Boy Crazy

Ok. I need advice. This will be long (probably) – so hang with me on this if you’re good with teen aged-boy-crazy-love-struck-for-the-first-time advice.

My daughter is 14 years old. She will be entering high school in September. She is cute as hell. I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother – – she is cute as hell. Cute face. Perfect hair. Perfect size 6 and a nice set of D-cups to go along with it. She’s got an excellent head on her shoulders, usually. Good grades. Talented musically and in sports. Usually – she’s a good kid.

Enter teenage-hood.

Every. Parents. Nightmare.

About a month and a half ago – we grounded her ass off the phone and off the Internet. Why? Because for about three days in a row – she woke up late for school and missed the bus. We found out later that she had been on the phone late, late at night. 1am. 2 am.

Once grounded off the phone – – she snuck around and nabbed her brother’s phone. I walked upstairs to her room at 2am and found her. ON. THE. PHONE.

She was talking to her friend. Scott.

Then – she likes to go to the Boys and Girls club after school. She used to go on Tuesday and Thursdays. She’d walk there after school – and then we’d pick her up around 7pm, or so. Sometimes she’d call us earlier and say she was bored and wanted to be picked up early. One night – we went to pick her up at 6:30 – – a little early, but Chris and I were out and about shopping.

We found her not there. At all. We drove around a bit – – checked the park across the street and there she was. Being pushed on a swing.

By her friend. Scott.

I asked her straight out if she was dating this guy. She assured me she wasn’t – – that Scott was just a friend of hers from the club that she’d known for the last 6 years. (she has been going to the club for the last 7 years . . so this was reasonable.)

At this point in her life – I had no reason to believe she’d lie to me. Her and I are very close and she’s never been an ounce of trouble, really.

I gave her a lecture about being where she says she’s going to be unless she wants her mother to go out of her mind with worry. She agreed.

Two days later – she goes to her friend, Kayla’s. She hangs out there a lot. I like Kayla – she’s a very nice and polite girl who is involved in a lot of the same activities as Melissa. Well, it got to be dinner time and Melissa wasn’t home yet. So I called Kayla’s house. I got her mother.

“Um . . no, Melissa isn’t here, Lisa. She hasn’t been here all day. As a matter of fact, Kayla has been gone since this morning at a baptism in Milwaukee. Have you tried calling that Scott boy?” she says.

“Scott?” I say.

“Yea. Apparently, she and this Scott are pretty hot and heavy.” she says.

I cringe. I thanked her and hung up. I’m blind, right? I’m an idiot. I’m in denial.

I’m going to kick her ass.

I find Scott’s phone number in Melissa’s room and call. Scott answers and says, “Yea – her and I hung out all day today and she’s on her way home now.”

Long story short – – she gets home – – she gets yelled at , lectured and then I demand to know why I had to hear about this from someone else’s mother? Why wasn’t she up front with me about this when I asked??

“Because you wouldn’t understand, Mom.” she says.

On dating. Her and I have discussed dating at length. I’ve explained that at 12 and 13 – she wasn’t old enough to date. That, perhaps, once in high school – – her and I could talk more seriously about it. We talked openly about the reasons why. We talk about boys. We talk about sex. We talk about the maturity and responsibility . . . yada yada. We have had very open talks about it.

When it comes time? She sneaks around.

Melissa is in Middle School. This Scott kid is in High School.

Am I overreacting?

Ok – fine. What teenage girl hasn’t snuck around? I did. But this is MY daughter, right?

So I ground her. Now she is grounded to the house. Grounded off the phone. Grounded off the Internet.

A WEEK later – she runs an errand for me. There is a small store at the end of our block – and I needed sugar. It’s a Sunday – I send her down to get sugar. It’s a 10 minute walk there and a 10 minute walk back. After an hour – I get into the car and head down there. No sign of her. . . anywhere.

So. I call Scott. He tells me that he talked to her on the phone just a little while ago and she should be on her way home at this point.

Phone? Did she walk until she found a pay phone? I drive around some more. I find her walking on the sidewalk. She has the sugar. She gets in. I ask, “So – what pay phone did you call Scott from?”

“I didn’t” she says.

“Scott says he talked to you on the phone a few minutes ago. Don’t lie to me.” I say.

“I’m not lying. I didn’t call him on a pay phone. I called him on your cell phone.” she says.

She then pulls my other cell phone out of her pocket and hands it to me. It’s my second cell phone. I use it only for work with Mosaic, Chris’s company – when I do work for them. It doesn’t get used often and mostly just sits on my desk in my office, on it’s charger. She stole my cell phone!

“When did you take this?” I demand.

“About two days ago.” she says.

I blow. Grounded from the phone and she steals my cell phone. Now she’s not only a sneak and a liar . . . but a THIEF as well.

I totally lay into her. I won’t go into it – – but you can only imagine. I talk to her about how this is exactly why she’s not old enough to date. She is not mature enough to date. If she is going to lie, sneak around and steal in order to date – – that is not the way mature people handle things like this. I always told her to come talk to me about these things . . but instead . . she’s pulling all this crap.

If she’s lying, stealing and sneaking around for this guy – – – I gotta wonder what ELSE she’s doing for this guy! And this worries me a great deal, and I tell her so. And I ask her straight out, “Are you sexually involved with this Scott in any way??” She assures me she’s not. She says the most they’ve ever done is kissed each other – – and only a few times.

Do I believe her? Do I lock her up in a box? Do I send her off to a convent?

The next night is her choir concert. Chris and I go. We sit through the whole thing. At the end, Melissa comes bouncing up to us – – all giddy and happy – – and then turns to this kid and says “Mom..Chris – – this is Scott.”

Oh. My. Good. Grief.

Chris doesn’t even look at the kid and just walks away.
I just say “Melissa – let’s go. Now.”

Poor kid. He looks like a nice kid, really. We were incredibly rude to him. But I could not believe the GALL of my kid – -after all the trouble she has gotten into . . . to introduce him to us like all is great and beautiful in her little world!

Next day? Chris logs into his credit card account to view his on line statement.

He sees that MCI charged him $1300.00 for April’s long distance bill. He calls them. He finds out that there were 761 minutes of international phone calls placed to Toronto Canada between the dates of 4/1 and 4/10. Who are we going to question of course?

It seems this Scott kid and his family went on vacation to Toronto in April. Melissa spent 761 minutes on the phone – over the course of various days – – running up $1300.00 in phone bills!

DOES IT EVER END???

Well, she’s grounded until July 1. This has been going on for awhile and she’s been grounded since about April 15th. So from April 15 – July 1st she is grounded. To the house (no more errands for mom, either), off the phone, off the internet.

She is working her lying little butt off around this house doing absolutely every single thing I can think of. She’s not old enough to hold a job down to pay Chris back the phone bill cost – – so she’s doing it with her own sweat and tears.

As for this kid, Scott? She’s been forbidden to see him. She threw a little fit and said “It’s not HIS fault! You shouldn’t hate him because of what I’ve done!”

Of course it’s not his fault. Scott has always been honest with me whenever I’ve called him to find out if he’d seen Melissa. He’s never lied or tried to cover up for her. He seems like a good kid, really. And it’s a shame – because if Melissa was going to start dating – I’d rather her date a kid like this Scott rather than some low-life type. But I told her, “We don’t hate Scott. We don’t know him enough to hate him. However, it’s the way you’ve decided to conduct yourself because of Scott. You obviously can’t handle it. You’ve obviously lost your fucking mind! And somehow – we need to get your mind back where it belongs.”

Since then?

On my birthday? Scott called. He didn’t’ call to speak with Melissa. He called to speak with me.
“Hello” I say.
“Hi. This is Scott. I just wanted to call and wish you a Happy Birthday. I hope you have a really great day.” he says.
“Umm. Thank you, Scott.” I say.
“Ok. Bye” he says. And hangs up.

On Mother’s Day? Scott called.

“Hello” I say.
“Hi. This is Scott. Is this Melissa’s mom?” he says.
“Yes” I say.
“I just wanted to call and wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, is all. I hope you have a nice day.” he says.
“Thank you.” I say. I hang up.

And today? Chris’s birthday. The phone rings.

“Hi. It’s Scott – is Chris there” he says.
“Yes – but he is on a conference call at the moment. Can I take a message?” I say.
“Can you tell him I called to wish him a Happy Birthday, please?” he says.
“Sure Scott. Thanks.” I say.
“No problem. Bye.” he says. Hangs up.

Oy. Double oy.

Eddie Haskel anyone?

Since the phone bill incident – – we’ve had no further problems from her. She’s been working her little butt off around the house. Keeping a pretty low profile. Sucking up, as required. Has gotten into no other trouble to speak of.

Well. What would YOU do?

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60 thoughts on “Boy Crazy”

  1. I could be talking crap – I’ve got a few years before I’m likely to have to deal with this sort of thing, but I think that if you don’t give kids anything to rebel against, they wont rebel – you just need to make sure they know of possible consequences and dangers. Ok, you’ve been honest and open and discussed stuff, but isn’t banning her from seeing this guy just going to make her more determined to see him behind your back?

  2. Well, I’ve since decided that her seeing him isn’t really the issue here. If she would have handled it better . . . say, coming to me about it – – perhaps inviting the kid over for a day… for dinner, so we could get to meet him, etc.

    She’s not grounded for seeing him.

    She’s grounded for lying. Sneaking. Stealing and running up a $1300 phone bill.

    I figure, if she’s not screwed up by the end of her grounding on July 1st – – I’ll talk to her about the kid. Tell her to invite him out for a day of waterskiing .. a barbeque – – and let her start over clean, from square one.

    It’s the way she handled it, really. That’s what’s upset me the most.

  3. I think that you handled the situation very well! You’ve stayed firm with your decisions, so she sees that you mean business and aren’t gonna take her crap. Just make sure that once she is no longer grounded that you let her know that it wasn’t about the boy, it was about her behavior (which it sounds like you’ve already talked to her about it).

  4. Have you installed security cameras yet? How can you be sure she is not sneaking out? Why does this Scott know all your birthdays? Have you had a background investigation done on this Scott?

    He seems pretty dedicated. Maybe you should invite him over to dinner, while Melissa is still grounded, and see how he handles “the family”…

    Of course, I personally would let him help decide her punishment since she seems to be so dedicsted to him. 😈

  5. Perhaps we should invite him over . . . yes. Allow him to choose the punishment . . yes, yes – – I’m seeing the wisdom in that.

    Hmmmm….thinking on this.

  6. Well, Tony and I sat here and discussed this for the last 10 minutes. We agree, he should be invited over for dinner.

    If he knows your birthdays, they’re communicating somehow. Perhaps meeting during lunch hour at school or something.

    What if they are sexually active? Is it possible to get her a GYN exam and put on the pill?

    Man, this is scary stuff. Does she know the risk of STDs? Has she seen any pictures? Any search on the internet (google images) for genital herpes would scare ANYONE into being celibate. 😯

  7. The Scott sounds like either a very nice guy, or a very smart guy, or both.

    Personally I don’t agree with “if you don’t give kids anything to rebel against, they wont rebel.”

    Part of being a teenager, as I remember it, is becoming your own person. You want to remove any dependancy on your parents, your teachers, anyone in authority.

    Your kid is going to rebel, and you are going to hope that your education means that what she does is not terrible.

    It could be way worse, it could be drugs, it could be sex, but it’s just a (seemingly) nice guy.

    And yes, it’s not about the guy, it’s about how she did it, but I don’t know anyone that didn’t do stuff behind their parent’s backs when they were 14.

    I don’t have real advice for you though. Parenting is hard, and I haven’t experianced it, just be thankful she’s not on drugs, and hope that he’s a nice guy.

  8. Oh hell Lisa, I don’t know that I can give any great advice, it is not like anything I did worked in this situation.

    I would say don’t budge on the punnishment one little bit, no matter how well behaved she is do not let her off the hook before July 1st, and don’t hesitate to extend it if she does anything else. If Scott is a good guy and you are prepared to let her start dating then invite him over and talk to him. Make him aware of your concerns, but do not let him decide on her punishment, no good will come of that. Finally , and I sorry to have to say it, but you have to realize that you might not be able to maintain a “best friends” relationship with her as she goes through this, our biggest mistake was to try so hard to be nice and reasonable even though it constantly got thrust back in our face. don’t get me wrong, we grounded her ass and took stuff away and all that but we needed to be so much more strict. One of the saddest things about this is that she has breached your trust and it will be very hard for you to get that back, already you have your suspicions, definitly not without reason, but it is a sad realization when you can’t trust your kid any more. I am really sorry Lisa, I hope you have better luck with this crap than we did, and if you do figure it out don’t post it, write a book you will make millions! One last thing, I have obviously seen a whole load of high school kids growing up over the past 5 years, and it is my opinion that the parenting seems to have very little impact on the results, the best behaved one’s parents don’t get home from work until 8pm. I think you can screw your kid up with bad parenting (I’ve seen that) but beyond that it s for the most part down to your kid. I’ve even seen kids 2 years apart living in the same household turn out totally different.

  9. I apreciate that I rambled on there a bit, but all this is very fresh in my mind…. did I mention that you should get window locks? In fact for those of you out there with young kids, put the window locks on NOW, if your kid thinks you have trust issues, putting locks on after the shit hits the fan is not the best situation, but Lisa trust me put them on, last thing you need is Scott paying a congical visit to your home at 2am while you sleep in the room next door. (yeah I didn’t believe that was even a remote possibility either)

  10. Either Scott is the second coming of Eddie Haskel (and how many of us are old enough to know him?), or he’s simply a teenager who is very smitten on your daughter; well meaning (at least so far), but still not someone to trust implicitly.

    I’ll second RedFred. I think the invite_to_dinner and after_dinner_chat is a good idea. Briefly recap what has happened in recent weeks, and while you aren’t blaming him directly for her actions, she’s your daughter and therefor he bears some responsibility.

    Drop the phone bill on the coffee table to point out one of the more tangible consequences. There’s a chance she hasn’t been 100% forthcoming to him about all the trouble she’s caused, rather hoping to portray herself as a Juliet (My mom won’t let me see you… just coz!).

    Remind them you won’t tolerate such deceit (a little conniving is natural with a kid, as you pointed out). And perhaps Chris can have mano-a-mano chat.

    He sounds like a good kid, and as you pointed out, he hasn’t exactly lied to you (I know, ‘not yet’).

    And if window locks are too problematic, I believe chastity belts are still available…

    Regardless, Good luck.

  11. Hmmmmmm. I’d start thinking that we might want to just stick with astromite, but if his charm level stays anywhere close to how it is now I know we’re in for trouble. Sometimes living in the boonies is good. Hmmmmm. Have you considered relocating to the Alabama house????? 😈

    Hearing about all the grounding I can’t help but think of one of the conversations we had with one of mrs. knight’s cousins. Apparently their daughter was sneaking out at night. They finally figured out how she was making it back in her window, so they went and screwed the window down so she couldn’t open in from the outside. They also laid a few boobytraps for her outside to make lots of noise and scare her a bit. To top it all off, they put out the video camera with a motion sensor to capture it all. The next day they asked their daughter how her night was pretending nothing was up and after she answered they hit the play button on the VCR. :twisted::mrgreen:

    As for what’s been done so far, I can’t help but agree on not budging on what you’ve said is going to happen for punishment. Okay, Scott is in high school. Is he just a year ahead or is he a few years ahead? Regardless he should know what he’s doing and Melissa should have enough sense to know what she’s doing. Yeah, invite him over for supper. When he arrives, give him a little tour of your place pointing out all the little things that have to be done around. Then after supper you can show him the phone bill and let him know that Melissa’s working it off around the house. Ask him which jobs he thinks will be best for her. It kinda reminds me of the punishment of picking your own switch to get beat with. You know the big one’s going to hurt more, but if you pick the small one you’re going to get a longer lashing to make up for it.

    I like the waterskiing idea. Fuck with the kid’s mind. You and Chris sound like you’re both pretty good at it, so each take a turn and have the driver get a little nasty. Play it up, and then argue over who gets to drive for Scott… 😈

  12. Lisa, first of all, I hope this is the end of the lying and stealing. But from what I am reading, I think you and Chris handled things great. You are open with your daughter. My sister had problems like this with her daughter. They too had age limits and rules for what constitutes a date etc. Jen broke the rules. Sis reacted much like you. Sis grounded her and during the punishment, Sis and hubby had Jen write an essay on why she was grounded. They wrote out their reasons etc. They gave her a 2 week period to get it done. When she handed it in, they sat down and compared notes, and openly discussed the vast differences in their reasons. They then waited another week and asked for a new essay. This time, Jen understood why she was being punished and knew that there are reprocussions for her actions.
    Good luck! Oh man, it is stories like this that make me happy that I am an aunt!:smile:

  13. Boy, you guys give some great advice.

    Redfred – it’s a relief to hear from someone who has been through this. Melissa’s brother is a year and a half older and they couldn’t be more different if they had been born on opposite sides of the world and raised by two different families. Ben, my son, is friends with this Scott kid at school – – he attests to the fact that Scott is a great kid, a teacher’s pet (go figure, he probably remembers their birthdays too) and an honor roll student. Locks on the windows don’t sound like a bad idea, really. I’ll have to talk to Chris about that one.

    Jeannette – Scott is 15. He’s only a year older than her – and he doesn’t drive, no. Not yet, anyways – I’m sure he’ll be getting his temps pretty soon, though. They can’t talk during school hours because they go to different schools. But I do know he gets out of school at 2:30 – she gets out at 3:30. I suspect that she talks to him on her friends cell phone in those minutes where she is waiting for the bus. Or, he walks down to her school and waits for the bus with her.

    Gareth Parenting is hard and there was NO “parenting for dummies” book available either! Thankfully, she’s not on drugs and I really don’t think she’s having sex wtih this kid – – but believe me the talks about sex have been, and will be, more frequent and often!

    Charlie Confronting him with the evidence is a good idea. I don’t think Melissa has been 100% forthcoming on why she’s been grounded. She’s probably portraying it as an overreactive mother and an overprotective…’father’ (Chris isnt’ her father, but he may as well be). I think it’s a good idea to sit him down and talk to him about why all this has happened. It isn’t his fault, really – except that he choose an idiot for a girlfriend 😈

    Astro – Screw with his head? Oh yes – we’ve discussed this one at length, Chris and I. I tend to be more forgiving than Chris – – and I’ll probably be easier on the kid than Chris will. Scott has NO idea when it comes to Chris. Just the fact alone that he dared call Chris to wish him a Happy Birthday. Scott just doesn’t know how lucky he was that Chris was on a conference call and could not take Scott’s call. lol

    Pam – An essay is a grand idea that I believe I will have her do this week – -and then again at the end of her grounding. I told her that she’s too young not to be given a second chance with this thing – – but she HAS to learn her mistakes, understand them and NEVER make them again. IT’s time that she grows up – – not easy at that age . . but with trust, comes responsibility — and with all that comes a maturity level that she’ just hasn’t displayed yet. Be VERY happy that you are an aunt! 🙂

    Thanks, guys!

  14. The essay sounds like a good idea, sometimes when you have to write things down you have to think harder about what the problems are, might help you prioritize too.

    Certainly you need to be careful if you decide to try and screw with their heads. We thought about it, motion detectors and sitting in the back garden waiting in the shaddows, and while they would have been immediatly gratifying and would have made us heros to the other parents, we opted for a heart to heart face to face show down. We already knew a lot and basically made her confess her sins, along with several we didn’t know about. For a long while it cleared the air, but it was hard for us to trust her after that. We are for the most part through it all now, the only suprise we have left is the Mom, Dad, how do you feel about grandparenting? and we both expect that any minute.

    Oooo one more thing when / if you allow her to start dating link it to her grades, she can date as long as she maintains a certain level, she falls behind and no more dating until she has brought them back up again, we found that the school would send home a report card every second Tuesday if we requested.

  15. Waitaminute – over an hour to get sugar from the store a block away. Are you sure it’s Scott’s fault and not your cooking??? 😈 😛

    While you’re worrying about all the things going wrong with Melissa dating, look at the bright side of things. Just think about when Scott starts driving. Think of the fun you’ll have when he pulls into your driveway in his conversion van and you and Chris can give him the driving test of backing in and out of your driveway to make sure he’s a good enough driver for your little girl to ride with.

    I also love the idea of meeting the guy at the door with a wooden baseball bat with questions burned into it like:
    “Define an inappropriate touch”
    “What time will my little girl be home?”
    “What’s your favorite color?”
    “What attracted you to my little girl?”

    Yes, although mrs. knight wants a daughter, she’s also afraid of it for some reason… :mrgreen:

  16. I once asked one of the guys my daughter was dating what he thought about Safe sex, he replied “no sex is safe sex, sir” then went and slept with her cocky son of a bitch.

  17. Gosh. The first two things that come to mind is:
    1) Take up drinking.
    2) Change your long distance plan (20 cents a minute!).

    But seriously I don’t know what to say. I was a pretty good kid and when I wasn’t – not getting caught went a long way…

    I usually kept my mom in the loop. Even when we were skipping school (Empire Strikes Back opens Wednesday Mom so don’t if there’s an emergency). It’s not like she wrote me a note or anything to excuse me but it was way the heck better than her not finding me there for some reason and panicking. Plus I generally managed to find a job so long distance calls would have been my problem (but $1300 would have been tricky to cover). Although I probably would have been a little more subversive and gotten a calling card of my own (or discreetly billed them to a third party).

    My groundings were limited and generally justified even by me at that time.

  18. There is the traditional “put her in a large barrel and feed her through the bung hole”.

    Remember, she’s only 14. You still have 15, 16, 17, …

    More seriously, what my parents did was talk to my girlfriend’s parents, and my brothers’ girlfriends’ parents, and my sister’s boyfriends’ parents.

    They also talked to potential _friends’ parents. And we didn’t find out about it until years after we’d all left highschool. Maybe this can’t be done these days.

    She’s lucky in that she has parents who are concerned about her; I’ve seen too many whose parents think their children are adults at ten.

  19. Astro, as I have told you many times at R.V.”You are an ass in the most loving sense of the word”:smile: You kill me!

  20. *points to self* Just got over my, “fuck the world, I’m doing what I want” stage… I’ve gotten over my self thankgod. And I’ve not got much crap to pull like that anymore, since my “beau” lives 7 hours away from me, and my parents know every single fact about him.

    To tell you the truth, she could be doing mannnnny things. Do you see that she gets into bed each night? Is the ground accessible through any windows in her room? Do your stairs make the slightest noise as you walk down them?

    If this Scott kid was amazing and a really good kid all over, your daughter would be telling you that. If she isn’t opening up to you about him, there is obviously something she wants to hide.

    My suggestions are: Padlock her door, and nail shut the windows, for all you know she’s jumping 10 feet from the second floor and right into his car.

  21. Hi.. I just ran across your website. I feel it is to better to be too strict than not enough in this situation. I think hormones and the newness of infatuation will make people do anything. During this time in your daughter’s life I would be around her as much as possible. Education is also key..as far as safety issues. I really feel for you. My children are younger and I am not looking forward to this.

  22. ^^ sorry to scare you.

    And one more thing,

    I’ve found that going through all the crap I went thru, the more my parents punished me, the more angry and rebellious I got.

    I made big mistakes, and thats how I learned. I’m sure you don’t want your daughter to go through that, but it might be a good idea to scare her out of doing certain things.

    BUT, I could be wrong, and they probably aren’t doing anything bad, but just keep it in mind.

  23. Maybe you just need some more quality time together. Have you thought of watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High together???? 😈

  24. Trouble is there is no right thing to do, punish her and turn her away, be linient and you encourage her to continue…. you can’t win, you just have to hope nothing really bad happens, and don’t think your boy is as innocent as he appears either…. Scott is someones sugar wouldn’t melt in his mouth model son.

  25. By constantly punishing her and what not, she will find ways to go around it and possibly become more rebellious.. If anything, if she wants to talk to Scott, let her, but tell her she can only be on the phone for certain times of the day.. You’re not quite monitoring her, but you know she’s not going behind your back..

    When he’s on vacation, tell her to let you know. Maybe you can give her a limit to say a half hour each week he is gone.. so it shows you understand that she wants to talk to him, but there has to be a limit.. (well, at least after she pays off that $1300 bill)

    Good luck…

  26. I am going to try hard to be succinct here. Not easy, since this is a subject I gained expert status about as a single mom, raising a ‘high-spirited’ son who chafed at the parental reins more than once – who grew into one of the most wonderful men I’ve ever known.

    At 14, Melissa is at the beginning of the precarious journey to adulthood. There will never again be so many opportunities – one right after the other – for her to acquire a wealth of information about how life works and what pieces of it need to be revered and held sacred, above all else. How impetuous decisions, made without considering the consequences, can leave you with a HUGE mess that takes a long time clean up.

    Not to mention the sting in your soul when you realize you’ve disappointed the person whose approval is such a primordial need and whose loyalty you could always count on.

    The issue here is trust. And honor.

    That’s the only issue worth talking about.

    All the noise about what she did, who she did it with, why she did it and how much it’s going to cost her in time or money is not nearly as important as the single resounding and relentless message she needs to hear: She has now become the sole caretaker of an element of her life that is her greatest potential strength, while at the same time the most fragile thing she’ll ever be steward of. How well she manages or mismanages this piece of who she is will indelibly impact the rest of her life.

    She needs to understand – without question – that it’s not about how or with whom or for how much money she broke your trust – it’s that she broke it at all.

    She needs to understand – without question – that the trust you’ve had in her, by default – cuz that’s what we do with our children when we love them that much – has been shattered. How does SHE plan to glue all those pieces back together? SHE’S created a terrible mess. It’s *her* responsibility to fix it. How does SHE plan to do that?

    Don’t get derailed by the details of the way she did it. It’s not about Scott. It’s not about her sleuthing out a phone. It’s not about the $1300 phone bill (though I’d ride her butt hard as nails – get it on paper — about how she plans to pay that bill, all the way thru college and her first job!!) Don’t get sidetracked by whether or not to have Scott over for dinner, or to install padlocks or clandestine cameras, etc etc etc.

    The over-arching statement she needs to hear — like Chinese Water Torture: “You broke my trust in you. We don’t do that in this family. I would never have expected you to do that. It makes me feel so sad, especially when I try to imagine what it will take for me to trust you again.”

    That’s where the screws are that will keep her feet (and heart and soul) to the fire to learn something she’ll not forget for the rest of her life. It’s HER mess. She betrayed the person who’s cared more for her than anyone in her life ever will. SHE needs to fix it. SHE needs to spend as much time as it takes, holed up in her room with no distraction, to come up with a plan about how SHE intends to glue all the pieces back together.

    And then she needs to demonstrate to you, every step of the way, that she’s capable of following through, winning back your trust. And, until you see evidence – until she can articulate what her plan is and what behaviors you can expect from her — she can expect to be treated like a “little girl” too young to handle the autonomy that a trustworthy 14-year-old deserves.

    This is about consequences. And accountability. It’s not so simple as …just a phase”… or ….we all did it….. It’s a damn Big Deal. I applaud you’re treating it that way. Nothing should give Melissa the idea that “…. Mom’ll get over it …..” Regardless of the uproar and inconvenience it creates in your family, it’s absolutely worth it.

    Bottom line: Mom’s not gonna get over it until Melissa walks the talk. It could take a month. It could take a year. It’s her call. It’s a tiny box she’s put herself in, and she needs to feel the squeeze. And work her way out.

    I cringe a bit at the idea of padlocks and nailed windows – sounds a bit too much like jail? It leaves the problem in your lap, not hers – and it doesn’t solve the right problem? If the problem gets “fixed” via external measures (Mom punishes), she just pays the fine and nothing changes internally.

    I just think it’s SO important that you keep the pressure on her for HER to craft a solution to this breach she’s created. Grounding her and letting her know you’re going to be hyper-vigilant about her every move is a clear message that she’s proven that she’s not ready to be treated as a fledgling adult. If titrated autonomy is what she wants, she’s gonna have to get real creative – and she’s gonna have to be consistent in her efforts to earn that autonomy.

    Sorry for the ramble. It’s just so important for kids to learn how to make *good* decisions for the *right* reasons (“I don’t behave that way…”) vs the wrong (“It’s all about me….to hell with who has to pay…..or gets hurt….”)

    Stand your ground, Lisa. Look her in the eye and give it to her straight. Provide her with the opportunity to experience consequences. Expect her to be accountable. Let her figure out how to convince you to lighten up on the leash and don’t apologize for it.

    It’s an investment in her future.

  27. Wow, I can’t plow through all the comments. I just want to say you handled it very well. Also your girl isn’t so bad, she has mostly been honest, just devious as well. My son (15) is similar. He’ll do wrong but then ‘fess up. My advice is stick with what you said you’d do and after 7/1 start happily from a fresh slate. If you ease up you will have busted the dam. Keep to your word and she will get through this phase and start to act more mature as she gets older. The dividends could be enormous. If you falter, on the other hand, oy. Then you’ll maybe learn why I’M glad I didn’t have daughters.

  28. you need to find a happy medium. If you ground your kid and forbid her to see the guy, it just makes sneaking around more exciting. Tell her she can see him only at your house, when you’re around… and keep a watchful eye.

  29. There’s no way that I can add any advice at all, but I just thought I’d let you know that you’ve scared me to death.

    I have daughters aged 14 and 12, but they live with their mum who is incredibly, crazily liberal and god only knows what happens in their lives, particularly the older one. I see them twice a month, and it can leave me weeping – I am way out of the loop when it comes to any control at all. I wish, WISH, that their mum was even a little bit more like you.

    Good luck.

  30. Hey Lisa,
    If I were you, I’d take Lara’s advice since she said she just got out of this phase herself! RedFred’s too!

    I’d be inclined to nail the windows shut, and I’m not kidding. Seriously–when you hear about preteen/teenaged girls getting raped or going missing, it’s almost ALWAYS when they sneak out, and you can’t tell them that because it’s always “it won’t happen to me.”

    You know that line about how you can tell when a teenager is lying…by their lips moving!

    My stepdaughter was into the same thing at that age, and we had to be VERY strict, because her mother had already let her run wild before she moved in with us. She was pissed about having rules, especially when her friends’ parents were more lenient (shockingly so, if you ask me). But as she got older, she started to understand it in retrospect. I’m tellin’ ya, nip it in the bud NOW. A 14 year-old doesn’t need THAT much “freedom” or coed social life. Good for you for cracking down; just don’t even budge. Make her decide whether running around and lying is worth the punishment associated with it. Let it be her “choice”–figure out what she values and take it away when she breaks the rules, so she can see that breaking the rules isn’t worth the price. (IMHO, phone restriction isn’t major consequences.)

    I know most of us are saying “be tough” and it’s easy when it’s not our child we’re talking about, but y’know, objectivity is sometimes a good thing. 😉

    Finally, if it were me–maybe it’s wrong–but I would probably be reminding her of the lying every time she says something that you question even a little. As in, “why should I believe you? Don’t tell me, show me.” But that’s just me. Lying is the Cardinal Sin, to me.

  31. Oh and BTW, my parents were very strict with my sister and me, and we hated it. But neither of us had to deal with some of the nightmarish situations that other kids with permissive parents found themselves in! I’m thankful as an adult that I wasn’t allowed to screw up, and I tell them that all the time. Melissa will thank you, too. Besides, you know kids/teenagers want to know their parents care about their well-being, anyway.

  32. Yikes..I have to say that personally, I did all that stuff plus things that were 50x worse. I stole my mother’s car one weekend, didn’t come home for days, etc…BUT..it was just something I went through and I did get over it. My mother raised me well, and even though I made rotten decisions at 15 and 16 years old, my head was on straight and I never put myself into desperate or dangerous situations. And now?? I’m 34 with a daughter of my own and my mom laughs her eee-vil laugh and reminds me constantly that it’s coming back around. I still call her and apologize for stuff I did back then…
    It will be ok..you might have a few gray hairs in the end, but it will be ok.

  33. Well I’m going to throw my 2 cents in here . I just turned 21 so this stage wasn’t too long ago for me. I think the best thing you can do is to be open and honest with your daughter as much as possible. My mother and I have maintained a friendship type relationship for as long as I can remember. I tell her just about everything. We didn’t get there over night though. I can say this, I never snuck around my parents back because they allowed me to do what other parents wouldn’t let their kids do. I never had a curfew as long as I had a good reason to be out and didn’t mind my mom calling my cell phone to check in. I never had to lie to her about going to parties. I guess she knew I would do it anyways so she might as well know where I’m really going to be rather than have me lie to her. Did I drink some? Yes, but I always knew I could call her to come get me and she wouldn’t blow up at me. We had the sex talk to. She told me all the stuff to scare me but then told me if I wasn’t going to listen to come toh er first and tell her so I could get on birth control. Well I did and to her credit she kept her word. In my opinion, you’re not going to keep your kids from doing much. The best you can do is to make where they can talk to you about things and aren’t afraid to call you when they get in over their heads. All my friends did the same things I did, but they snuck around and their parents didn’t have a clue. Atleast my mom knew where I was going to be and what I was really doing even if she wasn’t happy about it.

    I think that grounding your daughter for her behavior is the way to go. I also think that once this is over that maybe yall could reconsider the dating thing. This Scott kid sounds like a good guy. He probably doesn’t know all the trouble that has been going on. Maybe if she was allowed to see him once her punishment is over, she would realize there is no need to go behind your backs. Just let her know that her seeing him depends on whether or not she can be mature about it. That way if she messes up, she has no one to blame but herself.

    Be firm but listen to her as well. Don’t be afraid to compromise as long as she keeps up her end of the deal. Know she’s going to make mistakes but be sure she knows she can come to you when she does.

  34. a lot of good advice here. i agree with dinner. get to know him. it’s definitely possible he doesn’t know what the girl has done. but it’s also appropriate as a a motivation to keep the girl on the restriction. with summer comes better weather, and no more school. that means it is easier to sneak out at night, and the temptation will increase.

    squash it now. give her real goals she can attain as long as she stays on the straight and narrow. let the boy come over for dinner and a movie on the weekends. but only if she continues her chores….. otherwise, it’s off to the all girls school in latvia!

  35. Annie #30 – wow. talk about cutting to the heart of the matter!

    That’s one of the best things I’ve ever read on child rearing. Anywhere.

  36. Aw heck Lisa, I just re- read all this and it still doesn’t sound any better…. all of what we offer is good advice, but at the end of the day it is only advice, we don’t know you or your daughter anywhere near as well as we ought to to be giving you all this. I think the most promising thing is that so many of us have been through what you have some better some worse, and we have all come through it. play your instincts, they are by far the best indicators of the right course, be careful not to over do it what ever course you take, over play the “you broke my trust” angle and she’ll think “Mom don’t trust me anyway”.

    At least you are starting on this path early in her life, hopefully she will come out the other side before she hits 18, our problem was that in the middle of all this she hit 18. Good luck again, and I don’t envy you….. or me, I still have three more to get through this.

  37. If I had ever had daughters (3 boys, luckily) I had decided that the first time a young man came calling I was going to introduce him to my .223 and inform him of the muzzle velocity magazine capacity, range, and fire rate. Then I would tell him what his best defense would be (run away very quickly, in a zig-zag pattern) if he did anything to hurt my daughter or her reputation. You could try that with Scott. That will surely get in his head. Of course, you would need to have a .223 or similar “scary looking gun” to pull it off.

    I have decided that the first time my boys go out on a date, they will get the same treatment. I will do whatever I can to make sure my sons behave in a way that is honorable and courteous.

  38. Hi,
    Ok, just relax a little…
    She needs someone she feels comfortable to approach – are you that person? If not, why not?
    At 14 she’s learning about adult hood. If you restrict her too much – she will find ways around you.
    Make your rules basic i.e. what time she has to be home etc and enforce those rules to the hilt. But when it comes to social things with boys etc – make sure she has a mobile phone for safety. have a fast dial on it under the heading ICE (in case of emergancy). But right now she needs you as her friend and guide through this mine field of first real feelings (and they are real). So, be understanding and take your emotions out of the equation.

  39. harbormaster has a good idea, but with the wrong person it could easily backfire. Be subtle. When my aunt first brought my uncle home to meet the family, my Dad decided that would be the perfect time to clean a few guns in the middle of the living room. Subtle… :mrgreen:

  40. Wow. After 40-some comments, there is very little advice left to give, except for that I am better friends with my parents today at 29 because they were strict than I would be if they had tried to be my friend at 15. So from where I am coming from, stricter was better.

    Oh, and one more thing-does she read your website? If so, she’s going to be prepared for anything you toss at her-not always a good thing. But then again, with all this nail the windows/chastity belt talk, maybe it’ll scare her straight. 😆

  41. oh, one really smart thing some friends of mine do with their daughters, (15 & 16). they bought them the cool cellphones with cameras.

    the girls loved them and thought they had the coolest parents ever, but the real motive:

    so that when they were ‘out’, and calling back for checkins, their parents could demand they take a picture of where they were, right then. complete with wristwatch in frame, to know they weren’t lieing.

  42. First, I would scub any pictures and all descriptions of my hot daughter’s looks and interests from the website. Predators abound and I have heard/read two stories about how info used in websites ended up with stalker-type situations.

    I would talk with the boy’s family. Say I need help teaching my daughter proper behavior, responsibility, boundaries. That the problem isn’t her son, but my daughter’s behavior.

    Any return of privileges comes with monitoring and review. I would get a key ghost and review any activity on the net by her. I would consider a web cam that she had to check in on after school or whenever I am away from home.

    I would have her volunteer in the nursery at church watching two- and three-year-olds for a month. Either that or have her babysit at a shelter or some other place that helps out girls in tough situations.

    I think grounding and revocation of privileges are good. I think she may need help getting the big picture of the road she is heading down. I would also worry that she doesn’t think enough of herself to conduct herself in an honest, forthright way. That she doesn’t understand the her character is defined by the choices she makes. I’m not sure how you make this point without talking with her and showing her examples of people who made similar choices.

  43. The only other thing I will add: My reading indicates that organized sports and positive, regular, loving interaction with Dad can have an enormous impact in shaping how a young girl feels about herself and how she expects to be treated by men.

    Dad: it’s not what he says when she is a teenager so much as how he treats her over time, time he spends with her. The strongest role model will always be the same sex parent, but Dad has a big role in helping the daughter through the next seven years of her life and helping her establish standards with respect to other men.

    Suggestion: Once a month father-daughter time. Away from everyone else. No agenda, no forced communication. Just time and friendly ears.

  44. Lisa, I’ve never read your blog before, I followed a link from Boots & Sabers. I don’t know if you’re still taking suggestions but here’s my two cents.

    I couldn’t disagree more with comment #1. Kids only rebel because we put restrictions on them?? Well, that’s one way of looking at it. And criminals only commit crime because we outlaw certain activities. Sadly, even adults can’t always be trusted to make good decisions. Kids are even less capable.

    Her well-being is not some experiment for you to run. Telling her “I told you so” when she winds up pregnant, infected, raped, or worse is not an adequate form of parenting.

    I think you are taking appropriate measures. The specific punishments / groundings are for you to decide, because you know her best – but the important thing is that you stick to your guns. She is too young to understand the implications of what she is doing.

    Does it matter that you may have done the same thing at that age? No!! You didn’t have the maturity that you now have – and she doesn’t have it, either. That’s why parents have to do the hard work, even when it conflicts directly with what your kids want.

    And she really IS too young. She might be old enough to be supervised with boys, as parents did a couple of hundred years ago – but not to be allowed to “date” as though she were really ready for that. But it’s a hard line to draw. Cell phones and the internet only make it worse.

    And the parents who disagree with you – who allow their junior-high girls to dress like Brittney Spears, who freely give them boob jobs, cell phones, internet access and birth control – are in the wrong. They take the easy way out, attempting to justify things by treating their daughters as little adults with the sense that 30-year-olds have. Well, they both wind up paying the price.

    Why should you believe me? I’m a police officer and a prosecutor. I know a great deal about the activities, and maturity levels, of an awful lot of kids. Just because they are old enough to drive and to get into PG-13 movies does not make them adults. This goes double for the boys of course.

    Keep it up, and good luck! – Dave

  45. hey my names amy! im 14! my boyfriends parents band him from seeing me a wile back!! as they disapproved!!!i just wanted to say that, it really really hurts wen parents do that, wateva there reason maybe!i dont think you should do that to your daughter! my boyfriend hated his parents for it!we are not even aloud to be friends no more! i understand wat your daughter did was wrong, and the lieing must of hurt you…but being to hard on her can make things worse! in later years, your daughter will look back n see how cross you were with her, and shell no wat she did was wrong…but if she went to that much effort!then he meant sumthing to her! n parents think they have the rite to put a end to it! but it doesnt end!!

  46. she does babysit when she can get the work… but at 14, she’s too young in this state to get a ‘real’ job quite yet .. and school is out, but thanks for the tip 🙂

    Trust me, we’re keeping that girl busy around here after her shanaigans! 🙂

  47. hi, i noticed all your comments are from adults, which yes is probably what you wanted but its not really helping you see how melissa is feeling, so i thought i might say something. i came onto this website by accident but i decided to read it after seeing that it kind of reminded me of something i did when i was 14. im only 16 now, that why i think i might be able to tell you how shes feeling after all of this. i think if i were a mother i would have probably done the same thing, i know my mom basically did the same thing for me after i lied to go see a boy i liked. but…i dont think you should make it so she cant see the boy anymore, and i think maybe you shouldnt assume things of her so much. and yes i know i sound like a typical teen rebeling against parents but…i promise i see your point in everything you did. its just, sometimes parents get it into their heads that if a kid messes up they’ll turn into this horrible kid, which ill admit does happen sometimes…but she sounds like a pretty smart girl right? so im sure shes learned by now, id hope at least. and as for the boy, if hes calling your family just to be nice, it shows he really likes her. right? yes. hes trying..shes trying. give them a chance? but again, thats just my insight from a teen i guess.

  48. I got myself in trouble the first time I dated. My parents forbid me to see the guy I was dating that time. I cried my heart out. I sort of hated my parents for doing that. Then I realized I was at fault. All they wanted was for me to be safe. I could have been in bigger trouble had they not done what they did. As for you, try to understand what your daughter is going through. She’ll appreciate it.

  49. Hi, I’m only 11 years old, but all my friends are going through the same things as Melissa. They’ve all becoming dumber and flunking in school! I’m the only one who’s getting good grades and I think I’m missing out on things. All my friends are just starring at stupid, gorilla guys. This sucks! HELP!

  50. hi,
    i’m actually getting a little scared from all the comments! I am
    14 years old and dating. I think I would die if my parents forbade me to see him. To me, it sounds like you don’t trust your daughter. What girl hasn’t lied to her parents about a guy, or anything else? I also think you’re being a bit harsh on her. She’s got to be
    pretty sorry and yet you keep on withmthe punishments and all. If my parents did something like this to me, i would just want to rebel more. We always get our way, somehow or another, and there’s no
    way our parents or anyone else can really stop us. You have to
    let her be a teenager sooner or later.

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