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February 19th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Teen Love Drama

love1Do you remember your first kiss? Ah, young love. Admit it. You once went through it yourself — that feeling of being completely obsessed with a boy or a girl. You wrote your crush’s name all over your notebooks. You drove past his or her home at odd hours. You stuck anonymous love notes in locker vents, desperate to be noticed.

Today’s teens seem to be more obsessed with love than ever before. I have no doubt the fairytale romances they see on TV and in the movies — not to mention the reality stars they worship, who tie the knot after a month of dating — contribute to their behavior. A recent show, “Teens Obsessed with Love,” is an example of teen love gone way wrong. Seventeen-year-old Chloe was consumed with a boy her parents did not approve of. What’s worse is they believed Chloe was doing everything in her power to continue seeing the guy. (The teen says her folks have it all wrong.) On another recent episode, “Sami’s Struggle”, Sami says she fell under the spell of her older, controlling boyfriend, and hid her suffering from her friends and family. She even went as far as mutilating her body to please her boyfriend. 

Here’s what I want to know. What would you do if your teenager becomes obsessed with someone you strongly disapprove of? And how would you prevent your child from dating this person, knowing that kids today have so many more tools at their disposal than you once did — from cell phones to the Internet?

Would you:

A) Let her see him — it will fade on it’s own
B) Forbid her from seeing him — out of sight, out of mind

Share your thoughts with me.

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76 Responses to “Teen Love Drama”

  1. Joyce Long says:

    I would have to choose A because even if you forbid them from seeing someone they are going to do it anyway… My daughter is almost 14 and while she likes boys she hasnt even thought of dating yet…(maybe because she knows I wont let her date until she is at least 15) She does talk to boys, but she says she is no where near ready to date. She has her heart set on going to college.. Of course we all know how quickly that can change…
    I would hope it wouldnt turn into an all consuming obsession like Chloe had.. But we are kind of dealing with that situation with my 18 yr old neice. (my almost 14 yr olds bio sister) She has been dating a boy since she was about 14. She has become totally obsessed with him to the point that he has tried to break up with her and she has tried to commit suicide at least twice. She texts him constantly, hundreds of times a day, calls constantly and shows up at his house even when he has asked her not to… This is her first love. Of course he is not helping himself or the situation any.. He will text her, he will feel sorry for her and try to work it out only to break up with her again… He is also younger than her, how much younger I am not sure..
    She is very vunerable, and has had an awful life so far with what her mom has done to her and her twin. (And her other 2 children one of whom I have had since she was born, the afore mentioned 14 yr old..). We dont know what to do to help her.. She cuts herself (cut into her leg “please help me”), this last time she was committed for almost a week. What can we do??? How do we help her??? She is now 18 (the twins turned 18 on Jan 14th).
    As a matter of fact she was up to something again tonight because the ambulance was at my sisters. They didnt take her anywhere though… She told us he did something to her (this was about a week ago) but wont say what….
    SO I would hope that with my 14 yr old watching her sister go through this, and all that she would not do what her sister is doing…
    But as far as telling her she could not see someone, that would make her want it all the more then she would be sneaking around doing it… You just have to monitor them and know where they are, and who they are with at all times.. You dont just let your children run wild and do what they want to, you moniter them and know who their friends are…

  2. Heather says:

    I am a teenager myself and I have realized that it is a lot better for parents to let teens make their own decision but guide them in that direction. I’ve been faced with difficult decisions with boys. I was actually dating other guys while I had a boyfriend and my mother gave me wonderful advice that got me through it. She didn’t tell me what to do, she just helped me realized what was important to me. If a parent tries too hard to control their teen, they will more likely rebel and do worse things (like party and do drugs). I’ve seen this in many friends and its mainly because the parents try too hard. Who they are dating is important, but if they have the right ideas in their mind (morals and such) that the parents taught, then it won’t matter. In the end, they’ll choose a good one.

  3. Most my friends growing up who were boy crazy read all the teen magazines, had parents that oscillated from getting teen whatever latest fad in makeup there was etc. to disrespectful of teen & assumed the worst & that’s what they got.

    In 8th grade I actually had a school principal call me into office to advise me to not hang around w/friends I’d known since 1st grade so I moved to Dallas, w/my mother only to end up stalked by guys since she worked two jobs. Before stalking laws & when I called police about they said not to call them for such trivial matters… Stalking taken more seriously now. Parents who work be forewarned that predators have a way of targeting those home alone and predators were all teens & younger. Everyone remove the image of dirty old man predators as come in all shapes, sizes, ages and both sexes.

    This said, I took the bait hook, line & sinker on chick flicks & was VERY naive aka duped. That and having tossed at me constantly by abusive guys, “If you were REALLY a Christian you’d forgive me and/or not judge me. Someone not allowing you to be who you are is just as judgmental.

    So… what likely would have been best for me when I was being stalked would have been to go live with my grandmother and (in hindsight) wish I had. Except… that’s where childhood friends were I was advised to not hang around with anymore by principal. My solution was to go to West instead of Central Junior High yet back then had to go within district.

    What would help teens these days were if families were closer knit & all lived in same city… for safety nets. As well, After School Programs at school. Emotional & Life Skill Education K-12 simply because parents cannot teach skills they have not learned so cycles continue. Changing schools… Just like women are advised to sometimes relocate if stalked etc. actually sadly sometimes a good idea for teens to too of both genders. Whether to a different school or to live with a relative elsewhere.

    It could be that there need to be all girl & all boy schools (in all levels) with supervised/chaperoned gatherings.

    I think the best solution is what principal did with me, calling me to office, advising me in my best interest to no longer associate with my friends taking a wrong turn. Principal didn’t yell at me and just said he cared and hated to see me end up on the wrong path too. I didn’t approve of direction they were going and it gave me permission to not feel guilty ending friendships since we’d known each other since first grade.

    I think if teens are reasoned with with the facts in a calm, reasonable way that teens WILL listen. Also, if teens are empowered to use NO with pushy persons “and” accept NO and not be pushy. In other words parents need to try not to react and to respond with understanding, compassion and reasonableness. What helped me were when adults genuinely took an interest in my well being as if I had value which led me to believe and behave as if I had value since I did/do. Until “learned helplessness” via being stalked… which I’m still working on unlearning “one tear, one smile, one day, one moment at a time”.

    My 1st Kiss was age 13 in Duncan, Oklahoma to Pat Powell (in his 20’s) who was leaving for Georgia I think and stopped by to say good-bye to my mother on his way out of town driving a U-Haul truck. Not sure why I had a crush on him. I kissed him good-bye and even shocked myself did on mouth yet not French & just a smack good-bye. I think I blushed & ran off afterwards. Have you ever almost called a teacher mom or almost hugged or kissed someone like family. I think it was more a “Gosh I’m gonna miss you.” Cause he took us sailing etc. He lived with another man, Bart, yet maybe just roommates & both friends of my mom’s and interesting conversationalists.

    First guy I wanted to kiss was Chuck Staubus at Golden Cue in Norman, OK, at age 13 where I worked checking out billiards balls in exchange for meals & all the Snooker & Eight Ball etc. I wanted to play. Chuck was 19 and his parents owned Golden Cue. We never did kiss as I didn’t have temporary insanity with him like I did with Pat. We didn’t move to Duncan, OK, because of Chuck & mother got a job at Haggar Slacks there as a sewing checker briefly before moving to Dallas to not have to work weekends.

    Not interested in anyone else until 16 & actually when lost virginity at 16 did to a guy I felt guilty I didn’t like who when I said was waiting until I got married said he wanted to marry me when graduated so okay. Mom accused me of “ah hem” which wasn’t her typical style & while mom and I were on the outs he cashed in. I accept responsibility for not valuing myself more to stick to my NO. In fact, afterwards a teen friend of his said to me, “I wish I was still a virgin like you because the guys respect you.” So did I. BIG MISTAKE… w/o elaborating further. Yikes look at the time. Guess I better hop off Memory Lane and into bed. DPDBers try to be in bed by midnight (pumpkin hour)… just ask Mary.


  4. Rita says:

    I wish my parents would have locked me up or somehow made me stop seeing the person I was with dating at 15. They tried to talk to me and say they disapproved and once told me to stop seeing him, but that made me more determined. Then it became a habit and eventually a 10 year romance that I wish I was never in! Our parents have wisdom on us at that age and I’m sure are correct about the character of someone we are dating or if they are good for us or not. If someone would have stopped me I’m sure another boy would have caught my eye before too long and someone who was a better choice. Now I will always remember what my Dad said, “If you miss the 1st bus, catch the next one.” I only have one child but I will try to steer her away from bad choices in whatever way I need to. I can only hope I raise her to make choices to not truly date until she is ready to be serious and mature enough to make a “good” choice.

  5. Linda says:

    First of all let me say that I don´t have any children of my own but I think A is the best option. Talk to him or her and explain your concern but forbidding it will probably just make it last longer imo. Of course it also depends on the situation but I think at some point they have to learn by their own mistakes and if you protect them to much they will not learn.

  6. Susan says:

    Well, I don’t have a teenage daughter, but I do have a teenage son who is not dating anyone yet. So at this point, I’m not facing that kind of dilemma. My son also has a disability, mild autism, although he communicates very well.

    He and I have talked about girls, dating and sex, and I’ve told him many times, in a non-judgmental way, that he needs to focus on his school work and getting through high school and then vocational training rather than on girls and all the difficulties that dating involves. So far, this approach has worked very well, and we are keeping the lines of communication wide open.

    When I was dating in high school, which was more than two decades ago, I only dated two young men, one of which was the more serious relationship at the time. I certainly didn’t go to any wild extremes in either relationship, although that probably wouldn’t have been possible at boarding school anyway. Having caring parents who kept me focused on my priorities while in school — finishing my school work and getting my diploma — was a tremendous help to me. I have always tried to be that kind of caring and involved parent to my son too. So far, I think my approach is working. :)

  7. Lisa says:

    I would have to go with “A” , I really wouldn’t know how I would respond to a situation like this, until I was in it.
    I have talked to my 19 yr old daughter since she was 12 or 13 about dating, boys and her future. I have tried to communicate to her the importance of doing good in school, having fun with her friends, focusing on college and enjoying her family!
    I didn’t have any trouble with her where boys were concerned and I would like to think I helped her by talking every chance I got.
    Now she’s 19 just graduated from high school last May, attends a local community college while she awaits being accepted into a major university and works part time in our local hospital!
    I feel very blessed considering the times we live in!

  8. Lauren says:

    Dr Phil,
    Im a 15 year old girl and dating to me is a huge part of just life. High schools tought but for someone with out a boyfriend/ girlfriend? it reallyyy sucks. Just walking in the halls everyday i see people hugging and just seem so in love! I dont no about other kids in my school, but it makes me want that even more. It becomes a problem when i do have a boyfriend because i then make that my number #1 priority, because i dont wanna lose that feeling of being “loved” by someone. My family loves me, its not that i dont get enough love from them, its a different love like a oppiste sex kind of love. It almost feels like id do anything for that love to stay strong. Ive done some stupid things in order to get love, things i regret to this day. Im scared that as i get older and especially in High School , ill feel pressured to stay in love by having sex or things like that. Ive always said id NEVER be that girl, but Dr Phil, is my obssesion with love going to make me into the girl ive never wanted to be?

    Please help me, i dont wanna become someone who im definitly not.

    - Lauren

  9. Lindsey Spence says:

    Well, check this story out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richardson_family_murders

    This 12 year old thought she was in love with a troubled 23 year old boy. The parents didnt approve, they took action for obvious reasons… well guess what…. this 12 year old girl thought she loved this boy so much she agreed to help him kill her family. Read the article… its Wiki but its true because I lived in Medicine Hat when this happened and it was a crying shame. I wonder how this 17 year old feels now that her whole family is dead?

  10. jennifer says:

    I would go with A & B. Depending on the Teenager & there level of responsabilty.
    really I think it’s a no win situation. You pick A & then go with this other person. What if they get closer & it doesn’t just go away? What if the girl gets pregnant? then what do you do? or you take that chance & pray they break up?
    If you choose B then thats another situation because most likely if you forbid them to be together they will most likely find a way to be together no matter what the parents say. I think it’s all about communcation from the beginning & being up front & honest with them. Talking to them often & making sure they understand what there consequences will be if something goes wrong.Also being there to listen.At the end of the day teenagers can be very sneaky when they want to be. When they want something bad enough they will get it one way or another if the parents aren’t tuned into them.This is a very good debate.

  11. Corinne says:

    I was in a similarly obsessed relationship from age 14 to 16 with a boy my family absolutely loathed. I am now 19-years-old and look back on that relationship in utter horror; I almost threw my entire life away over a petty (emotionally abuse, I might add) high school relationship. Much like Chloe, I was convinced my mom was out to get him and to destroy our relationship simply because she was “crazy” (as Chloe even said to her mom) and wanted to see my unhappy. I even screamed obscenities at her, saying I “hated her” and would be “happy if she died,” all because she forbid me from going to the park with him. :/

    I saw so much of my old self while watching Chloe’s defiance and desperate disrespect on the show. If she is anything like I was, this situation has only driven her to want to cling tighter onto Dusty and run further away from her (obviously) loving parents.

    My parents put up with my terrible relationship, watched me cry night after night over him, call him every hour, ditch my friends for him, lose my self-confidence because of him, and give up everything to have him. But they stuck it out with me the entire time. Yes, there were threats about kicking me out, taking privileges away for my attitude, and restricting my time spent with him. But for the most part, they (begrudgingly) knew that I was going to do whatever it took to be with him, so they let it run its course. After two tiring years, I finally decided for myself that I had had enough. And you know that my mom was there to grab me back as tight as possible!

    Unfortunately, teens are inexplicably drawn towards everything our parents tell us not to do. Forbidding her from seeing him is only going to push her more towards him. Teenagers have a intense need to feel in control of our own lives, and often despise being told what to do (even if it logically is beneficial to us); being so close to “adulthood,” it is terribly frustrating to feel like your parents are making decisions for you like they did when you were younger. She has to make the choice for herself that it just isn’t working out, but I would encourage the mother, Lahna, to continue expressing her love and care for her. It seems she has less of an irritation with her dad, as did I during my situation. I think mothers are always most willing to express their emotions that they sometimes get annoying (as Chloe make pretty evident); fathers pick their battles typically, so when Dad is concerned, you know he’s got a good reason. The parents need to keep communication open with her, but I believe Chloe needs to be the one to finally open her eyes herself (rather than have her parents forcefully pry them open).

  12. Jenice Jestin Adams says:

    Dr.phil im a 21 year old teengal 4rm South Africa in Cape Town and like evry1 no in CT Ur teen life is a journey. Here we grow up wit da dum sense in our heads da mor my parents push da mor i push back, meanin if my mum say i dnt lyk da guy u hav u must leav hm…. I wil like hm even mor then and nt leav hm. So i thnk let nature take its course bt let da parents stil advise and guide her.

  13. tough question, i think if you try to stop someone from doing something they are just going to want to do it more so it’s best that they learn on their own

  14. Laura E says:

    No one has mentioned birth control. I agree if kids are determined to get together, they will do it, (I did), they will do it in cars, behind bushes, in broom closets, no matter what you say. The question is do you want your daughter to get a fatal disease or get pregnant by this loser, like Alexandra? Sure you would rather your kids remain virgins but that’s wishful thinking, wishing won’t make it happen. Sticking your head in the sand will just result in teenage pregnancy and STDs. You can’t protect your kids from bad romantic decisions but you can protect them from disease and pregnancy. Teach them about birth control and safe sex.

  15. Dr Paul says:

    A gentleman never tells.

  16. rastraus says:

    I have a 15 yr old son who has been dating the same girl for almost two years now. They seem to think that they need to spend EVERY waking minute together. They go to the same school and have the same classes and still think they need to come home together and stay with each other until 10pm. After they are apart they text each other for the rest of the night and then starting at 6am. They are never more than two inches apart. They are both great kids, good grades, no drugs, no alcohol etc. When I tell my son that I don’t think they need to be spending all that time together he gets really upset and wants to know why?? When I don’t let them see each other often, he doesn’t hang out with anyone else. He just comes home and sits in his room and plays video games. I guess I don’t know what to do. I do know that I would not tell him that he can’t see her at all because that would not be fair to him. Any suggestions anyone???

  17. Maritha Adele says:

    Im acually from Norway and im a teen myself! Or i used to be atleast. When I was 17 i had a HUGE crus on this boy, but i knew my parents would not approv of him soo i kept it a secret. But ofc my parents found out about it. One of the main reason they did not like him was because he was from India. I know, stupid parents!! But anyway I really really worked for my parents and this boy too get some kind of relationship. And guess what? they did! I spent too of my best years with this boy, ofc it ended in him cheating on me with my bestfriend, soo maybe my parents was right about something?? naah just kidding! But i thinks it’s important for kids/teens to know that their parents support them nomatter what, work with your child come too an agreement, meet his/her parents and work your way throug it, it wont last a life time anyway!

  18. dana says:

    i have a 17 year old daughter that is just like chloe.she is dating this guy who is mentally abusive to her .he yells and cusses her alot.i tried the just let it go and she will find someone better,but when she did find a nice guy she said she didnt deserve him and went back to the other guy.i also tried the keeping them away from each other but that didnt work either.now im at a loss.i was in an abusive relationship with her father and i see the same qualities in her boyfriend that i saw in her father.im so scared that she will go through the same thing i did.ive told her this and she denys that he will ever hit her.what should i do to keep this from happening to her?please tell me what i can do or what might help.

  19. wendy says:

    I really need help. Stressed out!! My husband and I dont see eye to eye on this and I know its affecting my daughters outlook . My daughter is only 12 ,she wants to date all of a sudden. I never thought i would have to deal with this situation at this age maybe 15/16. At 12 I don’t think so of course my husband says we cant totally isolate her she will rebel. I get that but to me its not about isolating her ,shes 12 what kind of parent would I be to allow a 12 year old to take on independence most grow people have trouble with. Her grades have dropped this year granted she transfered from a private school her entire life to the public system last year.She behaves sneaky leading me to beleive she hiding something The boy she says shes dating lives across the street.I need advice,please

  20. JessicaR says:

    Wendy – You and your husband are both right. If your daughter is displaying questionable behavior and you are worried about her well-being I would do a room sweep. First a spring cleaning, where you go through her closets removing old clothes, and organize everything. Look in iPod cases, jewelry boxes, etc. She can be present for this but doesn’t need advance notice. Second, get your husband and her to go to the store for groceries or pick up dinner, basically whenever she isn’t there I’d look for a diary or journal and read it. Look between the bed and the mattress, in pillow cases, behind bookshelves, behind dressers, etc. Twelve is a rough age, struggling with their identity and you’ve noticed a change in her grades. I would also get home earlier than she expects some days just to surprise her; you want to keep her guessing for a while. If her boyfriend is right across the street it would be very easy for them to go back and forth between their parents house when y’all aren’t home. I would make sure you and your neighbor keep all alcohol and medicine locked up as well, including spray paint. You and the boyfriend’s parents should also work together as a team to make sure they are never alone and unsupervised. Some teenagers do respect their parents’ rules and wouldn’t dream of breaking them but some are strong-willed and are going to do what they want regardless. I’m raising a do-what-I-want-regardless. I have found alcohol, cigarettes, she has had boys over when we weren’t home, and sends inappropriate texts. We do random cell phone checks to keep her in line. And there are consequences for her behavior. You and your husband should be united, even if you disagree privately, never let her see it. My daughter does tend to act up more when my husband isn’t around b/c she knows I am the weaker link. Teenagers will try to manipulate the relationship and they will definitely test a marriage. The important thing is to make not let this affect your marriage and to make time for each other. You don’t have to isolate her but she is still 12. Allow the boy to come over and watch a movie with y’all but no laying on each other or kissing. Or you can invite the boy to go out to dinner with y’all…but I wouldn’t just drop them off at the movies by themselves (you, can sit a row or two back). The best advice my mom gave me was; teenagers…this is when you have to begin thinking like a criminal and stay one step ahead of them. Good luck to you!

  21. gladys says:

    Our 21 year old who has numerous learning disabilities, ADD and perception problems has been living with an alcoholic and ‘former’ drug addict…lied about this whole arrangement to us for months. We dislike him and his entire family – they are all alcoholics. She admits to his addictions, but says she loves him and is happy. Now she announced an engagement for a wedding in 5 months. Swears she is not pregnant. What to do? How do you know when your adult child who is mentally disabled can make sound judgments and decisions? We don’t want to deal with him directly because we don’t want to possibly get arrested! This guy has no respect for anyone and has threatened us repeatedly. There is NOTHING a parent can do once their child reaches 18 so you have to live with it and pray alot.

  22. Stephanie says:

    I am 27 years old. When I was 13 years old I meant the love of my life and of course at the time I wanted nothing more than to be with him. I did what he wanted to make sure I got to be with him. Some of the things I did I knew were wrong and didn’t want to do at the time and other things I wanted to do at the time but now wish I had waited. I ended up pregnant at 15 years old and became a 16 year old mom! I however did not let him completely consume my life like the girl I saw on television. Before I got pregnant I was involved in sports and I continued to be until I got pregnant. I then chose to not participate in sports so I could work and provide for my child. Over the years there was a lot of problems between the father of my now children and myself. My parents told me over and over that I deserved better. My father almost disowned me over some of the problems. My mother always had faith in my childrens father but did not think the relationship was good for me, him, or our children. The father of my kids passed away 4 years ago but I still love him no matter what hell he put me through!

  23. Jordi says:

    I will start by saying, I am not a parent. However, I do have extensive experience with children/teens of all ages. I am an elementary school teacher and have worked for several years in a junior high and high school youth group, and I was a teen not too long ago. I think we are making this decision too late. It is better to establish those boundaries and that sense of self in your child before they are tested. I know this because I did not have it, and being a self-aware child, I always knew what would be best. I do not say that this is the be all and end all because certainly things will happen that could cause a daughter or son to go off track in the dating realm. Let me share a few good examples I’ve seen. My mother really did not have dating rules for me. However I never dated. I turned a few guys down, but mostly because they weren’t (physically) what I was looking for. As petty as it seems now, that’s how most teenagers are. I developed in my teenage years with my own youth group. This youth group saved me. Not only did they help me to see examples of what relationships could be like when done right, but people also mentored me. (1) I believe it’s very important that you have VERY open lines of communication with your children. If you choose to let them date, then sit them down 5 minutes after they get home froma date and talk about it. This allows a teen to take off their rose colored glasses. Though it may not influence them outwardly, you can be sure that you are being heard.
    I didn’t date until I turned 18. As I said before, this really wasn’t a rule, or even by choice so much. However, my first bf was 7 years older than I was, worked only temp jobs, slept in his truck, and ate Carl’s Jr. spicy chicken sandwhiches like they were going out of style. No one came out and told me, “this guy is no good for you!” But they did drop the occassional hint with their expression or tone of voice. However, they let it be my decision. We were together for a year and a half and I broke it off. Only afterward did I realize the hints people were dropping. I got angry because I wished they had just flat out told me. But they didn’t. That’s why it’s so important to start early. Teach your children what they deserve. Brainstorm with them what they really desire in a mate. When they have a crush, discuss what is so appealing about them. Is it their fancy car, their blue eyes, the way they throw a football, seeing them taking care of their siblings, or how they helped the struggler do well on the test. These types of discussions will help your child (sans pressure) figure out what they are looking for, and will curb those petty, “He’s so hot!” crushes. When you build a good foundation, you can rest on it and know that it will hold you or your child up. Also, if for whatever reason you do not have the ability to have that type of communication with your child, make sure they are mentored. I had mentor parents and my mother HATED it. They would make me dinner, buy me clothes, not because I needed it, but because they wanted to demonstrate something to me. While I did understand that she was jealous, it made more sense to me (and I told her), “If I can’t talk to you and you love me so much, then why would you discourage me from talking to people who actually can help me in this part of my life.” (2) Mentors are very important.
    Lastly, while this may seem impossible, do teenagers really need to date? I in no way mean this as a judgement, but I do believe that in many cases your children can develop this idea on their own when they have that foundation built. While I didn’t really chose not to date until I was out of highschool, I can only imagine what it would have been like if I had. I am very glad that I waitied to date because honestly, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what I was looking for. Had I started dating in high school, it would have been purely based on who had the cutest dimples. I would have ended up with a lot of unneeded heartache, and confusion. There are many girls and boys who wait to date until their out of high school or even college. My cousin wants to go to med school and has realized that dating will only distract her. My sister-in-law also didn’t date in high school. She realized that there was so much time, she didn’t need to rush it. Despite having waited, my sister-in-law is both married and has a 2-year-old daughter, and her relationshipis much healthier because she allowed hersefl to grow more before she began dating.
    I want to reiterate my two points. You must start early developing in your child a sense of self, and an idea what to look for in a mate. This builds a good foundation so that when that almost inevitable not-so-good bf comes home for the first time, all you need is a glance. You child will remember and will consider. That foundation will influence their decision for a lifetime. However, it’s must harder to start building in the middle of a relationship, if you missed to chance to do it when they were younger. Second, mentors can save your life. They can help fill in the gaps where either you child refuses to let you for whatever reason, or they can sort of become a temporary surrogate mommy. Resist the urge to become jealous. While it may hurt that your child won’t talk to you, you must remember that it’s about the health and well-being of your child, and not your sense of pride. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother/father.

  24. Stacey says:

    I think this is a half and half subject. I am a teenager myself and I believe in learning for yourself – this is sometimes the only way to grow as a person, in mind and body, but it can also be destructive. Teens are falling in love at younger ages these days, but is it really love? Do they know what it means or is it simply infatuation and hormones talking. I started dating when I was about 13 but it was never serious, it was more my hormones and the status of having a boyfriend. As i have got older (and hopefully wiser) I have come to start what i think is falling in love. It may be and it might not be, but for the moment i am happy. He is good to me and treats me like a queen. I have had messed up relationships in the past, when i thought with my hormones and not my head. But i have learnt. My mom has always supported me, even when she did not support my decision and that helped a lot. Although, ironically now, I have a decent guy and she is not happy because she disagrees with our age gap. A lot of people disagree with big age gaps, but if you are happy and stable, surely that is what matters? I think parents should try and guide their children in the right direction without being critical and showing their children their mistakes and how they learnt their lessons. Parents are too quick to judge and sometimes forget that they were once teenagers and did crazy stuff too. But at the same time, the teenager needs to realise that their parents are just looking out for their best interests and should be grateful that their parents love and respect them enough just to want the best for their children.

  25. wendy says:


  26. joanna says:

    they more they tell her not to do something the more she’s going to do i know its hard but sometimes its best to let her do her thing and learn….when you stop nagging her so much she’ll look back and say man my parents were right..thats what worked for me…once my parents stopped nagging me about my ex and telling me what to do i lost some of my interest in him and i finally realized what my parents were talking about…

  27. Patti says:


    However, before my sons begin dating at all, I have several casual, occasional talks with them, really listening to their hopes, dreams, goals.

    Then, if a gal comes into their life later who is likely to shatter those hopes and dreams, etc., I try to ask them about how they see her fitting into their long-range goals/plans.

  28. Kathleen says:

    Well, I have a daughter that will be 17 in about 5 weeks. There is this guy that she has been friends with for awhile now. I have had my suspicion that there is more to it than friends. I just found out that yes it is her boyfriend. I confronted her about it and she totally LIED to my face. He is 23 years old. I was totally disapointed in her and him as well. I have told my children time after time not to be afraid to tell me anything. I might not like what I hear but I will work thru it. Just don’t lie to me. I will lose all trust in you!! Trust is very hard to get back.

    Well luckily we have a family friend that my daughter had told that it was her boyfriend and she brought the two of them together and told them that if this is what they wanted and wanted to have a mature relationship that they needed to tell me. Well I actually found out before they told me.

    I had a long talk with my daughter. I don’t feel that she sees it any other way but her way. She says this is the guy that she is going to marry, she loves him and he loves her. She was just scared to tell me. Well I then had a long talk with him today and I don’t feel that I got anything thru to him either.
    No they are not sexually active and he says he is not going to pressure her into but I am supposed to believe that because WHY? They have lied to me thus far. Why should I trust them now????? So she was scared!! He is 23 obviously he knows it isn’t right. I have told them both that if they love each other as they THINK they do, then wait a year.

    I am very troubled with this all and REALLY REALLY don’t know the right way to handle it. I have talked with the pastor of my church and the school counselor already and a few of my close friends.

    I am very scared for my daughter and love her to death and don’t want her to get hurt in any way.

    I NEED help with this issue more than anything else right now!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Courtney says:

    I don’t think it is a bright idea to try to force kids into anything or into not doing something.

    When I was in high school and even in junior high I saw a lot of kids whose parents were very overprotective and those kids would rebel.
    One girl I know had Mormon parents (nothing against the Mormon way of life) who tried to keep her home and sheltered from boys. She soon found a way out and ended up having sex at 14 and getting into some hard drugs. She would even comment that if her parents weren’t so uptight she wouldn’t HAVE to rebel.
    That’s just the typical mind of a teenager.

    I believe parents need to be serious with their teens. Communicate. Tell your teens what a relationship is really about and explain to them that obsessing over a boy isn’t going to make that boy like you. Explain that they have to hold their own and confidence is what really attracts someone of the opposite sex… that is, when they want a REAL relationship. If they give all their time and energy into someone else, that person can take advantage of them and will never really respect them.

  30. amelia says:

    well,if they keep seeing each other ,try to have some one family member or friend go along to shapparon or have them always be at a group gathering birthday parties invite him to dinner, have the watch a movie in the living room have them go on family outings . so she can have a better opionon of him and also the parents . have the parents of both families have a outing at the park , baseball game, some activity play volley ball so you can see if it true love. or just a friendship. they have feelings and they should be respected not to hurt their future relations or college whateverreputation in their school.

  31. Katie Horak says:

    I would explain to my daughter that I don’t approve of him and I would tell her the reasons why. I would then tell her that she’s old enough to start making her own decisions and that she’ll have to face her own consequences if it wasn’t the right one. I believe if you let your children make their own mistakes, they’ll respect you more. Tell them how you feel and be there for them, but let them make their own judgement.

  32. roberta says:

    strongly disaprove of? I believe that unless there is real danger of physical or emotional abuse, I will stay out of matters of the heart. I love my children very much, even if I disaprove of their choice of mate. those are their choices to make and if it turns out to be a hard lesson then it is one they hopefully will learn from. My mom once said to me she didn’t want me to make the same mistakes she made and at the time I thought “well I’m not you mom!”. Today I might still think that, because I’m so very different than she is and was. Yes, I have made mistakes in judgement when it came to love interests and so will my childeren and I think so have many people living on this planet. Then again I always make sure I’m there for them in a non-judgemental way. I always want my children to know they can come to me for help and support whenever they need me. And they do, but mostly they live their own lives and let me be part of it and that makes me so happy.

  33. Susan says:

    I have a problem. My daughter is will be 15 in July, however she started school at 6 so she is only in 8th grade, making her older than most of the kids. The problem is she likes to hang out with kids her own age and I don’t have a problem with that. She makes good grades, is trustworthy we have never had any problems with her. However, she and a boy like each other and my husband is being insane about it. He is a really nice boy from a nice family, but he turned 16 in Jan, our daughter will be 15 in July. He is only 1yr and 7 monthe older than her which I dont see as a problem, but he is in the 10th grade and she is in 8th. Age wise she should be in 10th and my husband is insisting that she only has a boyfriend that is in her grade or one above. This puts her only ever dating boys that are younger than her, as the boys in her class are or the same age as her. I think that my husband is wrong but he wont even talk about it. I feel that she should be allowed to date boys that are no more than 2 years older than her and we both agree that she can’t go on alone dates until 16. He won’t even let him come over to watch a movie, however he will let her see him in a group setting, because he has no problem with him. My daughter, Im afraid will start doing sneaky things to see him because of the rules my husband is enforcing. I guess my question is how do you feel with the issue. Should you go by age difference or by what grade they are in, I think it should be age, my husband feels it should be age and grade.

  34. nery anes says:

    hi i love your show and i will like to know what can i say to my brother to help him overcome hi drug addiction.we are going to have a metting with him my mother and sister,we have before and has not work.please help us help him.thank you

  35. Stacy says:

    Please parents…let it take it’s own course. My parents did not and at the age of 37 I still have never been married and always wonder what if. Oh an by the way…he is now quite successful in his field. People change and rise above their raising. Be a good influence instead.

  36. Shelly says:

    Dr.Phil: My beagle is 14 1/2 and his liver is failing. He is not in pain, but we are right there. He has been the best dog,making us smile every day, funny, kind, devoted, a therapy dog for the elderly, and just one in a million. How in the world will I get through next Tuesday and what will I do when Bailey is gone? I am already in mourning and I only have 2 more days with my baby. I can’t stand the pain. Grieving the loss of a pet is real, like losing a child. He has filled our lives with pride, laughter, amazement and love. Please help me understand this process of grief, unlike that of another human. My pain is deep and I don’t know how much more I can take. Please, please help me deal with the loss of my boy. please.

  37. Audrey says:

    This has been a nightmare for me for so long now. My 18 yr old daughter left home on Feb. 8th, 2010 to go and live with her bf’s mother in another state (10 hrs away from home/us). While she is living with his mother and his two brothers, he (her BF) is living (with his grandmother ) 5 hrs. away attending college. He had come up to see her the weekend of Feb. 5th, and she left (home) to go live “closer” to him. Yes, it is 5 hrs closer, but still a long distance relationship to me. And the strain of having to drive each and every weekend (ten hours round trip) to see each other will for sure put even more of a strain on their relationship in my opinion. Anyway, she only had 3 more months left of High School before she graduated, and on the National Honor Society to boot. Her new HS doesn’t have a Honor’s Dept. or anything of the sort. She says she likes where she lives (being in close proximity to neighbors/friends) vs living so rural back here at home. But she hates the school she is attending. She gave up everything to be with this “boy”…her job, her home, her car, her friends, her clothes and possessions, everything. Just to be “closer” to him. She said she hated living here (so rural) and not having friends close by. She had a job here she could literally walk to (had been working there since she was 12). Now she is lonely (still) because he is 5 hrs away and now her family is not around either. We tried talking with this boy when he was last here, letting him know our concerns and wishes for her…to at least finish out HS here, then in 3 months, if she chose to…THEN she could leave and go be with him. He knows all the right words to say (smooth talker/charmer/BS…-er…whatever —he is a very deceitful individual, an has broke her heart so many times over the past year, I can’t keep count. He has lied, cheated on her, bad mouthed her, etc. But then always comes crawling back to her, knowing her vulnerability, etc. She insists he is the ONE, that she knows he is the one she will marry one day. My husband (her stepfather) and myself have forbidden him to ever come to our home again. He was deceitful to us more then once. We gave him two chances and will not give him a third. To this day I have yet to speak with or to his mother (whom my daughter is now living with). When they were talking about her moving down there (about 7 months ago) the first time, I asked his mother how she could condone and allow this. Her response was: “She was afraid that if she didn’t, she would lose her son and he would move away”, so she would allow my daughter to move in with her. I told her I wished she would have just told him (and my daughter) no way. She knew my husband and I were totally against this idea, and that we did not support them in this decision at all. This was when my daughter was still 17 and I had some control in the matter. I went so far as to ask his mother to tell him to leave our daughter alone, not to contact her in any way, shape or form because every time he does it winds up in heartache for her. I forbid her to leave at that time. Now she is 18, and can legally do what she wants. In fact, she signed herself completely out of her school (here in our hometown), unbenounced to me (as I left that same morning…before her, on a flight to Florida that I had planned in advance). I did not find out that she left home until later that evening when I was already in Florida. Her boyfriend had deceived both my husband and myself that weekend by telling us he understood and agreed that she should first finish HS here where she has attended and gone to school since kindergarten. I had no idea that they were scheming all weekend to make this move.
    Since she left she has called me nearly every day, wanting or needing me to do something for her. (ie: shot records for school, mail her some of her things from home, just something every day or every other day). Part of me wants to just tell her to fend TOTALLY for herself and not to ask me to do one more thing for her. And the other part of me doesn’t want to lose her forever. She is a very fragile soul that I have to walk on eggshells when I speak with her…making sure I choose my words correctly on what I say, when I say it, and how I say it. I have to bury my feelings deep in my guy to keep any sort of a relationship in tact with her. I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t, and I just don’t know where to turn to anymore…besides my faith in God. He and my husband are what keep me going. My husband has not spoken to her since the day she left. He just is so hurt and is not ready to speak with her, and she knows it. But Mommy, on the other hand, is ALWAYS there for her no matter what. When and how do I be there for her without giving up my own self? Every day she is in a different mood. One day she wants to come back home, and she would in a heartbeat…if we let him come back with her. And that is a definite NO. My mother (her grandmother) who is nearly 84 yrs old (and very “old school” type individual) has even given in and said she could come back and live with her. She would allow him to come also if it meant she would come back home and finish her schooling here. Now she has less then 11 weeks till HS graduation and she does want to come back home but not without him. He is so wishy washy he would even up and leave college and go with her, because that is how he is…he will go with and where whomever will support him. To me (and my husband) he is just a user and a smooth talker. We feel she needs to make her own choices and decisions, but we do know that they are going to kick her in the butt in the end. I so strongly feel that she is headed for a train wreck and when it hits, it is going to hit harder then she ever imagined. I will always be there for her, with love, but I don’t know how to handle this mess at all. What is THIS mother to do? Any and all suggestions are greatly welcomed. Thanks for listening.

  38. Halle says:

    I have had alot of relation problems. Dr. Phil, I am going out with a guy named Brady who is very desperate and I mean VERY. Every time I break up with him so connecting love magnet draws me back to him. Do I have emotionally attachment issues? I need a way to break free from this relationship, but a way where I won’t come running back to him. We have been dating for over a 2 year period that was full of break-ups,fights,and problems but also a whole lot of love,devotion, and kindness. I also know of things he has done that I also disaprove of like partying and hanging with other girls. Dr.Phil, I really need your help! What am I supposed to do?

  39. Abbey says:

    I am a 17 year old grade 12 highschool student. I think that the main thing is to make sure that you have a balance in your life. There is nothing wrong with having relationships as long as they are a part of your life and not your only priority. I have had the same boyfriend for over a year now but I also spend a lot of time with my family and friends as well as in school and having a job. A mix between option A and B is appropriate depending on the situation. Trying to outright control a teenager never works because you can not be constantly watching them 24/7 -but it is important to make sure that they do not become so obsessed that other areas in their lives are sacrificed. As Dr.Phil mentioned, it is common for teenagers to fall in love fast and become “obsessed”. This is natural and not a bad thing. It is only bad when the rest of your life suffers because of it. If you have the rest of your life in check and going well, it’s an added bonus to have love as well! There is nothing wrong with that.

  40. Nick says:

    I think you don’t let it get to that point. A parent needs to establish the concept that it is the parents job to monitor, protect, guide and have final say in all decisions relating to the child until the child moves out of the house. Of course this will only work if you have a fun, loving, relationship with the child, but if you have this combination of authority tempered with friendship, compassion and wisdom, your child will first of all want to please you, secondly they will know you have their best interest at heart, so they will value your opinion and third they will know it won’t work for them to oppose you. Part of being a parent is that you have more wisdom and life experiences than your child. It would not be good parenting to let your teenage CHILD enter into a relationship with someone you didn’t think was good for them….Sit back and hope they don’t do drugs, smoke, drink, have sex, get a disease, get pregnant or suffer from emotional or physical abuse from the hands of this other CHILD you don’t trust???? Seriously? Is that what we call parenting these days? It is a parents job to use their best judgement in ALL circumstances. It is a parents job to say no if they don’t think something is right for their child. Say yes whenever possible: hair, nail polish, shaving legs, makeup, piercing (within reason), having friends over to your home every day, sports, these are things you say yes to as much as possible…then you say no to the things that have the potential to damage your child in a lasting moral, ethical, emotional, psychological or sexual way. And getting involved with the wrong people, is a super quick way to start down a path of destruction.

  41. Anita Tarvin says:

    I am 53 years old women ,that had three girls and one boy.I had problems with all of my children.Every one of them seen people that I didn’t approve of and I would talk with them about the people that I didn’t approve of.I talked to them about things that could happened to them if they keep on runin around with people that they runin around with.Every one of my children didn’t like some of my relationship that I had and some of my freind’s either.If you keep on fighting with them you will lose them to drugs,sucide , jail,or raped. I fear for my children every day , even though they are grown,I have two girl’s that are married and the boy and the youngest girl that isn’t.

  42. sweetie says:

    I am dealing with a 20 year old who is with a boy i despise and am dealing with my own household drama; we get into arguments because my bf is so controllling, selfish and lazy. He makes her take the bus all across town with the baby toddler and i get so mad that I am always the one who is blamed for trying to protect my daughter. He, her father, is not on the same page so everytime I have an opinion, that what the bf is doing–he tries to be the goodguy and drives her to the bus stop or to his sister. The bf is so damn lazy he won’t even pick her up and makes excuses; he left me nasty messages when they were broken up and they got back together that’s why I’m so against this relationship. He’s verbally abusive, controlling, uneducated and lazy slob. She smokes cus his family does and live in the bad part of town. I wanted the best for her, and it didn’t work out. The family is now torn apart due to our daughter pitting us backand forth–it’s so frustrating and sickening. Don’t know what to do anymore I see her heading for a brickwall and just have to watch–I choose B spoke my mind, told his family off and toldmy daughter off, but it didn’t work–so the majority is going for A.

  43. Brandi says:

    I believe that parents should have a strong say in who their teens date. Just because a teenager believes they are ready for a serious relationship, Most are not. A relationship involes more than what movie or where to go on friday night when school gets out. It is mental physical and emotional. Autho this can be good if a person is prepaired for what will be involed in a relationship. If parents would become more involed in what their teens are doing we would have less teen drug use and teen mothers. Chloe should be more respectful. She is a child and the people she are sitting next to are the people who brought her into the world and raised her. They have ever right to know about her life in and out! I kow in my personal life I thank my lucky stars that my parents had a hand I my life (more than I liked as a teen) but if not for them stepping in and saying think about who and what he is and think about who and what you want to be. And it really made me think! And at 20 I married a man who is who and what I want to be for the rest of my life. At 16 I had no idea. So parents SPEAK YOUR MIND AND BE IN YOUR TEENS LIFE PROACTIVELY

  44. Lynne says:

    I’ve seen this so many times before, like the family with the boyfriend Dusty. Not only is this girl between a teen and a adult, but she is probably in that zone of my parents no nothing, I know everything, and this is my be all end all first boyfriend. My cousin went threw it, my neighbor went threw it and use to sneek out of the bedroom window. They need to grow up and it will hit them that they were being an ass so to speak. The one thing they need to do is to be sure like Dr. Phi says she doesn’t get pregnant. Then that would roll the snowball more. She is like every teen between 16 and 19 who thinks they are all grown up. I felt like this is so typical to what I’ve seen with friends and neighbors and my cousin. I can’t live without him, I can’t be without him, I’ll call him or drive by ten million times a day. We all went threw it, I went threw it, and now I think how stupid I was.

  45. Lynne says:

    She gives him the money, because she thinks by doing that it will keep him around. When a girl has the so called major crush, more like lust she thinks she’ll do anything for them, and the guy will use it to his advantage until his next love crush comes.

  46. Cindy says:

    My beautiful 19 year old daughter has been involved for almost three years with a boy whom my husband and I entirely disapprove of. I used to think that the relationship would fade on its own, and it still may, but my heart aches for my daughter. This boy is a year older than my daughter. He is not a bad person and he does not do bad things. The problem is he doesn’t do much of anything. He works part time at a daycare center for dogs. I think he has completed 2 college classes in two years. He is completely supported by his grandparents with whom he lives. Of course they think my daughter is the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. My daughter was accepted and started to attend a prestigious college on the East coast, but with less than one semester under her belt, she returned home at Thanksgiving time mostly because she was so terribly homesick for this boy. She spent most of the entire time she was at school sick and in quarantine with Swine flu. Because she was unable to make any friends, she spent all of her time on Skype with the boyfriend. She was allowed to withdraw from the university on a medical leave with no academic consequences but it cost us over $12,000 and she has nothing to show for it. At this time, she has now completed one class at our local community college. My daughter used to have many friends but she does not have even one girlfriend anymore because they have dropped her because she would never keep her commitments with them — the boy always comes first. All I can say is that I am thankful that my daughter is using birth control and I keep praying that one day she will wake up and smell the coffee and realize she has wasted several years of her life on this loser. She does have a part time job two days a week, and is planning to spend the entire month of August with us by herself on a family vacation. I plan to confiscate the cell phone for August and we will be on an island in Canada with no internet connectivity or even electricity thankfully. I hope to be able to use the time to reconnect with the daughter I hardly ever see. My heart goes out to all parents who have sons and daughters with stupid boyfriends or girlfriends. I have paid a great deal of money to my therapist to keep me from going crazy over this situation.

  47. Margie says:

    Well as a teen parent myself who is now raising two teens I have to say I’m going through pretty much the same thing except instead of my daughter being obsessed it’s my 16 yr old son.His dad and I can’t stand the little girl he’s been dating for the last 6 months.No good has come of their relationship,I mean everything that could happen to an adult couple has already happened to these children.This little girl within the first 3 months lied and cheated on him,then after he found that out she all of sudden is pregnant,which he admitted to us she persueded him not to use protection(I know it took both of them)and when I tried to talk to her and my son about how serious her pregnancy was she disprects me in my own house raised her voice at me and walks out,then she gets an abortion,her mom is no better then she is when we tried to offer help,this little girl then texts my son and tells him to get checked because she might have an STD,thankfully it was just a yeast infection(yuk).Well as if that isn’t bad enough we find out that this girl has been influencing our son to sneak out of the house and walk across the very busy highway we live by and sneak in through her window at her house and the topper she may be pregnant again because after she aborted the first baby they planned to start a family.This girl has serious issues,she’s a recovering meth addict and she continues to manipulate and brainwash my son.I have tried both ways to open my son’s eyes.When we first found out about the pregnancy we were willing to help and support them but they expected for us the adults to show them respect before they gave us any.These kids now at days aren’t grateful for anything they have.My son has changed so much because of this girl’s influence.I know I can’t only blame her because it is his choice but she has him so blind that he won’t even listen to reason.He has already threatened and attempted to attack me physically for this girl,his 8 yr old sister is afraid of him cause he’s always in a bad mood and he walks around the house blaming everyone because he can’t see her.I explained to him that their choices are what’s caused them to not be able to see each other outside of school and that’s noone’s fault but their’s.If they had been responsible then we wouldn’t have a problem letting them see each other. At this point I don’t really talk to my son anymore and it breaks my heart.We had a very close relationship but now it’s no more.He would always tell me to mind my own business and it was his life to stay out of it so that’s what his dad and I have been doing but he wants us to be mom and dad when he wants something.Well that’s where I draw the line,I told him since he wants to be a man then along with being a man comes more responsibility.So I stopped giving him rides and pretty much doing all the mom stuff we do,washing his clothes,giving him allowance,cooking for him etc.Boy he really isn’t liking it too much but sometimes we just have to let them fall no matter how much it hurts us to watch.If anyone has better advice please share it with me.

  48. Kelly says:

    See I have the opposite problem of you all. My teen daughter is obsessed with a great boy. I love him dearly. He is very respectful, good grades, and he has major goals that he will hit one day. My daughter will not give him space! She has lost all her friends (she is very social and loves to be around people) because she is afraid to make plans in case he wants to do something. She throws temper tantrums if his plans change or if he does not sit right by her. It is insane! If I were his parents I would be very concerned! Her birth father is in and out of her life just enough to mess with her. I truly believe she is like this for she thinks she is not good enough for them(because her birth father seems to show her that) so she must cling so they do not leave too. I am always open to advise! How do I get my teen to quit clinging?!

  49. Angela says:

    I am 19 years old. And I must say that after watching this episode I had a rude awakening myself. I am disgusted by the way she treats people in general and her distored way of thinking. My parents and I did struggle for some time with dating issues a few years ago. They chose to deal with it in a combination of A and B. They wanted me to make my own mistakes and learn from the consequences. And I did eventually learn. I take their advice to heart 100% now. I believe though that my life and dating style took a turn for the better after being in college. She will find that things aren’t quite what they seem. I feel sorry for her that she cannot see that she is not only a victim but also the villian. Once you admit that there is an issue, you can work towards change and live a happier better life. My relationships with my parents and friends have changed so much by learning these simple things and my dating life is much better as well.

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