My 17 year old daughter started a secretive relationship with a 21 year old coworker after we specifically told her we would not allow a relationship with this older boy. She got caught and we told her that we were disappointed with her choices. We told her again we would not allow the relationship and for months she tried to move on (not very successfully). She was depressed and alienated most of her friends ( her friends don't understand the relationship either). Needless to say, she contacted this boy and they started communicating and again secretly meeting. Not sure if they have had sex, but I put her on the pill to avoid that issue. She says we are not concerned about her happiness and we are struggling to find some middle ground. My husband will probably punch this guy out if he enters our house. She wants us to reevaluate our decision and reconsider letting her see this guy. She will be leaving for college in the Fall..how do we change our decision? Do we set ground rules for them? Do we just let her see him and move on? Is is right to not stick to our guns? She is very sad and borderline depressed. I have a decent relationship with her but her and her dad have no relationship.

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Jodi - posted on 01/28/2013

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Why did you decide not to allow her to have a relationship with him in the first place? What is the issue?

Ariana - posted on 01/29/2013

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At least where I live the age of consent it 16 with someone 5 years older, so here a 17 year old would be able to be with a 21 year old. Not sure about the regulations elsewhere.

Like I said though, you don't know if they've had sex and if they haven't no charges can be pressed (or at least if you can't prove it).

I really do think it's better if you put limits on the situation and talk to her about it.

Even if you legalling can get him in trouble are you going to get some young man put on a sex registry for the rest of his life for dating a 17 year old who wants to date him?

I mean if you let her date him maybe the novelty will wear off and she'll be able to make her own decisions on whether she really likes him or not. By refusing it she's going to fall even more for him since he's 'taboo' and you'll be the crazy parents who can't possibly understand. Then when she's 18 and out of the house she's going to do whatever she wants because now she can! Just think about it.

Ariana - posted on 01/29/2013

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Seeing as how she will soon turn 18 and be out of the house I would reevaluate the situation. She's going to wait until next fall to be with him and you banning the relationship is serving to make her feel more for him.

Right now you are able to put limits on the relationship. You can have it so she only sees him at your house instead of her sneaking out doing things you don't know about. Or only allowed to go out to activities with him if you drop her off, go to the movies or something, and pick her up.

You should talk to her about sex and all the issues with that (pregnancy, STD's, your feelings on waiting etc., not being pressured). Just in case they are.

If you limit her times with him you are making sure she's safe and not sneaking around. I think ground rules is the best way to go. If she breaks whatever ground rules you feel are necessary then she gets grounded from going out to see anyone, and any electronics to talk to people for a certain amount of time (depending on what rule was broken).

I would also work on her having a better relationship with her dad even if she wasn't dating this boy. If she has a bad relationship with him that may be why she is so focused on this guy, she may be getting the male attention she needs from this boy instead of her father.

Could the father take her out on a father-daughter 'datenight'? They could go out once a week to do something together. Agreeing on not bringing up sore issues (such as the boyfriend, school or any other issues) and agree to just focus on hanging out. Starting with going to the movies where there isn't a lot of talking can be a good idea until it becomes more natural and easier to avoid stressful topics.

Good luck!

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Dove - posted on 01/29/2013

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Ariana has excellent points. I do know that age of consent in some states (no clue which ones) is 18. I live in a state with 16 as the age of consent, so nothing legal could be done against the guy. The only way to prove statutory rape anyway is to catch them in the act or if she were to get pregnant....

By forbidding this relationship when she is so close to turning 18 and leaving for college... you are pretty much throwing her into his arms and risk losing her. Better to set limits while she is in your house and you have some 'control'. Maybe she will find out while in the safety of your home that he is not the guy for her... or you and your husband will discover that he is a decent guy and they are good together.... or some other combination. ;)

Laura - posted on 01/29/2013

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At the time, we felt that an almost 22year old was not in her best interest. They are at different points in their lives but maybe that decision was not for us to make. Allowing a 17 year old to date a 22 year old is not an easy thing to allow.

Laura - posted on 01/29/2013

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Thanks Ariana. Your reply confirms my thinking. Unfortunately, it is going to take alot for me to welcome him in my house. I just feel he is not acting 22 years old and being the mature one.

Beth - posted on 01/29/2013

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She is still a minor. If they have had any sexual contact you can alert the police and have him arrested for statutory rape

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