And so the time has come that my teen daughter (15) has a boyfriend who comes over and hangs out with us. He’s a delightful and eerily respectful young man who sometimes seems more interested in impressing me than my daughter, but maybe that’s just because I’m an intimidating guy? I like him and am glad to see my girl stepping into the more adult world of dating and relationships.
Problem is, I’m now waaaayyyy out of my comfort zone but I do feel like it’s important to have some “rules of dating” for my daughter so that we don’t slide into trouble before she’s ready (heck, before I’m ready!) to deal with it. I already prohibit them from being together without an adult around (e.g., studying at one of our houses) and when they’re in my place, the bedroom door has to stay wide open if they’re upstairs hanging out.
Complicating matters, of course, is that we’re talking about two households because she also spends time at her Mom’s place with her fella…
To open up this discussion, here’s the email I sent my ex this evening about this topic:
[Young Mr X] was over this afternoon and my rule with them is that they can hang out in A’s room (away from the little ones) as long as the bedroom door remains open. When I went up later in the afternoon, however, they were both laying on the bed and my impression was that they had been making out a bit. She denies it, but…
I’m a bit out of my depths with this stuff because I don’t know what are reasonable boundaries and limitations for their behaviors and activities. A’s only 15, but… she’s 15 in our modern culture and there’s a lot more sexualization and sexuality in the air — even at her school — than when we were her age.
I can certainly get a parenting book to read up on best ideas, or ask a family therapist for a recommendation or two, but it seems to me that it’d be smart and safe for her to have normalized behavioral parameters at both of our houses, and then perhaps even send a carefully worded note to his folks as we agreed was appropriate.
What do you think?
In a similar spirit, let me ask y’all, my faithful readers, for recommendations on how to allow my teen gal the freedom to begin her exploration of relationships with this boy while still creating healthy and age appropriate boundaries so that they don’t stray into dangerous territory before it’s appropriate?
If you’ve had teens, particularly teen girls, what rules have you made and how’d they work out? If you’ve read a book or two on raising teen girls — and I do think that it’s different to have a daughter than a son vis-a-vis all this dating stuff — what could you recommend to me?
Thanks. I need help. 🙂