Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Seething anger to snuggling

Here's a tale of angst and woe for anyone about to be raising a teenage daughter. I know you'll all thank me later on when your kid does something especially stupid and you remember that I told you to stand firm and do not engage. DO NOT ENGAGE. Deep breaths now.

So, my daughter has a boyfriend. She's been 'going out' with him for over a year now. Well over a year. I say 'going out' because I'd absolutely KILL HER if she actually did go anywhere with him. The boyfriend, he is scummy. I do not like him. I do not like his family. I like pretty much nothing about the whole clan. Long long story, but believe me, I have very good reasons upon which to base my dislike.

The Girl is not allowed to go anywhere with the boyfriend. He is not allowed over here ever. They see each other at school and when she can sneak out to see him by lying through her teeth that she's one place when actually she's with him. I catch her in those lies all the time. You know, the joy of parenting a teen. Truth is optional.

I try to restrict her access to him as much as possible. I do usually allow her to talk to him on the phone and I know she IMs him as well. But that's pretty much the allowable contact. I don't want to refuse him completely because that will make him too attractive to pass up. But I want to be sure that both of them know that I'm completely opposed to him being a part of her life. And know it they do.

While we're in Chicago at dinner, I catch her several times with the cell phone under the table, texting. We're in a crowd, I tell her to put the phone away and be polite. The teen sitting next to her is also texting, which didn't help matters much. I also ask who she is texting so ardently, and she tells me it's her girl friend J. I'm not going to make a scene, I just tell her to put the phone away.

Later that night after she's fast asleep and I've been laying awake for hours, the phone vibrates. I pick it up and it's her boyfriend. Mr Scumbag. Sending her some very disgusting porn-esque text messages with words like "my big throbbing cock" and "fingering your clit" in them. Oh man, I am seeing RED. I send him back a message saying that I'm the Girl's mommy and he is NOT to text this phone again. A few minutes later another TM, this time from one of the Girls scummier female friends, asking if she still has her phone. I reply back "no, and do not text this phone again."

When the Girl gets up I ask her casually about the TMs. "Who were you texting?" I ask, and she again tells me J, and then adds her other scummy friend S. I say "And who else?" and she admits that she TMed her boyfriend...once.

Bingo, I've got her cold. I tell her that she's sent 45 TMs to the boyfriend, and he's sent 46 back. None to either friend. I tell her that the content of boyfriend's TMs is unacceptable. I'm not happy.

We go about our day, and after arriving back in Boston I lay down some new rules.

  • She is not to answer the house phone...ever. I will answer the phone and decide who she can talk to.
  • She is not allowed to make calls. If she wants to call a friend, I'll dial the phone. She can talk to any of her friends as long as I dial the phone.
  • She cannot speak to anyone unless she is on the same floor that I'm on. No more taking the handset up to her room for the night and talking away the evening with her scummy boyfriend.

Her initial response to these rule changes was extreme anger. She was furious. Beside herself with rage. She didn't speak to me for two days except to scream at me. This is a stubborn kid and she was sure that with enough rage I'd back down. Heh. Not gonna happen.

So this afternoon she came into my room and started yet another argument over the same topic, only this time she got that not only was I not to back down, but the rules really weren't all that bad. She could see friends, she could talk to friends. All I was asking is for her to allow me to control just who she was contacting.

She admitted that she lies and isn't trustworthy. She admitted that she sneaks around. She admitted that I had a point about the TMs. In fact, she sort of admitted that this was, in a way, a decent way to handle things and that I wasn't being unnecessarily evil. This is a big step for her.

I let her go visit a friend for a couple of hours and she came home early.

But the miracle? She's not mad at me any more, and she's following the rules to the letter. I'm answering the phone, I'm controlling who she can and can't talk to, and that's OK. I let her IM tonight and I'm sure she told scummy boyfriend the rules too, because he didn't call tonight. He calls EVERY freaking night. Ugh. But not tonight! Yahoo.

Before she went up to bed she lay down next to me on the sofa and snuggled.

We're OK again. We weathered a storm, we worked together, she compromised for probably the first time in her life, and we're going to do things the way I want them done without sneaking around.... at least for a while.

Meanwhile, I'm about to have a nervous breakdown because we did this all by ourselves. I think we're both growing up!

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Blogger scribbler said...

Maybe she needed cover to ditch BF? Just being hopeful here.

16/5/08 5:21 PM  

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