The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

My Teen Daughter is Dating My Son's Best Friend

The boundaries in my family are confusing

Dear Dr. G.,

I am a father of two teenagers.They are 18 year old teens-a boy and a girl and yep they are fraternal twins. My twins have been close ever since they have been small children. In middle school and high school they hung around in the same social circles so I guess what I am about to tell you shouldn't come as a surprise. Anyway, it is turning into a family problem.

So, here goes:My daughter started dating my son's best friend about six months ago. I always thought that the two of them had eyes for each other. My son was a little uncomfortable when his sister and best friend started dating but it has gotten worse lately and I'll tell you why. My son recently found out that his sister and friend are having sex and he as the protective big brother is furious at his friend for touching his sister and mad at his sister for "stealing" his best friend. This has caused quite a rift between my kids which really pains me and my wife. They were always so close.We are very open and liberal and we are not against the sexual relationship between my daughter and her boyfriend. What we are having trouble dealing with is the tension between our kids.

Please advise,Dr. G. We need you.

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A Baffled Dad

 

Dear Dad,

You and your wife seem like two lovely parents with your kids' best interest at heart. Yes,your family situation,as I am sure you are aware, was a set up for this type of dating situation. Teens date those who they get to know and are familiar with so any one of your son's friends who I assume spend time around your house and your daughter were possibilities to end up in the boyfriend slot at one time or another.

I understand your son's discomfort with this dating situation and the sexual relationship. No brother wants to imagine his sister and her sexual involvements especially when it involves his best friend. I also understand that he feels that he is losing his best friend to his sister.

My best suggestion to you and your wife is to sit down with each of the kids individually and talk to them about boundaries. Make it clear to your daughter that she does not need to talk to her brother about all of the aspects of her relationship with her boyfriend with her brother  and that her brother's distress is likely coming from a brotherly not a mean place. And, when you talk to your son suggest that he set limits with his sister and friend and that he tell each of them that they should keep the private and intimate details of their relationship private and that he does not want to hear about it. He can also tell them that while he values his relationship with each of them it is out of his comfort zone to hear about intimate details. He may also want to tell his friend that he misses him and would like to spend more time with him alone.

Please write back to me and let me know how this goes. Also, when and if your daughter and her boyfriend break up please tell your son that he does not have to pick sides and that he should let his sister and friend know that the middle is not a comfortable place for him. He has probably already thoght of this scenario.

Good luck,

Dr. G.

See my website:

http://www.drbarbaragreenberg.com/blog.html

 

 

 

 

Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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