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Ask Dr. Keane Your Own Question

Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1760
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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Hi Dr. Laura - I have a 15 year daughter that is a sophomore

Resolved Question:

Hi Dr. Laura -

I have a 15 year daughter that is a sophomore in high school. She gets good grades is very pretty, is boy crazy and is a varsity cheerleader.

When she was 14 her mom and I thought it would be ok for her to have a guy that she could hang out with. Hanging out to us meant with other kids in a home or party with parents around.

We discovered after about a year of this "hanging out" that she and her friend had kissed and masturbated each other during an older step sisters (his sisters) birthday party. We put an end to that relationship.

Over the past 20 days there is a soon to be 18 year old sr in high school that has taken an interest in her. Within a week I caught them kissing. A week after that he asked her to homecoming. They have both changed their relationship status on facebook to "in a relationship". They see each other often at school and in a group setting.

Now my wife and I are not agreeing on the right course. I believe that 15 is too young to be hanging out with an 18 year old. He has asked her to the homecoming dance which is in 3 weeks.

My wife has taken a poll with friends and 8-1 her friends are saying it's ok for my daughter to hang out with this young man.

My feelings are a) I don't want to force her into his arms b) she is too young to be in an exclusive relationship c) shouldn't go to a dance (on a date) until she is 16.

Am I being overprotective?

Thank you!

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I see this question has been posted for awhile and Dr. Laura has not been online so i will offer my assistance. First, the more you attempt to keep your daughter away from this young man, the more apt she is to want to be with him and possibly do something you don't approve of just because she is a teen and learning to express independence, and you told her "no". Second, a dance is fine, especially homecoming. You aren't so much being overprotective as you are not understanding the "rules" of kids today. Yes, they need boundaries but they also need to be able to make their own decisions whether they are right or wrong, that's how they learn. Punishment doesn't work, set some ground rules, and let her have a voice in what they are, then let go. If she follows the rules all is well, if she doesn't then she needs to "earn" the right to .......???(fill in the blank, have her phone back, go somewhere), keep it simple though. If she is experimenting sexually, teach her about being safe rather than telling her it's wrong. We, as adults know the trouble she can get in but if you tell her up front that you would rather wait a few years before being sexually active and give her the information about disease, pregnancy and how she may be viewed by the opposite sex, then let her make the choice. You have done your job as a parent. I know this sounds permissive but it's not. You want to have to engage her in dialog, listen to what she is telling you, not tell her what she should and shouldn't be doing. You don't have to agree with her but interaction is key. There is a great book I suggest all parents read and use everyday. It's called Surviving your Adolescents by Thomas Phelan, I believe they even made a DVD of the book. It's a smart guide to help you navigate these years. They are much different from when you were that age. I hope this answers your question.

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Edited by Dr. Keane on 8/25/2010 at 4:58 PM EST
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