Little Miss / Our Life Now / Parenting / W.W.Y.D

What Would You Do? (W.W.Y.D?)

Ok, picture this scenario – you have a 16 year old daughter, she starts behaving differently, more mature, you find out she has met a boy, she really likes the boy, you invite the boy to dinner. Boy comes to dinner, boy is absolutely perfect. Ambitious, confident, well mannered, everything you would want your daughter to look for in a boyfriend. He is 19. Boy starts chatting to you, honestly, and you find out a few shocking facts about boy, his mother died, he used to be homeless…and an alcoholic. He has been sober 6 months.

Pause.

What would you do?

This is a scenario from a TV show we watch called Parenthood. (Anyone seen it? Love it?) We watched it last night, its an amazing show that deals with pretty real parenting issues. This one really got me thinking though, what would I do?

I’m going to be honest, Mark and I both agreed we would let our daughter date the boy. He was honest about his past, he didn’t lie. He was trying to get his life together, trying to change. Thats all you can ask for in a person, right? He was in a shitty situation, life dealt him a bad hand. He didn’t have good role models in his life so lived and learned what he saw.

Now, in the show, (I know its only a TV show but go with me here) the family told their daughter that she wasn’t allowed to date the boy, that it was too much for her. He had his own apartment, he didn’t finish high school, he was an alcoholic, etc. I’m not sure what message we’d be sending our daughter if we stopped her seeing someone who had struggled the way this guy had. I’d want to teach her that the opposite is true actually, I’d want my daughter to see what it’s like to have nothing and struggle and come out the other side, stronger. That you can change your circumstances if you want to and you work at it. That people deserve a second chance.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if it were your daughter? Would you date someone with a past like this? Do people deserve a second chance? A do-over?

I know I’ve said this a million times before but parenting is TOUGH, isn’t it?!!

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6 thoughts on “What Would You Do? (W.W.Y.D?)

  1. I am SOOOOO obsessed with Parenthood right now. I knew exactly where you were going with this when I read the he is 19. Is this the last episode you watched? I don’t want to give any spoilers with my answer…

  2. No spoilers Stensrud!! This is the last episode we watched yeah. Oh goodness, I don’t want to know what happens next, I hope other people don’t spoil it……..the TV show aside, what would you do??

    • I think they made a fair decision. They have raised a fairly innocent girl and do everything in their power to keep her that way and keep her safe. Innocence often alludes to naivety, however I don’t think this is the case (also thinking of myself at that age and how I was raised). Life is scary and there are consequences to actions that we do and situations that we find ourselves in that should be avoided and as 16 year olds we don’t fully grasp how things we do, see and hear at this age can affect our future. Teenagers are too quick to grow up these days, speaking in particular to girls, we need to be protected. And that is the root of the parent’s decision, they don’t want their daughter to get caught up in life faster than is necessary. I really could go on about this but I must go to Nashville. Let’s continue to discuss this as you watch more episodes cause it’s really not that simple, but when it comes down to the initial reaction to protecting their daughter, I would have done the exact same thing.

      I also don’t think I defined my thoughts on innocence clearly enough or made a clear enough distinction between that and being naive, please remind me to do so.

      • Interesting points Katie, I love that we can talk like this. 🙂 This issue is a very tough one for me as I know the time will come when I have to make these decisions and it will be very difficult. I just feel like I always want to be honest with Little Miss about how life/this world really is. Its not all perfect and there are times in life where some people/situations will get you down. I want to keep a constant communication with her about these things and hope that she will make the right choices, even at age 16! I guess I feel like I can only be there to guide her, give her all the tools to make the right decisions and if she doesn’t, be there to pick her up again. She needs to live her life, stopping her from doing that is like wrapping her in cotton wool…and I’m not that parent.

  3. yeah, its just too often people bother about “protecting” their kids, forgetting about what is good, what is wrong… so they just teach them to be selfish…:(

  4. I’m going to leave all the tv show issues alone for right now, but here are my thoughts. As someone who has worked with people with substance abuse problems I would be hesitant; those problems are not ones that just go away in 6 months of AA, they are often a lifelong struggle and one that takes a lot of work to overcome, one that usually has lots of stumbles and set-backs along the way. Also the substance abuse is often just the tip of the iceberg: if the kid grew up in a family of alcoholics than he probably has some serious unresolved family and trust issues, not to mention the possibility of a history of abuse etc. I would be wary for my kid to get in a relationship with a person who needs “fixing” or who is likely to become dependent on my kid (sidenote: I find a lot of young women get involved with “damaged” men because it makes them feel needed and loved, but it often doesn’t end well and I wouldn’t want that for my imaginary daughter). On the other hand, I do believe that people are capable of change I also think prohibiting people that like each other from seeing each other often backfires and pushes them closer together. And even if it doesn’t do that at the very least prohibiting your daughter from doing something guarantees that she will no longer talk to you about it if she does continue doing it. So in summary, I would maintain an open dialogue, express my concerns but also my trust in her to make her own decisions and take care of herself and then make sure there’s a plan of action if stuff starts to go wrong. The end.

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