View Full Version : teenage love
01-20-2006, 03:53 PM
My son is 17 - will be 18 at the end of April and a senior in high school. He has dated some - probably a normal amount for his age. He became friends early this summer with a girl from school. She had just graduated. They started hanging out and enjoyed being with each other. She asked him in August if he wanted to try a long distance relationship as she was going off to college about 5 hours away. They did and it became many phone calls, IMs etc and her getting home when she could - about 3 times and we went down to visit colleges and saw her once. She was home for a month at Christmas break.They became extremely close over the 7 months that they have been together. They have had sex - I found a condom and his dad and then I talked to him about it. He is going to go to college close to where she is. They had basically planned a future in that short period of time. She came home last weekend only 5 days after she had left to see him for the long weekend. She acted the same and said all the same things. They had been fighting some on and off. I had written in another post how her drinking had bothered him and they would fight about that at times. On Tuesday night she told him that she needed a break - she still loved him and wasnt't breaking up and still wanted him to come to college close by so they could get closer, but that she was stressed and needed a break. She is very bright and is at a private school on scholarship and thought she had made the grades the first semester, but got an email saying she was on probation for her scholarship.. She is used to maing very high grades in honors programs. All of her course work is sophomore or above as she had a lot of hours through AP classes.
He was devastated - then up, then down depending on what she said. She insisted that it was jsut a break and she needed to get her head on straight (which I agree) His thought is that people don't take breaks from relationships - they work them out. Their relationship wasn't the reason for the grades not being a 3.25 - it was too much partying and oversleeping for 2 classes too often which resulted in Cs for those classes. He has been crying a lot - took down all her pictures, drawings etc. I am worried about how hard he is taking this. He is still going to school and work, but is clearly depressed and I hear him crying. Somethimes I go in - we have always been able to talk but somethines he wants to be by himself on it. I know this is normal teenage angst, but it is really hurting him and I feel so bad and helpless.
I counseled him to give her a break if that is what she wanted - that they are at different places in their lives and her priority needs to be school. Howver today he told her that this "break" wasn't working for him and that she wasn't taking him into consideration, thereby taking some of his control over himself back. He is inconsolable at this point saying he is messed up right now. How can I help him? I know we have all been through it, but I didn't realize hwo hard it would be when it is your kid...
01-23-2006, 09:06 AM
We parents don't know what real pain is until we watch our kids hurting. That helpless feeling makes what's painful for them excruciating for us. Yet we're not quite as helpless as we feel if we can be smart in redefining what "help" means.
"Help" does not mean "fixing" or even advising, unless asked. Our children must fight their own way through these hurts in order to grow smarter and stronger to handle the other whacks that life will give them. In that light, try to view your son's pain as having an upside that will gift him with some wisdom.
What to do? First, just listen without advising or fixing. Let him pour out as much of the pain as he can, and just sit with him and let him know that you are there and that you love him. That alone is very healing. The advice parts he likely already knows.
But be sure to raise the "S" word (suicide) quickly with him, asking if he's had any thoughts that life might be not worth living. If he says yes (or evades or refuses to answer) get him evaluated immediately.
Beyond that, try to recall your own heartbreaks and remember what helped and didn't help you. The "here's what you ought to do" folks likely left you feeling even worse. The "that sounds awful honey; please tell me all about it" person (usually Grand mom?) seemed to help without saying hardly a word.
Stay as close to him as he'll permit. That's wonderful medicine.
01-23-2006, 02:15 PM
Thank you so much - your replies always make me feel calmer. You are absolutely right - the things I remember are the comforting things, not the advice. I told him a few days ago that I remembered how horrible it felt, both emotionally and physically, but that it will feel better. No matter how it all ends up - sooner or later you will feel better about it. He has seemed pretty good - sometimes wanting to talk and other times not. He is working a lot which is good as it doesn't give him hours and hours of time to lie in his bed and dwell. I actually think slowing down this relationship is a good thing as long as she is just not leading him on - kind of the having her cake and eating it too deal I wish we could make teenagers see how having sex conjures up an enhanced sense of involvement that may not be real. I have never felt this helpless even when he was a baby. I was wanting to make a voodoo doll :)
But as I said in an earlier post, God must be making a little joke by premenopause/hormone swings coinciding with my sons being 17 and newly 15. I alternate between seeing them as the sweet little guys they were and the houseguests that have overstayed their welcome!
I am making sure to keep close tabs on him as far as feelings of it all being too much. I pop into his room with folded laundry or chocoalte chip cookies on a regular (probably alarmimg to him) basis.
Thanks for your calm and emapthetic words.
01-24-2006, 12:31 PM
It is the next day now and things have gotten much worse. He got on the internet last night and found some sort of private (guess it waasn't as private as they thought) posting that she had made to another boy whoi is a friend of theirs. This boy is a junior - 16 years old - keepi in mind she is a college freshman and was 19 in September. They are friends and all of them are open about saying I love you and being huggy. This went way beyond that. He showed it to me and said he was going to call her - that he couldn't be with her if she had feelings for this other kid. He didn't tell her about it, just asked her how she felt about the other boy and on from there. She told my son that she still loved hiim and wanted to be with him and the other boy was just a friend - that she had blurred the friendship line too much and that she wouldn't again. He wanted to believe it so badly, but I guess he couldn't and told her he couldn't see her ever again. I stayed up last night in case he wanted to talk which he didn't so I went to bed after telling him that I loved him and would be there for him.
I decided to let him sleep in a little this morning as he usually takes his brother to school. He got up at the normal time though and was quiet and sad, but didn't want to talk and was unusually affectionate - not that he doesn't hig or kiss us, but it was just a little different and my warning bell went off. About 40 minutes fter he left for school I looked online at our banking - he had taken $120 out of his account. I called his cell phone right anway and left a message. I knew he was on his way (5 hours away) to see her. He called me back a few minutes later crying. He was at a truck stop about 45 minutes away. I remained calm and caring, but told him he absolutely could not drive down there. He went on crying saying his life was such a mess and he couldn't live like this. So I asked him if he wanted to die. He said no emphatically and said he wasn't an ***** - he just needed to see her to see where things stood (fix them) I again told him that we would work things out, but that he must come home. I finally had to tell him I would call the police if he continued on down there. He called his dad and talked to him who said there would be no consequences if he came home now, but if he went on that we would call the state troopers and that the car would be sold when he got home. He called me back and we talked for 30 more minutes, most of it with him crying and saying we didn't understand. I said he could talk to someone that could be nore objective - he refused and said he would never go - that he could figure this out on his own. The pastor at the church we go to has a daughter that is my son's girlfriend's best friend. I thought maybe he could help, but my son refuses to see anyone.He finally relented and said he was coming home. I am making this seem a lot calmer than it actually was. He did come home about an hour later. I told he I loved him and he went off up to his room. Hopefully he is napping. I hear him moving around a little, but it sounds like he is in bed.
So what now? I know he is adamant about not seeing anyone - I do't think I could bribe him - all he wants to do is see her. I guess he is regretting that he said that he didn't want to see her - I don't know - I'm confused too...
01-24-2006, 06:08 PM
You played that out perfectly. That was one of those rare occasions where a parent must firmly and lovingly move in and take charge of a kid who's not in charge of himself. He would have been at risk driving that far in that state of mind.
For now, use your intuition and your heart to handle this one hour at a time. See how he lands after thinking things over. Teen lives can change dramatically in a very short span. Let him tell you what should happen next. Perhaps offer to drive him up to see her when you can if he can agree to handle his responsibilities in the interim. If you guys hit an impasse, suggest that a third-party (shrink, religious leader, and so son) might help the family find some solutions.
Again, just stay very close and listen as well as you can to his pain. Don't discount it and don't advise it away. Just hold him as close as he permits until this storm passes, which it likely will.
Keep us posted.
Attention Other Parents: any "veteran" thoughts?
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