High school daughter, college boyfriend. What would you do?

Leigha - posted on 07/31/2011 ( 31 moms have responded )

40

2

0

My almost 16 year daughter is in a long term, committed relationship with a young man who will soon be 18. He will be going away to college at the end of this month. Because he is a freshman he will not be allowed to have a car on campus and my daughter does not yet have her license.
First of all, this is not a question of whether a 16 year old should be dating an 18 year old (she is and we support them, they are both pretty mature and are very good kids. They are also close with each others families). Nor is the question whether or not we have to worry about them being sexually active (they are not-YET, but it is an on going dialogue we have with them).
Having said all that, here is my dilemma; His mother (who by the way adores our daughter) has made it clear that he should not come home from college until at least Thanksgiving. She wants him to assimilate into college life and become involved in campus activities, etc. I have a son who went away to college so I do get that. But, the kids have made it pretty clear that they are committed to making their relationship work and want to see each other as much as possible. There will no doubt be lots of phoning, texting and skyping!
How do I help support their relationship without going against his mother's wishes? I don't want to offend anyone or step on any toes. However, he will be an adult. I believe that part of growing up is making your own decisions about what you are moving towards now that you are moving away from mom and dad. Yes, college moves you towards adulthood but he also wants my daughter to be part of that future. I have no problem allowing him to come to our home for weekends (we have a guest house he could stay in), he has camped and vacationed with us already. I would even go get him from college, it is only 40 minutes away.
I have no delusions about the life span of this kind of relationship but I can see that it is very real to them.
Please don't say "if it was meant to be...." I don't believe in a passive life! ;)

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Why not just drive your daughter there every other Friday or Saturday and let them go do their thing. It's less than an hour away...you could drop her off then go back home and get her later...or you could do some shopping or explore the college town.

Mrs. - posted on 08/01/2011

1,767

6

30

"So I asked myself this morning, if he were an adult going away to work in another city and wanted to come for a visit would I have to make sure it was all right with his mommy first? No. I have a 19 year old son and if the situation were the same between him and his girlfriend and he went against my wishes I would not for one second expect his girlfriends mother to tell me anything. It isn't her job to monitor my adult son. It is between me and my son. Yes, I understand he should focus on doing well in school and I agree! However, wouldn't that be an issue to address when it actually becomes a problem? I don't believe in borrowing trouble. He will be an adult who needs to learn how best to balance his life"

In your opinion it is not your job to monitor your adult son. In your opinion you don't believe in borrowing trouble when parenting or otherwise. However, it is clear HIS parents have different parenting values and ideas.

If you start mucking about with your own ideas and opinion...crossing the line into their territory, IMO it doesn't serve your daughter, you or him well. It is for him to learn how to deal with his parents and how to have an adult relationship with them. You aiding him in avoiding it, may not be the strongest choice.

I mean you are essentially saying you know better than them about what is best for their son. Do you know their son as well as they do? Maybe they know that he has problems focusing on relationships and school at the same time? It is possible they have an inside scoop on this that you simple do not have.

I'm sure you are an excellent mother to your children and it sounds like you are doing your best to forge an adult relationship with your child with the knowledge you have about her and the way she handles stress/school/relatioinships. I think you owe it to this boy's parents to respect their efforts to do the same.

I don't think there is any issue with you bringing your Juliet to her Romeo. It's the whole helping him in go behind his parents back that seems a bit off.

I mean if he is on academic scholarship, that is a precarious deal. If he doesn't maintain his grades, his future could be affected. Perhaps this is why they are being so strict?

And I know you said you don't believe in the whole, "if it is meant to be, it'll happen" thing, but many, many people feel this is a valid point.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/31/2011

21,273

9

3058

I do think it is being pretty deceitful on your part if you were to have him over knowing full well that goes against her wishes. Switch the situation. If your daughter was in town, and you asked her to stay at school, but she was the older of the two and stayed at their house....you find out later down the line, wouldn't you feel lied to?!? Not only that, but the fact that she did not come and visit you?!? It is sneaking around....feelings will get hurt. I don't see why YOU have to be the one to make this relationship work. Talk to his mother. At least out of respect for her wishes. It would be awful if he came to visit with you guys, hid it from his own mother, and didn't visit her while he was in town. That is crummy.

Andree - posted on 09/20/2011

18

1

0

You are not over involved. I am not sure why his Mom did not want him home until Thanksgiving. He doesn't need that much time to settle in at school. I am happy to hear they are still going strong and together. Your a good mom for helping them when they need it.

Stifler's - posted on 09/19/2011

15,141

154

604

i agree with sherri, it's their relationship and if they truly want to be together they'll figure out a way without anyone's help or you having to go behind his parents back.

31 Comments

View replies by

Leigha - posted on 09/20/2011

40

2

0

Yeah, Rebecca...That's what I do. I let them work out the details and I'm there for support. Or the chauffeur, until she gets her license. I kind of understand why the mom doesn't want him to come home too often and it doesn't have anything to do with not liking the relationship. I have a son who went away for his first year of college last year and all the "experts" say that in order to adjust to college life, the student should really submerge themselves and NOT come home until at least Thanksgiving...However, there are only so many things to do on the weekends when you live in the dorms, and not many of them are very positive (partying). This is a tiny school in a very small town. This is their oldest child and the first in his immediate family to go away to college. He has proven to his family (who are paying a lot for this private school) that he is serious about his grades, involved in extra curricular activities and trying to grow as a person. All the things you would want your kids to do when they go to college. However, he has made it clear that he is serious about trying to keep my daughter in his life. It's only been a month and she has managed to see him every weekend. Half here, half there. Having said that, the mother IS more controlling than your average mom. Example- This past summer, she once made him come home to take a nap before a long drive. Also, he has a 12 year old brother and she will not let him salt his own food...haha. I like her though, she is just a different kind of mom than me.

[deleted account]

Honestly, I think the whole situation is pretty weird. He's 40 minutes away but his mom doesn't want him to come home? Why not? Coming to town for a few hours is going to be the end of the world? Honestly, my gut feeling on that is that the boy's mom is trying to deliberately sabotage the relationship. Otherwise, why would she care how often he comes back to visit? Going away for the first time is a big adjustment; I wouldn't expect a kid to go cold turkey on their home. It just seems kind of controlling to me. However, I think you are making this more complicated that it needs to be. Let the couple be the guide re: when/how they want to see each other and go from there. I wouldn't get too involved in making plans for them to see each other, but I also wouldn't block plans by refusing to drive, etc., if you are otherwise willing to do so.

Leigha - posted on 09/19/2011

40

2

0

They have figured it out and they are still happily together. She visits him on some weekends and he visits home on others...And stays at his own home. There was a bit of a power struggle between him and his mother but it has worked out. She sees now how important they are to each other and they have compromised. I might seem overly involved in my daughter's relationship however that started because of the age difference and I felt I needed to really keep an eye on things. I still feel responsible for being aware of what is going on since she is still a minor. Offering my advice and guidance is my job as a mother...Until she is 18 ;) at which point I can begin to let go. I have an older son so I have practice!

Sherri - posted on 09/19/2011

9,593

15

391

I think you need to respect this others family wishes just as you would want them to do the same for your family when it pertained to your daughter. This is their relationship and honestly you need to step back and let them figure it out.

You seem to be pretty enveloped in this relationship already especially with your other post. I would seriously back off and live your life and let them figure out theirs without you involved in it.

Andree - posted on 09/19/2011

18

1

0

HI Leigha,
Our situation is very very similiar.
My thoughts: I would not go against his parents and bring him to you. Or allow him to come to you without his family knowing. That could just open up a can of worms you would not want to be caught in. But your daughter going to him really is a decision that is up to you. He is away and living on his own and doing is own thing. He doesn't ask if he can go out on Friday night to party, so why does he need to ask if his gf can come to visit, that has to be the decision of the person bringing her. IMO.
I sent you a private message. You and I are going through the same thing and I think we can bounce things off each other. I feel the same with my daughter and her bf, they are young and I get this kind of relationship usually does not work past Thanksgiving, but as I have been saying my daughter and her bf are different and it is very real to them also, and I will do whatever I need to do to help make it work for them. I gave them my word on that. They are very committed to each other too.

Mary - posted on 08/01/2011

3,348

31

123

I agree with some others on here that you absolutely should not bring him "home" for a weekend visit with your daughter. As someone who did go away to college, and had a "serious" boyfriend, I see the wisdom in his mother's choice. That first year away is hard; there are many adjustments he will need to make. My parents laid down the same ground rule for me my freshman year, and it really was wise on their part. If they had let me come home whenever I wanted to, I never would have made friends, or found my own way in that new social environment. They did, when I was particularly homesick, come up and visit for an afternoon, but I otherwise did not come home for an overnight until Thanksgiving. This was in 1989 - before cell phones and computers. This meant that all my interactions with that boyfriend (who was at another college 5 hrs away) were either spent with my cup full of quarters in the hall payphone, or through handwritten letters! Kids are resourceful, though - somehow, that boy found a ride up to the University of Delaware from WVU for a long weekend in October, as well as one back home. We didn't last past the end of freshman year, but I will always remember that weekend fondly, and I still find his efforts impressive =)

Another point to consider - if you do go against his mother's wishes and bring him back to your house for a visit, what kind of message are you really sending to your daughter? Yes, he is "almost" an adult, but truthfully, even with a scholarship, most full time college freshmen are really still dependents. I think you are sending the message that a parent's wishes don't need to be respected when *you* don't agree with them. That's an example that could comeback to bite you in the ass.

I don't taking her up there to visit is a bad thing, though. That way, he is still in that college environment. I'm not one that would let my 16 y/o spend the night on a college campus with her boyfriend, but dropping her off for an afternoon or (early) evening while you eat dinner or watch a movie is still honoring the spirit of his mother's wishes. After all, even the strictest of parents should know that they cannot control what their child does when away at school, and an evening with their girlfriend from home is far less objectionable that a LOT of the things that college students do on the weekends.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/01/2011

21,273

9

3058

And that is fine, but I thought you posted this for different perspectives. Just offering mine.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/01/2011

21,273

9

3058

And, you said he is not 18 yet....and your daughter is not 16 yet. He is not officially an adult. I don't know when his birthday is, but still, hope you can see my point.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/01/2011

21,273

9

3058

If they are sneaking behind his mothers back, it is indeed deceitful, and you would be advocating for them both to lie to her by letting him stay with you. He may legally be an adult, but if he is still living at home when he has his breaks from college, it is still his parents rules.

Leigha - posted on 08/01/2011

40

2

0

Cathy, you hit the nail on the head. He needs to figure it out and deal with his mother and not put me in a position where I even have to decide. If he wants to be treated like an adult than he will need to act like an adult. But as an adult does he have to clear things with his mother? Ugh. That's not for me to decide. I agree 100% that college needs to come first but free time should be just that.
Thanks though, you are pretty much right. I'm gonna go do something else and stop obsessing about this! haha! I think I'm worrying more about it than they are :/

Leigha - posted on 08/01/2011

40

2

0

Hmmm....He is paying for his own school (actually it's mostly an academic scholarship). So I asked myself this morning, if he were an adult going away to work in another city and wanted to come for a visit would I have to make sure it was all right with his mommy first? No. I have a 19 year old son and if the situation were the same between him and his girlfriend and he went against my wishes I would not for one second expect his girlfriends mother to tell me anything. It isn't her job to monitor my adult son. It is between me and my son. Yes, I understand he should focus on doing well in school and I agree! However, wouldn't that be an issue to address when it actually becomes a problem? I don't believe in borrowing trouble. He will be an adult who needs to learn how best to balance his life. I suppose the bottom line is that I have to parent my daughter not her son. If she wants to control him into adulthood that is between them. I will treat him like the adult that he is. My daughter will not see this as being deceitful because I will not lie or hide anything. In fact I have not spoken to his mother about this at all. My daughter told me that was what his mom told him. Hell, she could have kept it to herself and I would have never know the difference.
I know it might sound like I already have the answer to my own question but I still struggle. This isn't even really an issue about their relationship. It's that bridge between being a parent of a child and then the parent of an adult and how you cross it. I have one child on each side of that bridge so I can see both sides. That's why this is so tricky.

Stifler's - posted on 07/31/2011

15,141

154

604

I did whatever I wanted when I was 18 and made my own money and paid board. What if he would rather spend weekends bludging with his girlfriend than doing extracurricular activities I mean REALLY you can't dictate your kids whole lives. Isn't uni hard enough without having to do extra crap your mum wants you to do?

Amie - posted on 07/31/2011

6,596

20

412

What I would do?

Well, I wouldn't worry about his mother. You won't be related to her if they do last and if she's decent, she won't take it out on your daughter. My mother and my FIL don't get along (at all), neither let it over lap into their relationships with myself, my husband or our kids.

Though if she is the type to take away his college money simply because of this, that gives a good look at what kind of person she really is. No matter how much my kids may or may not piss me off when they reach adulthood, I would not take away the money we set aside for their education. It's what it's there for, not for me to lord over them.

I understand not wanting to upset her but it's not something that would be in the forefront of my mind.

Has anyone bothered to listen to this young man and his wishes? The college is only 40 minutes away. It's not far and not much on gas (unless you're driving a serious gas guzzler). If they want to see each other my stipulation would be I would take her until she had her license but she would have to pay for the gas and ask in advance so it wouldn't be an inconvenience to me or the rest of the family. That would be helping but staying out of it as much as possible. You're her ride but she's taking care of the rest. When she does get her license, I'd let her borrow the car (again, asking in advance) until she had enough saved to buy her own.

In a picture perfect world we would get along with our children's in laws in every situation. It just isn't realistic. If it isn't this, there will be somewhere else that you differ on opinion. What my mom and FIL have going on, is totally different than a difference of opinion. They avoid each other at all costs but have never let it affect us as a whole.

Mrs. - posted on 07/31/2011

1,767

6

30

Nah, I paid for my first year of college too, Emma (in Canada), it didn't make a dif with my parents on certain things and they are quite liberal.

Stifler's - posted on 07/31/2011

15,141

154

604

Oh man. This is why we pay for our own college in Australia.

Mrs. - posted on 07/31/2011

1,767

6

30

Yeah, if your daughter wants to see him, I'd drive her there. Not sure I'd be cool with you as a fellow parent if you were knowingly picking the boy up against my rules.

You are right though, the boy is 18. However, it is likely his parents are paying for his college and his room/board. If he would like to be independent of his parents, I suppose he could pay for his own college/room/board and he could do whatever he likes during his first semester away. Since he isn't, most likely, doing this, it would be a shame to put any of those things on the line because he wanted to have a weekend with his girlfriend.

I mean, I'm kind of with the parents anyway, first semester college, when you go away, it is hard to balance all that stuff and a relationship. They probably just want him to focus.

Perhaps his parents don't believe in a passive life either and want him to fully engage himself in his new life at college...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/31/2011

21,273

9

3058

It is great that you want to help these kids out, but really...I think helping them lie and be deceitful is not what you should be teaching your impressionable 16 year old daughter to do. Having respect is a much stronger lesson in life.

Leigha - posted on 07/31/2011

40

2

0

Thanks Sara and Layce, I tend to agree with you both. That's kind of what I was thinking.

Leigha - posted on 07/31/2011

40

2

0

Marina, I see what you are saying but that is sort of my point; I am responsible for what my daughter does and not her son. Sooo, if he wants to come here for a visit, it isn't my place to say no. That would be between him and his mother right? I would not go behind her back but am I obligated to make it a point to tell her? Wouldn't it be his responsibility to communicate with her? I mean if she asked, I would not lie but he will be an adult. I don't want to ruin the civil relationship I have with his mom but his choices are not mine to monitor.
I would have to drive her because the college is in the middle of nowhere... no problem though. I'm sure that will be the best solution. :)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/31/2011

21,273

9

3058

I would definitely not go behind his mothers back and tell him he can stay with you without her knowing, or her being fully against it. If these kids are really serious about making it work, they could potentially be your in laws. I agree, drive your daughter up there. No biggy. If he is allowed to have a girl sleep over, it will be fine. If not, then your daughter could take the bus to and from? Or do you feel the need to be as committed to this relationship as them and drive her both ways? I would not stand in there way to do what they want, but I certainly would not step on his mothers toes. Just try talking with her. She has her reasons for not wanting him to visit, and you need to respect that. You are not his mother, you are hers.

Lacye - posted on 07/31/2011

2,011

31

164

I agree with Sara. Take your daughter up there for a visit when they have a chance. I don't think the other mom should make the decision for him not to come back because he will technically be an adult. He should be the one to make that decision. If he wants to come to your house, allow him since you have the room. If she says anything, tell her that it was his choice to come and visit and you agreed. Simple as that.

JuLeah - posted on 07/31/2011

3,133

38

694

What if you split the difference? Have him come for a weekend early in Oct.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms