Dear Barb—The Other Teen

Dear Barb:

I am a single mom of two teenage girls.  It’s been difficult being a single mom, especially since their dad didn’t want to be part of their lives.  For the most part, things have gone well.  The girls have done well in school and have not gotten into trouble with drugs or alcohol or anything like that.  The youngest is 14 and in her first year of high school, but unfortunately she has been schooling primarily from home, so hasn’t had the high school experience yet.  I have always been close to my 16-year-old, until recently.  I noticed her pulling away from me and becoming secretive about where she goes and what she does. 

I have been questioning her a lot and she finally told me what’s been going on.  She has recently become involved with a 28-year-old man, who is married and has a child.  When she told me I was devastated! She is convinced he will leave this wife and they will be together, I doubt that will happen.  We ended up in a screaming battle and she left the house and moved in with a friend.  I feel so awful, I don’t want our relationship to be destroyed over this, but yet I don’t want her to continue with this man.  I am at a loss as to what I can do without ruining my relationship with my daughter.  Looking forward to your reply, Paula. 

Hi Paula:

It’s very difficult when our children get into bad situations where they will likely end up hurt.  The idealism of youth prevents them from seeing the inevitable outcome.  The age of consent in Canada is 16; therefore there is nothing you can do from that aspect.  As difficult as it may be, you need to try to deal with this in a calm manner.  As you can see, a screaming match will only alienate your daughter.

My suggestion is to take this time apart to calm down and perhaps arrange a meeting with your daughter.  Discuss the reality of this situation, as she is probably flattered by the attention she is receiving from an older man.  Talk about this man’s wife and child and find out how your daughter feels about them and the situation this man has put them in.  I’m positive, at 16 years old the reality of this wife and daughter has not occupied a large part of her thoughts.  She will not like to hear what you have to say, but if she is going to choose to remain in this relationship, she has to face the pain it will ultimately cause to this man’s family.  Beyond this, the only thing you can do is hope that your daughter will come to her senses on her own.  We would all like to protect our children from the pain of life, but we can’t, they have to experience this on their own.

Hope this was helpful, and best of luck Paula.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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