By Alma Gill
Teen Wants to Chill with ‘Boyfriend’
My 17-year old-daughter claims she has a boyfriend. I said no u don’t your too young. Now she says she wants to chill at his house for a little while; she says his mother said it’s ok & will be there & it’s ok with his mother. I want to talk to this mother. Am I overreacting? I don’t like this & don’t know what to do. Is this age appropriate for dating & going to his house?
Ohhh Momma, you know what I’m thinking. I’m thinking the same thing you’re thinking – which is, what we were doing at 17, at his house, on the bus, in the lyeberrie (I know it’s spelled library) LOL, which is where you told your Mama you’d be studying. We thought we were being grown and our mother’s knew all along, just like you will. I think 17 is an appropriate age to visit a beau with parental supervision. And no, I don’t think it’s overreacting to contact the mother of her “so called” boyfriend. There’s no need to become instant BFF’s. All that’s required is the two of you should maintain an open line of communication.
Now, with that being said, indulge me for a minute. Everybody knows a teenage girl eats drama at every meal; it’s a part of her digestive system. The quandary is how much of her drama requires you to hover, so here’s my two cents.
All of our daughters should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven differently. I think it tears at their confidence to be reprimanded for something they cudda, wudda, may have done. I’d love to see you give her some slack and see what happens. Don’t force her to carry your “when-I-was-a-young-girl” handbags of blunders and burdens. She’s entitled to make her own mistakes. That’s an expected part of life, and you’ll be there, full of mother wisdom and direction. Offer trust and teach her what it means to be trusted. Believe in her and let her know that you expect her to make the right choices when necessary. Your side-eye will keep her on the straight and narrow.
When it’s time for her to make those life decisions, it won’t be the whispers of her boyfriend or the dare of a girlfriend that will deter her from doing the right thing. It will be the thought that she doesn’t wanna deal with her “no-nonsense-oh-no-you-didn’t” mother, the one who unconditionally trusted her.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.