"The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed." - Author unknown
I am a married mom of a 15 year-old social butterfly named Nadia. I'm not sure if I'm "tripping" or not, but I have a funny feeling that my daughter and her best friend are MORE than "friends". They seem a little too close for my liking. I find them to be very touchy and I often hear them addressing each other as babe. Her friend often stays the night on weekends, which for the longest I just considered to be girl time. Over the last few weeks, I have communicated my concerns to my husband, who feels like I'm over thinking the whole ordeal. How should I handle this or am I worrying about nothing? Please share your thoughts.
A Worried Mom
Dear Worried Mom,
As a parent I can totally understand your concern. Are they just friends? Are they secretly lovers? All of these burning questions may drive you crazy.
Simply put, today’s teens socialize differently. They are more open. How they engage may be influenced by the overt sexual themes in music and videos, as well as the voices behind those projects.
We are in a new time, with new situations to digest. Socializing as we (older generation) know it has evolved. Think back 20 years ago or maybe less - homosexuality was shamed and also children were seen, but not heard. Your sexual preference was not up for discussion!
So now, we have to look at this generation with a new set of eyes. We don’t have to change our personal beliefs, but we have to SEE in order to begin the process of understanding.
Your concern is that your daughter may be experimenting with her best friend. I wouldn’t come straight out and ask her if “she is gay”. This could cause a host of unnecessary trust issues, as well as ill and hurt feelings. It could also make her shut down and not want to talk. So far there is no concrete proof that there is any sexual interaction going on, so try not to jump to conclusions. I would recommend that you have a typical mother daughter conversation where you ask specific teenage questions.
The key to having this calm conversation will be your ability to allow her to express herself, uninterrupted and without judgment. Being silent and listening will allow two things to happen:
1. You actually hear what she is saying.
2. Allows time to process the information.
Your ability to not pass judgment will help to build confidence and trust, and that no matter what kind of situation life delivers she can come and talk comfortably and honestly. Remember her feelings are “hers” regardless of your approval. I understand this is a very delicate conversation to have, however communication is a major key in effective parenting. Make sure you are emotionally and mentally prepared to handle whatever her response may be. I suggest asking yourself is the issue the sexual activity or the sexuality; then ask yourself the questions stated earlier. If your issue is sexuality, then there is a more in depth conversation you need to have with yourself. Imagine the worst case response, just in case your child happens to respond in a similar manner- you are “somewhat” prepared. We teach our children so many life skills, one being tolerance. You may have to show that you practice what you preach. Understand that your actions/reactions will have a lasting impact on your current and future relationship with your child. No matter how the conversation ends, understand that this is a difficult time emotionally. Unconditional love is the ability to show affection without limitations. Whether she is experimenting with her friend or not, having sex, or thinking about having sex - make sure she knows that your love is unconditional.
Taleema is a proud mother of 3 beautiful girls, an Early Childhood Expert w/over 18 yrs experience, and a woman who is passionate about promoting positive change and Cultivating Character in a world that is quickly forgetting those principles exist.