Straight Talk Advice

Jun 22, 2011

Young man’s love is tested

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: Please help. I am 17. My girlfriend, “Tina,” is 15. Her mom is really strict and thinks I just want to take advantage of Tina (which I don’t). Last night, while I was home sleeping, Tina ran away to a friend’s house and her mom called the cops thinking I had taken her. Though I had nothing to do with it, she says I can’t talk to Tina again. She hates me because we went to a movie together without her knowledge. (Tina told her she was going with a friend.) Later, at school, I offered to shake her hand and she flat-out refused, yelling at me about “using” her daughter. We love each other very much. How can I possibly continue this relationship when her mom hates me? I don’t want to hurt Tina’s feelings. Help! I need ideas! — Going Crazy in Marysville, Calif.

Rachel 19, Petaluma, Calif. Ask me a question

All big time love stories have obstacles, If you love her, fight for her. But keep in mind that you are both young and a mother is important in a girl’s life. Also really examine whether being together is benefiting your lives. There may be more cons then pros.

Sarah 19, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

My parents disliked my former boyfriend. It helped when he had an actual conversation with them. They got to know him and his intentions, and he learned their rules and where they were coming from. It sounds like Tina and her family have some problems. She would probably benefit from your support.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

Tina is causing the trouble by being dishonest and rebellious — and her mother is blaming you. I suggest letting things cool down. When you start over, make sure it’s on the right foot. Or find someone who won’t sneak around and destroy things before they start.

Will 17, Toledo, Ohio Ask me a question

Parents will always be initially hostile toward a boy two years older. It’s immature to deny you a chance when you’ve done nothing wrong. However, because of your age, I advise ending this relationship. There are too many negative factors.

Jesse 18, Brockport, N.Y. Ask me a question

Stop being scared of her mom. You want a great relationship, she wants her daughter safe. Sit down with her and share what you’re all about. My girlfriend’s father was the same way. I sat him down and talked things over. You have to get past your fear and show you actually care for this girl. You need to start almost a friendship with her mom.

Omari 17, Wellington, Florida Ask me a question

If you guys are really in love, nothing can stand in the way. Schedule a sit down with Tina and her mother. With the girls I’ve dated, it’s usually the father that’s overprotective. Ask the mother straight, “Why do you not like me?” From there tell her how you feel about her daughter. Share random facts about Tina to show that you know a great deal about this girl you love. In my experience, when you prove that you like more about a girl than her looks, her parents become accepting of the relationship.

*DEAR GOING CRAZY:*It’s impossible to see the whole picture from this snapshot, but I can tell you this: These obstacles are nothing compared to what the adult world will dish up. Think of this as a test — because it is. Love requires guts and perseverance. I agree with the panelists who say you need to face Tina’s mother and prove yourself (which may involve repeated tries). If you have the courage and dedication to do this, things might work. If you cannot face her mother — or “just don’t want to deal with it” — either your love isn’t as strong as you think, or you (and Tina) need more time to grow up.

Editor’s Note: It wasn’t long ago that boys had to prove themselves repeatedly to parents. Behavior like Tina’s mom’s wasn’t uncommon and if a boy came to the door in his Sunday best, he still might get it slammed in his face. It definitely separated the men from the boys, so to speak, the fair-weather suitors from those willing to endure hardship. Today, there are few tests of love and even fewer boys who want to go through them when they are presented. There are too many alternatives that don’t present challenges.

That said, that was then, this is now. Adolescents are a product of society (which is considerably looser than a generation ago), as much as their home life. When the two clash, the temperament of the child often determines which wins. Some kids are naturally more rebellious than others, but a parent’s tactics can either soften this tendency or fire it up. The best parenting approach involves open dialogue between parent and child. Teens REALLY want to be understood. When the parent listens to them with warmth, curiosity and compassion, not faking any of it, while at the same time communicating personal values and setting clear expectations, kids tend to be happier and less rebellious than when parents are strictly authoritarian or overly indulgent. —Lauren

  1. By Mother of 2 Teen Girls, age , from Santa Cruz, CA on 06/22/2011

    I agree with Katelyn!  Until you prove otherwise,  you’re going to be associated with Tina’s dishonesty and untrustworthiness.  Tina’s mom would undoubtedly be grateful if she perceived you as a good influence.  But if Tina seems bent on being rebellious, you’ll get sucked into all her dramas.  Might be wise to let Tina grow up a bit!

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  2. By Ted, age , from Roseville, CA on 06/24/2011

    My girlfriend’s mom will no longer trust me just because I didn’t get her home until 1:30 a.m. when her curfew is 1:00 a.m. which I think everybody would agree is way to early in these days.  This was on a Saturday, not a school night! Her mom wouldn’t even have known but her little sister who she has to share a room with was mad at her and told on her.  Now I have to have her home by 11:00 p.m. because that’s when her mom goes to bed and she has to make sure she’s home because she says she can’t trust either one of us for her make her curfew by the honor system.  I think this is totally stupid and unreasonable.

    Ted

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  3. By Liz, age , from El Dorado Hills, CA on 06/24/2011

    Our mom and dad won’t trust my sister and me or our boyfriends anymore just because we did one stupid thing.  We have a hot tub.  My sister and I use it together in the nude and with girlfriends and our parents are cool with that.  But they have a strict rule that we must wear bathing suits if we use it with our boyfriends.  We had our boyfriends over when our parents were gone and originally were going to follow the rule.  My sister and I changed into bathing suits in our room while the guys changed in another room.  On a lark, at my sister’s boyfriend’s suggestion, we took off our bathing suits.  There was no sex and it was dark and we were in the water, so you couldn’t really see very much.  You can guess what happened.  Our parents came home early and caught us and were furious.  They made our boyfriends go home and grounded us to our room for a month.  The worst part is that we can only have our boyfriends over when our parents are home.  They are forbidden to enter our room at any time, and we cannot use the hot tub with them at all.  I agree that we should not have done it and deserved the grounding as punishment.  But the other conditions are permanent and we think that is going to far.  We learned our lesson, so we think we should be given another chance, but they don’t see it that way.  The lesson is that you shouldn’t do something that will lose your parents’ trust because it is very hard to win it back.

    Liz

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  4. By Marcie, age , from Redding, CA on 06/24/2011

    I think you got off easy Liz.  I think our mom would have grounded me and my sister for life if we did what you did and I’m not exaggerating.  She got upset and grounded us for a week just because she found out that we went skinny dipping at a friends house and it was all girls!  There was a fence around the property so the neighbors couldn’t see.  Our friend’s mom said it was OK since it was all girls and even let our friends 11 year old sister join us who found it great fun to skinny dip with the “big girls.”  But our mom says something like this will make us gay if you can believe that!  LOL LOL LOL!  Girls our age see other girls naked all the time in many situations like changing and showering in the locker room at school, sleepovers and slumber parties, and sharing a room like me and my sister and many girls do.  If this made you gay, we’d all be gay, but were not, which proves my point.  Even when we wear bathing suits we all change together in the same room and see each other naked anyway.  But our mom actually thinks it can make you gay and now she says she can’t trust what we might do so we can’t go swimming at our friend’s anymore even if we promise to wear bathing suits.  We still don’t think we did anything wrong or anything that should cause her to lose her trust, but our mom doesn’t see it that way.

    Marcie

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  5. By Suzanne, age , from Carmichael on 06/25/2011

    This idea that many adults have that something is going to “make” you gay is totally stupid.  If your gay your gay and if your straight your straight and as Marcie says, if girls seeing other girls naked made us gay we’d all be gay since it happens all the time, but most of us are straight.  My sister and I also like to skinny dip in our pool on hot nights and when friends spend the night we invite them to join us and most of them do and it’s no big deal since were all girls and all the same.  Our parents are divorced and our mom recently remarried.  We invited our new stepsister to join us when she was staying with us, which she did.  We’re 16 and 15 and she’s 13, but even though she’s younger we still didn’t see a problem since were all girls.  And she was sharing our room so we were undressing in front of each other and seeing each other naked anyway.  However, she mentioned it to her mom and she was furious and read the riot act to our mom and stepdad.  She also insisted that it would make our stepsister gay and thinks we must be gay if we would “corrupt” a younger girl this way.  How stupid!  However, she insists that she no longer share our room because she can’t trust us with her.  Since there’s no other bedroom, it means she has to sleep on the couch and change in the bathroom when she’d rather share our room.  I think it’s sad that some people are so stupid about things like this.

    Suzanne

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  6. By U.L., age , from Seaside, CA on 06/28/2011

    I just would like to comment that this boy will be 18 next year, and his girlfriend “Tina” will only be 16.  He needs to be cautioned that if he continues a relationship with the girl against her mother’s wishes, he could potentially be accused of statutory rape and, if convicted, be required to file as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

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