Who Invented Teenagers, Seriously…

So Nick has a girlfriend.

She’s a lovely, sweetheart of a girl who I adore. They have been friends for three years and more than that for maybe six months.

Her mother? Not quite as fond of my wonderful 16-year-old son. Or rather the idea of him being in love with her youngest-of-seven-daughters daughter.

His girlfriend is deaf and the baby of her family by quite a lot. A double whammy in the over-protective-parenting lottery, right?

So anyway. I got a phone call from her mother today.

She walked in on her daughter having an ‘inappropriate’ computer conversation with my son.

Mortified. Horrified.

My son has Asperger’s Syndrome. Her daughter is deaf. Between the two of them they have about half-an-ounce of social skills. (I really love both of them. I do. But I’m being honest here. He can’t read facial cues or body language. She can’t, for obvious reasons, read anything but. Jack Sprat could eat no fat…)

Okay. So once I assured myself that this was a mutual ‘inappropriateness’ and not my socially inept son not catching on to the meaning of ‘no,’ I listened. It wasn’t easy. At all.

What I heard was her telling me that her daughter might be 17, but inside she’s 12.

What I held back with the strength of Hercules was…WRONG. Your daughter is 17, but inside she’s a hormonal mess, clearly firing with all cylinders.

And I admit that while this woman is telling me about how she’s punishing her daughter by taking away her phone and her computer and her boyfriend–I can’t bring myself to punish my kid.

How do you not rejoice that this conversation took place between kids who were at least 10 miles apart, and who are never, ever together without adult (and five-year-old sister) supervision? They don’t go to school together, they live in different towns (so there is no sneaking off together), and like I said they have zero unsupervised time together. They see each other in person maybe two hours once every six weeks.

So anyway. I listened. I told her I would support her decision. (Which was a one-week break followed by her daughter continuing to have no unsupervised online talk time with Nick.)

I talked to my kid. He cried. He doesn’t make friends easily. When I asked him about some of the more startling things that his girlfriend’s mother told me she found, he said it was the girl’s idea and he didn’t really even understand it all but he had been feeling like it was out of hand. (I’m not one for placing blame. But I don’t buy that her daughter is 12 inside. At all. And I know that my son is naive. He’s easily manipulated. It comes with Asperger’s.)

Okay. I feel better getting that all out.

I’m really open to any advice from any of you. How would you have handled this? Would you punish your teenager for having ‘inappropriate’ conversations with his girlfriend? Enough of Adrienne’s friends have had babies during the three years she’s been in high school that I’m pretty sure she’s decided to be a nun. This could have been infinitely worse. Right?

(I’m a little afraid if the girl’s mother doesn’t let go a little we’re going to find ourselves related via a pair of elopees in a year or so.)

(Why can’t I just have my sweet little boy back? Please? Pretty please? With sugar on top?)

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Who Invented Teenagers, Seriously…

  1. I hate being an adult…a parent sometimes. Hmmm…it’s hard to give my opinion without wanting more information but this is my thoughts. I think that you can decide to support the other mother’s decision about taking a break from conversations occurring between them for a week but if that mother wants the conversations on the computer to be monitored….she can do the work. Why should you also have to waste your time doing it? You may need to rethink and reframe the image you have of your son as he does get influenced by those around him…and is growing up and changin. Is there some way that you can help him learn some skills as it relates to sexuality and the implications of where that goes?

    My son participated in the O.W.L. program (Our Whole Lives) see http://www.uua.org/religiouseducation/curricula/ourwhole/index.shtml through the UU church which was a really long (16 weeks?) program about sexuality that was wonderful! It taught more than the mechanics of sex(which some of us get in school) but the emotional implications of it. I wish I had this so many years ago. I did have to literally bribe him to attend but afterward he said he was glad he went.

    My son will be 18 in April and I’ve always told him that he should be responsible about what he does because if/when he does have children they are the most amazing wonderful little beings that you will want to provide everything under the sun for and it’s easier if you get choose when it happens (umm…unlike his own mother!) So far it’s worked…I just hope it doesn’t work too well because at some point I’d love grandchild/ren (like in 10 years-and certainly not required). Of course it may have worked so well because he does take after his parents and is an incredibly mature kid who thinks too much and is more comfortable around adults than kids…bit sensitive, nerdy and probably struggles with self esteem.

    • I’ll look into that program.

      I actually think I have a pretty accurate image of my son. We’ve had some pretty frank conversations about sex. When I was his age, I would have rather died than bring sex up to my mother. And apparently she felt the same way because she didn’t initiate any conversations. My solution was just to stay a virgin until well after high school. But my sister got pregnant at 17. So I talk to my kids.

      No. I admit it. This is one situation where I would love, love, love to bury my head in the sand.

      His girlfriend texted him this morning. She said that her mother let her. Not likely. But I’m with you. If his girlfriend’s mother wants to punish or monitor or whatever, she better get on it. I made Nick let me see his history so I could verify that she sent him a message first, and that their entire conversation was mostly her saying she missed him, and him telling her to be patient. Monitoring on my end? Check.

      Adrienne will be 18 in August, and at least three of her close friends have had babies since she was in the ninth grade (she’s a junior now.) That girl has plans she isn’t about to let some boy derail. But god, she’s so much like me. If she falls in love it will be all over. She doesn’t do anything half-assed.

      I think I need to go curl up and cry myself to sleep.

      P.S. Your opinion matters to me. Email your questions if you want.

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