No, I Won't Helicopter Parent My Teen's Love Life!

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They are almost 17 -- and I suggest we stay out of it.

This is the comment I made to a friend and mom of my daughter's boyfriend when she called me this weekend under the guise of a real estate question that really morphed in to a "is my son going out with your daughter, again?" question.

Here's the background story. They met in the 9th grade. By the early spring they were officially "going out" according to my daughter. He is a wonderful kid -- lacrosse, great student, shy and good morals. He was at our home just about every day after school. And usually all weekend. He followed her around like a puppy.

By the summer, after my daughter spent three weeks as a counselor-in-training at a camp in the mountains, she dumped him for some goober she met there. During her three weeks at camp he emailed her every day. I read these emails because they went through my account. They were all totally G-rated, but the sappiest "I am so lonely here without you, I love you more than you know, I can't sleep knowing you are away" kind of emails that anyone could have sent. I knew then that he was going to be toast when she came home. She only replied to him three times.

He was devastated. He even walked to our house from his (five miles) in 90+ degree summer heat to pick up his things. My husband I felt incredibly bad about it. I made her talk to him in person and not use the text from her phone to do her dirty work. When I asked her what the deal was, she said it was just too much. He focused solely on her. It scared the shit out of her.

She dumped goober from camp soon thereafter. For her 10th grade year, it was pretty much business as usual. My daughter and nice ex-boyfriend became great friends. They relied on each other to help with their various dramas and dating expeditions. Until this school year began.


Over the past 18 months, I have seen my daughter grow up, mature -- even if it's a teeny bit -- and emerge out of her 9th and 10th grade darkness. Those weren't the best years for her academically or socially. Her ADD makes her think in black and white. There is no grey in her world. All of the girl drama at her school was too much, and so she elected this year to go to a small private school where she is excelling. And she is back with lacrosse boy again.

I sensed this summer that this was going to happen. They spent all summer together as friends and hung with a group of other fun kids and had a great time. I am happy for both of them. My only advice to her was that if she was going to do this again, she better know in her heart that she really likes him and that she better not break his heart again. She's the happiest I have seen her in a long time. She said that "it was right there under my nose the whole time but I didn't appreciate it 18 months ago." I believe her; I know my daughter.

That said, his mom beat around the bush on the phone with me until she got to the real meat of the matter. I knew where this was going.

She said that her ex-husband was not a fan of my daughter after what happened in the 9th grade. She doesn't want her son to be the "runner up because I have no other options right now" boyfriend. They don't want to see him get hurt by her again. How do we know that he won't royally dump HER this time? I was pissed to say the least.

Am I wrong to suggest to her that we stay out of their so-called love life? Am I wrong to be upset that she called me to fish for answers to questions she cannot get out of her own son because he does not share with them? Am I wrong to be incredibly pissed at the comment, "I just think he likes her because there is an edge to her"...? Because she isn't like all the other flat-ironed, heavy makeup, Miss Me Jeans, Tory Burch shoes and Vera bag girls that go to that school. That she marches to the beat of her own drummer (and believe me she is normal -- average-jeans and a t-shirt ponytail kid of girl-still a tomboy)?

They are TEENAGERS. They are not having sex or doing drugs or even sneaking out drinking. I know because they are at my home all the time, and totally accessible to me at any moment. Seriously. My motto has always been not to jump into her life unless she is doing something dangerous to herself or to others. I am not going to think this high school relationship is any more than it is. I am not going to interfere and give her any advice that could further ruin her relationships with men in the future. If she doesn't learn now, she never will. And neither will he.

Am I crazy?


Mary Anne
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Photo Credit: itsdanielwang.

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