Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

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Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Hi there guys Man Happy

 

My son recently asked for advice on starting a relationship with an older girl (he's 16, she's 18)

 

A little context first.  He has suffered in the past from depression, anxiety and has self harmed.  He is on medication for depression.  He is supposed to be in year 10 but has essentially dropped out for mental health reasons and with assistance is actively seeking alternative paths to training/emloyment.  He has been separated from his first serious girlfriend for about 6 months with whom he was sexually active.  It was a messy break up with lots of boundary issues that exacerbated his depression/anxiety. 

 

I, along with his caseworker have counselled him in the past to give relationships "a rest" for a while.  It has been about 6 months and he is in a much better place in terms of his mental health.  So, I advised him to proceed cautiously and to be very wary of not "going all in".  Essentially to be wary of boundary issues (on both sides) and to look after himself and not get carried away. BUT... am I being too optimistic?  Should I advise against it?

 

Would love some perspective on this? Man Happy

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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Hey @tenacious_dad - I'm so impressed about the communication level between you and your son...

I can understand that you are worried but from the outside it does sound like you've given him good support and the idea of proceeding with caution seems like a good one.

Now the important part will be keeping those lines of communication open now that he is "proceeding with caution" - keep checking in with him in a way that supports his autonomy and accountability...

Could you talk to him and encourage him to name what might be a 'warning sign' that he's falling into old habits/behaviours with this new GF? Then from there you could also ask him what he will do about it if he notices it in himself? Talking to Dad could be a good idea, for example!
Frequent scribe

Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Hi there.  

 

I think you should always be optimistic about your kids Smiley Happy

 

I think you're spot in.  It will be hard for him to take it slowly, but it's really important, and you can only keep reminding him that.

 

 



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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Sounds like a very thoughtful & considered response to me @tenacious_dad... Keep it up and I like what @StHubbins said too! "you should always be optimistic about your kids " Nice one
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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Guys, who among us at 16 would have heeded parents' advice on not going all in, head first when it comes to love?  OK some of us realise NOW that it wasn't "love" but gosh - at the the time it sure felt like it to me! I guess I'm saying @tenacious_dad it sounds like you two have good communication, you have helped your son access counselling/medication/strategies to cope with his mental health issues, now he's shown interest in a (slightly older) lass it's going to be hard not to hover -- I get that.  I love that your son has come to you for advice, so continue to give it but don't be hard on yourself if at 16 he doesn't want give relationships "a rest" as you say. Or - if he tries to proceed cautiously but falls head over heels too hard and too fast - let him know its a process, he will manage better this time because of his experience in the past.

 

Hugz.

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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

The fact your son is asking you for advice up front is fab-doesn't mean he's going to take the advice, lol! 

But it does indicate that he'll keep talking to you, especially if you support whatever he decides to do. Keeping communication open is key here, I think. And you have a great start.

and of course, be around to pick up the pieces if that's what happens and never say I told you so 😀 If he goes ahead and it goes pear shaped. 😢 

You are so lucky he has asked for advice - you must have established a wonderful relationship with him to be where you are now with respect to communication. 

Keep up the good parenting 

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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Well... colour me impressed! Man Very Happy

 

Firstly, thank you for the kind reassurance from everyone regarding the communication that I have with my son.  I sometimes take our relationship for granted because he has always worn his heart on his sleave, and one way or another has 'expressed' himself.

 

I agree with your advice @MeJane that it is important to keep the dialogue going particularly about "warning signs".  Thank you, I'll definitely follow up on that cause I know given his previous relationship that he would know what the "habits/behaviours" look/feel like.

 

@StHubbins I am optimistic but wary! You are right though, you should always be optimistic about your kids... aim for the best, prepare for worst, and be happy with anywhere in the middle Man Happy

 

@Mitzi I love your grounded, realistic view on teenagers!! Very wise! We can give all the sage advice we like but at the end of the day we can only hope that they will be happy... it is their life!

 

I can really relate to the "told you so" moments/temptations @Xena__!! Sometimes my tongue's bleeding from biting down so hard!!  I don't know if you meant it but I thought your post was pretty funny and light hearted... maybe it just reminded me of how I generally communicate with my boys... there is a lot humour involved. Man Wink

 

 

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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

wow! That's a lot to learn!

Being a person of low EQ, I am poor in relationships of any kind. It's good for me to learn about how other parents are doing with their children.

And I am not afraid to discuss those things with my daughter, she might be my teacher too. I just hope that she does not have to experience heart broken drama, but even if she does, it's better when she is young.


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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Hey @MeJane... I took your advice and spoke to my son about "warning signs"... we discussed how his ex was possessive and territorial ("she use to steel my food and I didnt like it!") too emotional and needy ("she used to cry all the time!")... etc, etc

 

He doesn't think his new GF is like that... physically they are taking their time and just hugging which is great to know.  Last time I think that it got physical too quick, before they got to know one another. Also she seems to have really good boundaries, for example she is doing her own thing this weekend ("some 'make-up thing'... I dunno dad!.. and family stuff"). And he is cool with that... let's him do his own thing too.

 

Given what he told me I was really happy for him, it seems like this could be the beginning of a "normal" relationship. We did finish with a reminder on what he may want to look out for... early warning signs, or moments that seem familiar in a bad way.

 

Thanks again @MeJane... i would probably would have just have left him alone (no news is good news!) without your idea to continue the convo... great idea! Man Happy

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Re: Son has asked advice on starting a new relationship

Wow, that's so great @tenacious_dad! Good on you, and it must be a releif for you to hear such reassuring things from him...

 

Cheers