My 17-year-old daughter recently came home wearing an engagement ring given to her by her 19-year-old boyfriend. My husband and I have asked her to wait until she's graduated from high school and of legal age. She has agreed to that. In the meantime, I am wondering, were the relationship to continue on over the next year, whether or not I should take a stand.
I respect my daughter and would not do anything to hurt her, but I believe that if I went along with a wedding, it could be potentially harmful to her. The reason is this young man has a terrible temper. He has challenged my husband to a fist fight, for example. My husband took our two teen daughters and their boyfriends camping overnight, with the clearly stated understanding that there would be one tent for the guys and one for the girls. But when they set up camp, the boyfriend immediately challenged my husband over this issue. It was extremely awkward as it was my husband's company camp-out, and there was an audience.
I couldn't believe the boyfriend was so hot-headed and rude. He always talks "big" and has related how in the past he blew up a truck with dynamite because he was frustrated with its continual breakdowns and he had offered to just give it away on the job, and when there were no takers, he says he got three sticks of dynamite and just blew it up. (He works in construction and I suppose would have access to it...) He also has talked about hating a particular car and taking the time and trouble to cut it apart with a welding torch or some such tool. To me this is SICK. If he'd do that to an inaminate object, what would he do to a person.
He is currently disputing charges in court that he beat up a twelve-year-old boy who was being mouthy at the local roller skating rink. Having talked with the boyfriend's mother about this court situation, it may be that he is being framed by another teen who was there and got off by blaming him. But, still, I can't help wondering about all this.
I have been thinking that if it comes down to a wedding that I will tell my daughter, sorry, I love you, but I won't participate in this wedding because I believe it is not in your best interests... My daughter says her mind is open and she will not let herself be controlled or manipulated...I have to respect that. But I have grave doubts about this person. SO, what do you think? In the meantime I am trying to come up with people for her to meet, helping her prepare for her senior year, plan for college, and I hope things will fade between them...but I don't want to hide my head in the sand either. Thanks for any advice, views, suggestions....
With a lot of luck, since they are both so young, the relationship will fade away, particularly if your daughter goes off to college...kids change so much that first year!
As for his temper, you might try to express your concerns in a round-about way by discussing domestic violence issues in a family setting. Or perhaps your community or church has pre-marital counseling sessions which the couple could attend if the relationship gets to a wedding planning stage. Be aware though, that a lot of immature male teens boast of (inflated) violent deeds as a show of false manliness.
If your daughter does insist on marrying this boy, BE THERE! Tell her that you'll love and support her always. This way, she'll know that she can always come home, even with her shattered dreams, and you'll be there to help her pick up the pieces.
You're certainly in a difficult situation, but not an unfamiliar one. This kind of stuff has been going on between teenagers and adults for centuries. Unfortunately, there's yet to be a solution.
I think you've got a headstart though with what seems to be a pretty open and respectful relationship with your daughter. I would say you should never hide your feelings or your fears. But I'd be extremely careful how you handle your daughter and the situation. Be sure to make it clear that while you don't agree with her choice, you'll support her no matter what. After all, it is her choice and if it doesn't work out, she's going to need you there.
And like you said, there's a year to go during which she'll meet other people, possibly go off to school, and probably change her opinions and feelings some.
From my experience, the guy I dated my senior year in high school was old news by the 2nd month of college! Despite the summer of arguments between myself and my parents, who clearly disapproved of the relationship, I eventually moved on to better things.
With any luck, so will your daughter.