What should I do about this? - FamilyEducation
What should I do about this?
11/03/2009 at 14:22 PM

Hello...I'm new here. I have a 16 year old daughter who has been dating the same boy on and off for almost a year. This morning in the mail there was a card addressed to her. Her birthday was 2 weeks ago so I thought it was a belated card from a relative, and I opened it.(I usually open her mail, she doesn't seem to mind, most of her private conversations are with friends by text message anyway)

I opened the card, which was blank inside except for a hand-written message that contained info from someone (no return address or signature) that said the boyfriend was a no-good jerk and was cheating on her. There was some general info in there that I know was true, and some that was hearsay. This person claimed that what they said was true because they'd overheard a private conversation, and that my daughter's boyfriend had a history of this.(which is true) My question: Do I give her this card or just throw it away?

I do not like her boyfriend, and have wished in the past that she would just be over him once and for all...but she is really happy with him (at least for now, their romance is hot and cold). I would like nothing better than for them to break up, but this will just kill her...plus, who knows if it's true? The card sounded sincere, but there could be other motives...with teens, who knows? Do I throw it away, or let her see it?

Way back in 7th grade, I got a nasty unsigned noted that claimed to be from the whole 7th grade class. Here's what I learned. Consider the source. If the "source" does not have the common decency to own what is written, it is just a waste of your time and of paper. I would destroy the card, dismiss the contents from my mind, except to tell the girl that I opened her mail, that it had negative gossip about one of her friends so I destroyed it because it was un-verifiable. If she pressed me for details I would repeat that it was from a coward who wanted to cause trouble and I would just as soon we all forgot about it. I would also stop opening her mail. I open household business mail, and I open mail addressed to me, and that is it. It's too late now, but I would also not have let her date til she was at least 16. It's not like a switch flips or anything, but generally children are not mature enough to date until after they are 16. Before that they are likely to develop an unhealthy dependency.

Thank you. It's a little late on the age thing. I let her have a boyfriend at 15. I regret it now, because there's been a lot of unnecessary drama. I think I will destroy the note, even though the kid is all wrong for her...I think it's probably a mean thing to do.

I believe you should give your daughter her mail. You trust her to date a boy so you should trust her to accept the responsibility of that decision. The letter is a direct result of her dating. I believe you should be there to help advise your daughter in this situation when she reads the note, but witholding her mail is dishonest and deceitful. If the boy is a slime then she has the right to know and if he is not then she has the right to know that some annonomys stranger has involved his/herself in this guys dating life. Be honest with your daughter and work through this with her. Do not deceive her because what if this guy is doing just that? How will she feel when she finds that you deceived her as well?

The opportunity to teach her when to give credence to a report is still there if you give her the note. Point out that this person (1) eavesdropped (2) passed information to which she/he was not entitled on to another party (3) did not take responsibility for that action, and (4) may be lying about the whole thing. Since the information furthers your personal agenda of ending the relationship, it calls into question your motives in giving her the note. Though Tamz has good points, I think the opportunity to model true skepticism and actually throw out unreliable information is too great to pass up.

I would say this mother should talk to her daughter about the note and highlight the 4 very valid points acitez has mentioned. She deserves the opportunity to model her own true skepticism and throw the note out herself. After all, the letter was addressed to her. This is a learning lesson and if she is allowed to date a boy then she should be allowed to manage the entanglements that go with dating. This young lady should be given the opportunity to demonstrate her own character and learn her own lessons.

I agree w/ Tamz. Give your daughter the note. I personally wldn't open her mail either, unless of course I was suspicious of something I felt my child was hiding from me. In my opinion, I believe the note is BS b/c whoever wrote it didn't sign it. It cld've been written by another girl who's jealous of your daughter, or maybe someone who just doesn't like her. Your daughter may have an idea who this person cld be, so keeping the note from her is only keeping her from vital info that may have a direct impact on her relationship. Also, it is possible that the note is ligit, especially if your daughter's BF has a reputation as you've stated. I just think that if the person who wrote the note was a true friend, he or she wld've signed it. As it's been said by another poster, I personally wldn't let my daughter date this guy. She is young, but mainly this guy does sound like a jerk. If you know this, you need to protect your daughter from him. She may learn from this relationship by getting a broken heart, but wldn't you rather that than something worse happen. Personally speaking, if she were my daughter, I wld tell her she's no longer allowed to date this guy. I say this not b/c of the note, but b/c of the reputation you KNOW this guy has. That's just my opinion as a mom.

Thanks for the replies everyone. She knows the misgivings I have about her BF. None of her friends care for him either, so it's not "just me". I've spoken to her until I'm blue in the face about him, which has had no effect. (it just seems to make her angry) I don't know that I can force a breakup. THey might change their Facebook statuses and whatnot, but would it truly change their feelings? UGH! I put the note away. I almost gave it to her a couple of times, then backed out. I'm afraid she will believe I am furthering my own agenda (as someone else stated). As for opening mail...I suppose I shouldn't now that she's older. I'd never really considered it an invasion of privacy really...I open all the mail that comes to our address. Generally all her private conversations are done via text. I will ask her if it bothers her. If I don't give it to her and she finds out, I'm in trouble for withholding something that was addressed to her. If I do give it to her, I will probably get some "blame the messenger" fallout. It wasn't mine to hold back, though...had I not opened it, she would've seen the message. Should I place it back in a sealed envelope addressed to her, and claim I found it at our front door? (feigning ignorance of the contents) Would that make it better, (assuming I kept my mouth shut) or weave an ever more tangled web?

I want my kids to learn to tell when people are lying and when they are telling the truth. If they have a gut feeling that I am lying, and they discount that feeling, then I have just taught them to distrust their own feeling. You need to tell her about it, one way or the other.

If you've been opening your daughter's mail up to this pt, and she hasn't minded like you stated before, what's the big deal if you hand her another opened letter? I just wldn't continue opening her mail after this, unless you are suspicious about it's contents. You want your daughter to trust you, right? So as long as you feel she's being honest w/ you, you have no reason to read her mail. Since you've already read this current letter, I wld give it to her and ask her about it. I wld also again voice my concerns about this BF she's dating. And, yes, I believe you can intervene in the relationship if you really want to. You said you don't like this guy, so forbid your daughter from seeing him. Take away her cell phone, computer, and whatever else you need to do. What if you found out this guy was abusing your daughter? Wld you still feel you cld do nothing about stopping him and the relationship he has w/ your 15 yr old daughter? Come on. You're the mother. If you see a red flag, do something about it. Don't just sit back and wait for something to happen. Maybe everything will be fine, but then again, can you be 100% sure?

Wish I had done all of the above early on when my daughter was dating her ex b/f. Everyone told me if I tried to stop her from seeing him, she would just sneak around. At least I could have have tried and possibly have prevented her from having to go through the 5 years of abuse she endured.

OK...gonna show the letter. Thank you to all.