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And so it begins…

 

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I think we’ve been pretty lucky up until now. Our almost 16 year old daughter and 13 1/2 year old son are “homebodies” and don’t go out much. They don’t get into trouble except for typical teenager stuff like being lazy and disrespectful. What I mean by trouble is that they don’t break curfew and things along those lines.

We haven’t had to worry about our son because he doesn’t really have any friends. He never hangs out with anyone. He has plenty of acquaintances but no one he can truly call a best friend. We even offer to drive him and a friend to the mall, or take them to the ballpark, but he declines.

Our daughter has a new best friend weekly (or so it would seem). You know how teenage girls are. They can be very “flighty” and fickle. One day they are best friends with a girl and the next day they are enemies only to be best friends again a day or two later.

Even though I was a teenager at one point I can’t keep up with who likes who, who wore what, who is “besties” with who and what girl is sworn enemies with what other girl.

Teenage Girls = DRAMA!

A few times senior boys have shown interest in our daughter, but she always does something to push them away before anything can even develop. Not that me and my husband mind (she’s not yet 16 – she will be in 3 weeks). She’s still young.

She did have a “boyfriend” (I use the term loosely) two summers ago. They went to school with each other but never spoke with one another. One night on a sleepover at a friend’s house the girl Oovoo’ed (video chatted) with the boy because they were friends. My daughter started talking to the boy too and soon they became friends. The boy then asked her out and they started “dating” online (as only 14 year olds can do). They never met face to face but as far as they were concerned, and all their friends, they were a couple.

The boy kept pushing for my daughter to hangout with him so they made arrangements to meet for lunch at a local McDonald’s (how romantic! LOL). I dropped my daughter off and went food shopping at a grocery store near by. She knew the rules (don’t leave the restaurant, no kissing…). Shortly after I dropped her off she was texting me about how she didn’t want to be there, and she DOESN’T like him after all, and how does she let him down without hurting his feelings. The boy even gave her a necklace when he met her at McDonald’s which made it harder for my daughter.

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She eventually was honest with him before leaving McDonald’s and they “broke up” there and then. He was mad at her for a while, even calling her nasty names (not in person but to their friends). Soon it all died down and now the two of them barely acknowledge each other at school.

Last summer our daughter had an on going thing (via text) with a really sweet boy. We never met him but I did read some of the texts and he seemed like a nice boy. He wanted to hang out with our daughter but she kept coming up with excuses. Finally they stopped talking to one another and he asked someone else out. They have been dating ever since.

When school started this year another boy, a senior (our daughter is a sophomore) wanted to drive her home from school the very first day. NO WAY! She knows the rules – NO GETTING IN CARS WITH BOYS, or teenage girls too for that matter. Not all teens are great drivers.

Things have been pretty quiet and we haven’t heard about any boy stuff for months. Then a few weeks ago, out of the blue, our daughter asked if she could meet her best-friend-of-the-moment at the local ballpark (minor league stadium) to watch a varsity baseball game. That was VERY suspicious. Our daughter is not into sports and knows nothing about baseball. We had a feeling boys were involved. She did mention one boy that was going with her friend, but they are just friends.

I dropped our daughter off at the ballpark and waved hello to her two friends and waited until they were inside the stadium. As per our daughter her best friend’s dad was also there and would drive them home.

Fast forward a few days later. I had to take our daughter to the doctor to make sure she didn’t have Bronchitis. While we were in the examining room waiting for the doctor to show up the truth came out.

The male friend that was there with them (the one I saw) left right away. Her friend wanted to go to see a boy she likes on the baseball team. ANOTHER boy, one who her friend supposedly used to like, was also there. Apparently this boy has eyes for my daughter. Judging by some pictures I saw on Facebook (yeah, I stalk my kids – I need to know what is going on), her “best friend” was getting a bit cozy with the boy that supposedly likes my daughter and that her friend “used to” like. Her friend never went to see any of the players on the team. It all seems pretty suspicious.

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Meeting a boy there was not the bad part – the bad part is that she lied about he friend’s father being there (he wasn’t) and it was the boy (the one who likes my daughter supposedly) who drove them home.

She broke one of our MAJOR RULES – No getting in cars with boys!

I think I must have turned purple at that point because my blood pressure hit the roof. I lectured her until I was blue in the face. She apologized profusely and said she felt awkward that he wanted to drive them home and her “best friend” said “yes”. She felt like she was put in a bad situation and felt she had no choice but to say “yes”. Supposedly the boy wanted her to sit in the front seat (another HUGE no-no!) but her so-called best friend hopped in the front with the boy she said she no longer liked and my daughter sat in the back. She had him drop her off up the hill from where we live and walked home so we didn’t see her get out of his car.

I never told my husband any of this. He knows she met a boy at the ballpark, but he knows nothing about getting in the car with him. I HATE keeping it a secret from him but I know how he will react and he will go ballistic and totally lose it. Heart disease runs in his family and even though his ticker is OK I worry that too much stress will give him a heart attack. So I’m trying to minimize the stress by not telling him.

I haven’t heard anything about that boy since, until now. Yesterday my daughter asked if she could hang out with her friend again. She said they were going to the ballpark. I looked at her and said “boys?” and she just smiled. So yes… they are going to meet boys. Something that I am NOT comfortable about, but I know it’s inevitable. She knows all too well that if she gets into a car with a teenager again, especially without me knowing, she will be grounded for the remainder of this year, if not longer.

As if that wasn’t enough our son, who never wants to leave our home and has no friends, was asked to go to a carnival being held at a nearby town. From what we can tell it’s a group of kids, mostly girls but with a few boys too. We’re not sure if our son wants to go because he was asked to go and desperately wants to have friends (real friends), or he likes one of the girls.

We’re assuming they want to meet during the day, however the carnival is being held in a not-so-nice town, one with a high crime rate. I’m sure there will be Police around, but we can’t help but worry about our 13 year old walking around like that. He even wants to bring his video camera so they (him and those kids) an make silly videos while they are there. I am NOT happy with that idea at all. He’s way too trusting and I can see one of the kids walking away with his camera, or having to stolen. Case in point, on a school field trip to NYC a “friend” said he was hungry and knowing my son had money on him, asked to “borrow” money to buy a hot dog. My son gave him a $20 bill and never saw the change, nor did the boy pay him back. We’ve been trying to get the name of the boy but our son refuses to give us his name.

We’re torn about letting him go. We’re excited that he actually wants to go hang out with children his age, and not hide away at home like he always does. For my husband and I this is a bit deal. A very big deal. We’ve dreamed of this day for a very long time. At the same time it’s at a carnival in a bad part of town. The only thing I can think of is taking him and then staying but following the kids around at a distance to keep an eye on him. I just don’t want him to find out.

So now I have to stress out about our daughter meeting boys (senior boys no less!) at the ballpark and our son wanting to hang out with kids at a carnival in a not-so-nice part of town.

I already lose sleep and stress out over my kids (grades, getting into college…) now I have to add boys and friends into the mix. Egads! There goes my hair. I can feel the gray hairs bursting out of my scalp as I write this.

My kids are good kids, and they know right from wrong, but they are also very gullible and give easily under peer pressure. I don’t want to prevent them from living life and enjoying their youth, but at the same time I’m a mom and I worry about their safety and well being.

I know many of my readers are parents and grandparents. If you have any words of advice I would certainly love to hear them. I’m sure many people have had to face similar situations. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

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Kimberly

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.

Comments

  1. My advice to you, PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. You and your husband seem to be doing the right things,I have a daughter(now 24) I’ve been through some of the exact things your going through,I just had to trust I was raising her right and pointing her in the right direction before I ever doubted anything from her.its paid off well she graduated went to college and now works in a dentist office.you just have to trust in the way you raise them until proven otherwise! Good luck

  3. April Yedinak says:

    Whew! That is a lot of stress. Like you I would have been the most upset that my daughter lied about an adult being at the ballpark and that she broke one of my rules (riding in a car with a teen driver). I would have not only told her how I felt- that I was disappointed and upset, but I would have also made sure she knew that following the crowd because she didn’t want to make a big deal out of her friends pressuring her is a LOUSY excuse (in fact, that one would have probably made me dizzy with rage). I would have made sure she knew that I realized I was wrong when I thought she was responsible enough to handle herself with more freedom evidenced by the lie and poor decision making and that I would have to rethink future outings. Then, I would have brought the pain (as my kids like to call it). I would have restricted her from whatever it is she likes the most (computer, cell phone, video games, whatever…) for 2 weeks and any social activities for the same amount of time. And in the future, I would be much more guarded about allowing such activities. For instance, I would speak to the adult that is supposed to be supervising before dropping her off. If she complained, I would calmly remind her that this is why lying is such a bad idea, because then people lose trust. As far as your son goes, I would be just like you are- wanting him to have more social interactions, but worried about his safety and people taking advantage. I have son with autism and I constantly have to walk this line. If it were me, I think his age and lack of experience requires adult supervision to go to the carnival. I would tell him that he didn’t have to hang out with or talk to me, but that I would be there. To be honest, my daughter is going to be 15 in a month and I wouldn’t allow her to go without me. She has always been honest and responsible, but I worry about someone else grabbing her or something. Jeesh, when I was her age and my parents let me go places by myself, skeevy, pervy men were always hounding me and making me uncomfortable. I count myself lucky that inappropriate comments and disgusting leers were as far as it ever went. I really feel for you with all the stress you have. I now know that while the baby/toddler years are physically exhausting, the tween/teen years are mentally and emotionally exhausting.

  4. My son growing up was always so quiet you never even knew he was there. I found out in school he was totally different and was center of attention and disrupting the class. I was shocked to hear this because I never seen this side of him. I laughed when the teacher told me this and said I guess he does have a little of me in him after all. You see my teachers called me Jet Jaws in school. My son grew up to be a very responsible person (he’s 23 now) and he has had the same very close friends from grade school and they are all good boys. Moral of the story, don’t let them be afraid of who they are by being to overly protective. We can only be there to hold their hands when needed and I have always told my son if he gets into any trouble he will have to pay the consequence. I have learned over the years a bored kid will get into more trouble than an active one.

  5. Olivia Rubin says:

    The bit about your daughter and her friend saying yes to,the ride…there was a Dateline NBC episode with actors set up with a room of students to be interviewed about homecoming events. Like a survey company. 5 in the room and 2 are in on it. They don’t know they are being recorded with parents in another room. One student brags how they put a little vodka in the water and smoked weed earlier. It shows how some cave in and others don’t and how some even got in the car with the actor to drive. I don’t have advice. I don’t know why, maybe because I just knew better 12 years ago and didnt want to fit in with kids that pressured me. Ask your daughter if she can be honest with you and with that would have to come your trust that if she tells you all intentions before she goes out, you both compromise. It might be that you speak to the parents of the teen that wants to drive. If she says no…well can’t go. But if she says yes, you can feed off the other parents expectations. But this should be for male and female drivers. As for your son, let him go. But tell him that his friends can use their cell phones to record. Say..how do you expect to go n rides, play games with a camera. It will be Crowded and can be dropped in a bumpy crowd,

  6. Tammy S says:

    You just have to trust that you have taught your kids the difference between right and wrong. At their ages there is nothing wrong with checking in with your son’s parents to find out if any of them are going to be attending the carnival and if they know the other kids going. Other parents can be your allies in these situations. As for your daughter I would give her another chance. Explain that you are going to trust her judgment but if she makes poor choices again that you will have to start making the decisions for her based on the fact that she won’t go against the peer pressure to do what you feel is wrong. If she can’t make the right choice you will. Most of the time they will make the right choice because you gave them the responsibility. My only other thought is that you need to tell your husband the whole truth. You two have to show they kids that you are a team. They can’t think that they can play one against the other. Show them that you are united in every decision that you make. The kids will eventually grow up and leave home. You and your husband will be left with each other. You don’t want any secrets between you. That’s my two cents. :)

  7. michelle elizondo says:

    pray!!

  8. wow your son and your daughter is 180 degrees different

  9. stephanie hodges says:

    I think she is at the age she needs to make some poor judgement under your supervision/guidance to prepare her for the world when you are not around. I would not be happy as well, but I think you are handling it well. She broke the rule and have to deal with the consequences. Just stick to your guns or else she would think she can get away with things and bend rules with out the consequences she was told a head of time about. As far as her father, I would talk to him but he is to not have a hot temper as that would not solve anything but push her away. Some kids can play parents and he needs to make sure he is on top of it just as you are to make sure you both are on the same “ground” on parenting and information. I rode with a few of my friends once in awhile, but I was in charge of my own judgment call whether those friends deserved my trust. When I got my car, I took a few of my friends a few places but I was strict on seat belts, driving speed limit and no drinking, smoking (I hate smoke) and goofing off. If any boy wants to take your daughter in his vehicle or out to date etc. (especially a senior), he needs to be a man about it and introduce himself. In my opinion, copy his driver’s license and license plate number. Make sure up to date car insurance and she to have a cell phone (along with a few karate moves) with her. If he has no bad intentions, he would respect and be cool about it.

  10. In this day and age it is so hard , Im glad all mine are grown but I feel the same way about my grand children. We cant smother them but they have to be trusted to make the right decisions. There are so many dangers out there for them, boys and girls. They need to be aware of things that can happen to them. We just have to hope they do the right thing.

  11. Michelle Downing says:

    I have no idea of any advise to give you. I have an 11 month old daughter, 5 year old son, and 8 year old son. I am not looking forward to the teenage years…especially with my daughter. The thought of her dating and being interested in boys makes me want to lock her away. When some boy breaks her heart, they better watch out for her daddy. I am sure I will want so go after any girl that my sons date…I don’t want any of them trying to come between my boys and me, they are my world. Any way to hold off the teenage years even longer?

  12. Rebecca Xavier says:

    My best advice is to keep talking to your children and encourage them to do the right thing.

  13. md kennedy says:

    This is a REAL toughy – or rather a couple of real toughies. I guess when I was your daughter’s age and was actually dating, everyone in town knew everyone else, or at least knew someone who someone else, so my Mom even knew more about my first boyfriend than I did before we had our first date. And those were such innocent times (not so long ago) – my friends and I never talked about sex, and dating was actually not the norm – we mostly hung out in groups. There were drugs, there was drinking, but even without my mother talking to me about those things, I knew from her example what was right and wrong. DId I make mistakes (You bet! Don’t get me started on the the story of the peppermint schnapps at the prom), but I learned big-time from those mistakes – sometimes the best way to learn. Whether you are there or not, your daughter is going to have a boyfriend – why not keep it under your observation by suggesting they do stuff with you and/or at your house?

  14. I think having an open dialogue with your daughter regarding your rules (a refresher maybe) and reinforcing the repercussions of breaking your rules could be one way to get through to her. Maybe if you’re open about what you expect of her while in these situations and explain why the rules are important to you and your husband, she may rethink it the next time that a similar situation comes up.
    As for your son, I do think he should leave his camera at home. Maybe having a discussion with him to be conscious while he’s out (i.e. being alert for both strange people and situations as well as how to address any friendly requests that are actually attempts to take advantage of him) may be enough. But if you’re still having doubts, maybe you can find out more about who these friends are and all the other details of this gathering. And by all means, I think you can go along, but make it your own outing so you can stay in close proximity but still let your son enjoy his friend time. It could be a good way to test how comfortable he is about being social as well.

  15. Robin Wilson says:

    Believe it or not, I think your daughter is behaving completely normal. So are you and dad. The nice thing is that your daughter, though she did lie, obviously has the love and respect for you to tell you the truth without pressure. I would much prefer her to meet and hang out with boys at the ballpark, than to just hang out at a friends house, the park or somewhere like that. She is growing up…you can’t stop it. She has been attracted to boys for a long time, even if she didn’t act like it. Be her friend now .. she is going to need one. Young love is the hardest.

  16. I’m sorry but your daughter is almost 16? It sounds like you have her on way too tight of a leash. You have to give her some freedom. She’s never allowed to get in cars with teenagers? That seems a little weird. I know it’s hard to but you have to accept that your daughter is going to grow up. Either she can make mistakes and learn how to deal with things at this age in your home, or she’s going to move out and be totally confused. It doesn’t sound like she’s drinking or doing drugs. She’s just talking to some boys. You should let her go on a date. As for your son, you should get him involved with some sort of extracurricular activity, imo. I have to say, I am particularly troubled reading about how tight of a leash you have your daughter on. I’m not saying she should be allowed to go wild or anything like that, but you should give her a little privacy and some freedom.