17 year old daughter - FamilyEducation
17 year old daughter
08/24/2007 at 20:55 PM

help! I need advice on how to handle this situation. my daughter has been dating a boy (19) she's a senior, he just graduated,for 6 months.so far not alot of problems with her, and she is planning on college, she has great friends. boyfriend seems like a nice kid,parents are also very nice.I just found out she is sexually active(found condom)I explained how I did not approve, was very dissapointed ect...she does not want to talk about  birth control, and I'm not sure if I would want to put her on birth control, I feel it sends a mixed message. anyway, he leaves for college in a week.She needs to finish her senior year.He's only an hour away. so they will probably be in toach. How do I get through this next year? .dissapointed mom.

From your post, I don’t know about your relationship with daughter, and have no clue about her beyond a positive hue gleaned from your comment about good friends and a nice boyfriend with nice parents. Sounds ok so far, and my lengthy response assumes a positive past…

I have a daughter, and know about the picture in your mind, the one painted with expectations and dreams… what life is suppose to be like. Things change. I found you can swim with or against the ebb and flow of circumstance. I can see your disappointment, and understand it, but, consider this fact: you are experiencing “your” disappointment, not hers.


Is your displeasure with your daughter or a decision? Can you still laugh with her in the moments you forget, and when you forget, are things still as bad? History is a place to learn from, but, not a place to dwell. Are your feelings about her, or her actions, and, is your disappointment relative to your standards or for her not living up to the picture in your mind? I would suggest you examine who she is really answerable to for her decisions, you or herself?


I think you can “get through this year”, and many more, by loving her and expressing concern for her feelings and future rather than how “you” are disappointed that she let “you” down, and how “you” don’t approve. At her age, she should be in a position to be the center of her concern and focus, and you should be letting her. I am not saying her decision and actions were right or wrong, it is not my place, and actually it is not yours either. Do you make all your decisions based on your mother’s values? Do you have the same picture in your mind as your mother… or your grandmother?


Your statement regarding her not wanting to talk about birth control was not clear. Does she want not to be on birth control, or, not talk about it with you? Big difference! If she doesn’t want to be on it, breach the subject gently and/or indirectly. She may be under the impression she cannot get pregnant for some reason (???), or she wants to. You must not be judgmental in your approach; only factual about the pros and cons of her action's consequences. You need to determine the why of her resistance (misinformation or bad decision). If you have not had this kind of emotional discussion, you normally get a lot better response with questions than a lecture: what do you think? - not - believe what I say! Preaching only works in church; in the family, “Preaching ain’t teaching!”


If she is resistant to speak with “you” regarding birth control, it may be due to your approach in the past (judgmental or accusing), or, she is confused or embarrassed. For the former, you could go to her and say you are aware of your tone in the past, but you can assure her you are only interested in her getting all the information possible in this area and you will not be judgmental. If it is the latter, you could try again or you could find a trusted relative closer to her age, a doctor, or the school nurse to talk with her. The goal is to ensure she is fully informed! And, by the way, “mixed messages” are irrelevant after the horse has left the barn.


The world you grew into was not the same as the one your mother experienced, and so too, is your daughter’s different from yours… not completely, but she is not you. I believe your best approach is to examine your motives: what you want from the relationship, and how best to get it. Remember, she is only a hard stone’s throw from being an “on her own” adult. Hiding your head in the sandstorm of inexorable change only results in your missing a lot.


As kids grow up, they are like a piece of soap, the tighter you hold on, the greater the chance you will loose the grasp you have.


You signed your post “disappointed mom”: you will get through this year, and in the process, if you look, you're likely to find lots of reasons to sign it differently.  


Go hug your daughter!


DaMoKi Bob