My daughter is dating a manipulator
Early relationships in middle and older adolescence are, how should we describe it,… Remember Romeo and Juliet, the 13 year-olds from feuding families that Shakespeare tragically paired together in 15th century Verona?With good reason, we mythologize love in adolescence, with its power to plant in our hormonally-fertilized psyches the seeds of memories that will grow more and more sentimental to us into old age.But along with learning about what it feels like to hold hands at the mall, and to sneak a kiss on the patio steps, it is also a time for teens to learn important concepts such as boundaries, autonomy, and the right to say “No” without consequences.
“She was hurting herself, it turns out,” Chris reveals, “and she kept trying to get him to do it by telling him it would help him understand how she felt. We were really angry with this girl, but it was just as surprising to us that he was actually going to do it.
He’s a sensitive kid, but that just wasn’t anything he had ever tried before.
For us, it was a wake-up call about how we had to do more than just trust him.” Chris and Jane aren’t alone in their situation.
A recent Family Circle magazine survey revealed that 25 percent of teens have experienced harassment in dating relationships, 71 percent have had rumors spread about them by partners, and 75 percent of parents report not knowing about their teen being physically hurt or bruised by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
“He seemed honestly happy, he was really good at hiding what was going on,” Chris describes.
“We didn’t find out until later how manipulative his girlfriend was being with him. I guess he felt like he was protecting her.” Chris and Jana noticed that Michael was becoming increasingly irritable and moody.
He was spending more late hours with her on the phone.
They realized it was much more serious than they imagined when they walked in on him in his room and he clumsily tried to hide a razor blade under his pillow.
Often, parents are surprised to find that their teens’ boyfriend and girlfriend relationships can become frightening mine-fields in a short period of time.