I married my best friend's dad and now I'm her stepmom
These resources dive into the topic of teen relationships. Included from the Dove Self-Esteem Project are tips, articles, and action checklists designed to help you. DEAR AMY: I've been divorced for four years. My daughter chose to stay with me. Her friends and her school were here; she is also closer to. How parents can cope with their child's dating choices. That man and I remain friends even to this day. In college, I dated a guy who had.
For teen girls, their friends are their entire universe, and how you approach or question their choices about their friends can either open up a deeper dialogue between you or cause them to shut down completely.
I get how hard it must be not to want to yell, "This person isn't worthy of you! But this kind of absolute approach almost always backfires. I remember one story that a mom shared during a workshop that broke my heart. She and her daughter had always been very close -- that is, until her daughter's boyfriend Dan came into the picture.
This mom explained how she felt that Dan wasn't good enough for her daughter and that he didn't treat her daughter with respect. Hoping to discourage the relationship, she imposed a new rule that Dan wasn't allowed to come into their home. While she clearly wanted to protect her daughter, setting that hard boundary drove a huge wedge between her and her girl.
Her daughter was still seeing Dan outside her home, so it didn't actually serve anyone. The worst part was that all of this happened just months before her daughter was leaving for college, which meant that her last months living at home were filled with tension and stress.
Don't get me wrong: I'm definitely not saying you should give your daughter free rein to hang out with whomever she wants! She needs you to guide her toward making good decisions, and you'll know in your heart what is right for your specific situation. What we're talking about here is how you approach this. Girls consistently say that when their moms speak to them from their heart in a respectful way that doesn't make them feel ashamed or threatened or powerless, like they are being commanded without explanationthey're much more likely to hear you and really take it in.
And they're also less likely to shut you out. Here's year-old Danielle's story: I made friends with this one girl two years ago who my parents couldn't stand. After several months of my new friend coming over and hanging out a lot, my mom came to my room one night and very calmly brought to my attention the reasons she and my dad didn't want her to hang out with me.
My mom came at the conversation form such a place of concern, and was so free of judgment, that we were able to talk about it honestly without me feeling defensive. A great Ask Elizabeth tool I want to share with you, which we talk about a lot in workshops, is that being specific rather than general about what's concerning or bothering you can make huge difference.
When girls are having trouble getting through to their moms, we practice changing the familiar, "You never let me do anything! If it's the fact that you're worried that this friend is a bad influence, explain that to her -- and tell her why. As bestselling author and psychologist Dr. Stay away from saying things like, "I don't like her" and instead try, "I am concerned that what she is doing is dangerous and would not want you to do any of those things.
She may appear not to listen at times, but she is absorbing the value system you are teaching her, as long as you communicate it clearly.
My daughter is dating a much older man | Mariella Frostrup | Life and style | The Guardian
I love this creative tip, which year-old Olivia shared with us, as a way her mom helped their relationship when Olivia was enmeshed in a not-so-healthy friendship: My mom voiced how she was feeling when she didn't like one of my friends, not by controlling my life or preventing me from seeing my friend, but by always offering other things to do in place of seeing her.
She wanted me to regain touch with lost friends and make as many new ones as I possibly could. Here's another angle on this.
If your daughter's friend or boyfriend is involved in drugs or other damaging behavior, Dr. Saltz suggests trying to direct your daughter toward being true to her own moral compass. She adds, "You might even speak to her about this friend or boyfriend needing some help, and that your daughter could be a positive influence.
My best friend of many years got involved with drugs and alcohol when we were in high school. After watching me take care of this friend time and time again, my mother sat down and told me that she didn't mind the fact that I was helping a friend in need, she just didn't want me to change who I am as a result of my involvement. She told me that she was proud of me for standing by my friend, and encouraged me to come to her if I had any questions about how to handle her antics, or approach the possibility of seeking help for her or support for myself.
I realized then that my mom was just trying to advise me and was initially reticent of me helping because she didn't want me to get beaten down in the process. Having said all this, of course, if your mom-radar is blinking Code Red and you sense that your girl is in emotional or physical danger, even the girls agree that it's time for you to step in.
Suzanne Bonfiglio Bauman offers this smart advice on what to do if you find yourself in this kind of difficult position: If your daughter's friend truly does have the potential to harm your daughter or to influence her in a way that you feel is inappropriate or unhealthy, then by all means, discuss your concerns with her and if the situation calls for it, limit her interactions with this person. Just as teens yearn for independence and approval, they also absolutely rely on adults to construct limits and boundaries to keep them safe.
Share with her that you have listened to her, observed her and her friend, and spent time thinking carefully about the situation. Tell her about the sorts of relationships you want to see her develop "I want so much for your friendships to leave you feeling confident, safe, and cared for, unconditionally".
Give her the real reasons why this relationship doesn't appear to offer her that. And give her a chance to be angry with you and hurt by your decision. State that you anticipated anger and you want to give her space to be mad and to express herself more, as well. Let her know you can tolerate her anger and you will still be on the other side of her door, ready to talk and listen and comfort whenever she is, as well.
A vital part of parenting that many parents today struggle to master has to do with embracing our roles as responsible adults and tolerating our kids' anger and resistance when we exercise our parental responsibility. We get so swayed by their mood swings and intense reactions to us that we forget to see them in the context of their own development. It's their job to be emotional, reactive, and passionate.
And it's our job to be still, to breathe, care, and try not to take what they say or do personally. So when your daughter tells you she hates you for ruining her social life and taking her friend away, near her out, share that you are sorry that you've upset her so much, and they you really wouldn't do what you've done if you didn't know that it was the healthy and correct thing to do as her parent.
Then call your partner, your best friend, or some other adult confidant and vent to your heart's delight. And please know that while they may not be happy about it for a while, so many of the girls say that eventually they come around. Take it from year-old Kylie: It wasn't like this friendship completely killed my relationship with my mom, but at first we wouldn't talk like we had in the past.
After my friend and I stopped talking though, it became easier to talk to my mom again because there wasn't that tension tied to our relationship. Gradually it sort of repaired itself naturally once that other person was out of the picture.
And if they don't now, they'll see the light -- eventually! You don't just have to take my word for it. Here's input straight from the source: I knew my mom was right all along.
I realized that this girl I'd been hanging out with was not a good friend and that she didn't care much about her friendship with me. When I finally saw the awful way she treated me and ended it, my mom was there for me. I could not ask for a more supportive mother. Christy, 16 My mom disapproved of my being friends with my ex-boyfriend at first.
I was frustrated with her at the time, but looking back I realized that she saw me crying and devastated about this guy and the stuff he put me through. I am too embarrassed to talk to my friends about it. Mariella replies I feel your pain.
Your job was to raise her and teach her how to be the best adult possible. Your situation is a parental nightmare, but not the most unusual of scenarios. In many ways his age is of less concern than the family he is about to forsake.
Having been through a family breakup yourself you are well equipped to understand the legacy of such a separation. Is your anger being exacerbated by still-painful memories of the demise of your own relationship? Unresolved pain and anger might be pushing you towards your entrenched opposition. It might give you the impetus to overcome your instincts and swallow your pride. Refusing to meet the man she thinks she loves is a mistake. It puts all the power in his corner by casting you as the intolerant villain.
Your first — albeit unappealing — step has to be to meet the object of her affections and treat him with civility.Daughter ‘Shocked, Betrayed’ That Her Mother Is Dating Her Ex-Husband
Refusing to engage with him will only propel her further into his orbit and dissipate any leavening influence you might have. Meeting him is a must otherwise your objections are based only on your misgivings, not the individuals involved. An age gap can boil down to semantics once you start arguing about whether a year divide is better than 20 and so on.