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lostmom
lostmom asks:
Q:

Is it smart for my 17 year old son to have a 13 year old girlfriend?

I am not happy or comfortable with this situation at all. Her parents approve of them being together and actually has my son come to their home often. They have invited him to do all kinds of fun things this summer which is wonderful but I am not comfortable with her being so young, she is one year older than my baby son who is 12. I do not like when she visits because they are always cuddling and kissing and I do not like it. Don't get me wrong she is very sweet and lovely but She is like a baby to me. And my son just seems to be to old for her. What should I do?
In Topics: Teen issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Sep 1, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Many times as parents we are not pleased with the choices that our children make.  We are often able to see danger signals in friendships and peer groups.  It is a fact that if relationships are forbidden it makes them more desirable and young people more determined to pursue them. The old "Romeo and Juliet" theory.

It sounds as though the girls' parents are a bit uncomfortable and by encouraging your son and their daughter to be together with the family is their way of observing and monitoring the interactions between the two of them.  When the couple is in your home, make sure to interact with them and monitor their behaviors.  If at any time the behavior such as the cuddling and kissing violates your home rules, address it with your son.  Ask him to come out into the kitchen, voice your concerns and ask that he make some changes.

You have every right to discuss your discomfort with her parents.  Compare tolerances for the young couple's behavior.  What is appropriate and what is not.  Agree to be consistent whether the couple is in your home or theirs.  Be sure to give reasons for your concern and share what you have relayed to your son so they can support that.  The difficult task comes when you compare what is age-appropriate behavior for a 17 year old and what is age-appropriate for a 13 year old.  

It sounds like you have already done a good job in talking with him about the differences in where they are in their lives and in the focus of their lives.  You have also discussed goals for the future and how this relationship will either wither or survive as they move toward their future goals.

Try not to say things about her that would provoke him to defend her.  If he feels the need to defend her this could possibly strengthen his resolve to stay in the relationship with her and protect her. Keep your communication lines open with your son and work toward what is best for him and for this young girl.

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Additional Answers (5)

kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hi lostmom,

I agree with you that a four year gap at their ages is a lot!  There's so much that he's ready for in life that she's not ready for.  It doesn't seem like a particularly healthy relationship for either of them.  But of course, anything you do discourage the relationship will probably just fuel it!

I think you're only option here is just to have a really honest conversation with your son about how you feel and what your concerns are for him and for her.  Or maybe you could try talking to her parents?

I'm sorry I don't have better advice, I just wanted you to know I agree with you that he's too old for her and to let you know I'm thinking of you!

Good Luck!

Kat
> 60 days ago

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ASimon
ASimon writes:
Hi lostmom,
   I'm sorry to hear about your tough situation but think it's great you're not hastily making rash decisions regarding your son's love life. This is a tough situation as while a 4 year difference may not be huge later in life, during teen years while kids are still maturing physically and mentally it can be quite a big deal.
It's great that the girl's family approve and seem to really like your son but don't feel like you're overreacting by being a concerned mother. Be careful not to come off as confrontational and authoritarian as teens tend to rebel to blunt, explicit orders, but definitely consider at least sitting down and talking with your son about why you feel uncomfortable, such as the large amounts of PDA (public displays of affection). Communication is key here, and at very least letting your son know why you are concerned can help a great deal.

Many people have had similar questions, though often in the other order (young child dating an older boy/girl). Here's a link to advice others have given and even tips from one of education.com's experts. Hope this is helpful!

http://www.education.com/question/13-year-daughter-dating-17-year-boy/
> 60 days ago

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friendlypeople
friendlypeo... writes:
Maybe you should try talking to your son. You could try finding somebody else that is older for him or you could say this. "Do you think that it is wierd if your younger brother were to date a girl that is 9 years old and if he since it is four years of age difference. See what he says.
> 60 days ago

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friendlypeople
friendlypeo... writes:
You could also try talking to him about when he goes to college what is he going to do because it might be hard to have a long distance relationship in college.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Is it smart? I would say no! Your son should be concentrating on high school and studies. If it was my son, he would not be allowed to date younger girls like this. Sometimes it is hard to step up to the plate when it comes to love issues. But your son has to be the responsible one here along with you. The 13 year is probably thrilled to have an older boyfriend, but in all honesty, it is not normal to let a child of thsi age have such an older boyfriend. To me, her parents are being irresponsible. I would sit down and talk to your son about relationships and which are appropriate and not appropriate. You have to educate your son about these matters; otherwise, he may not be able to really make the the most responsible choice. This sounds harsh, but it is true. If this young teenager were to get pregnant, where does this leave your son's future? NO! I can't stress it enough!
> 60 days ago

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