Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Communication Problems:
“I'm tired of having fights with my parents about my boyfriend.”

Hey Terra,

I am 16 and my boyfriend is eighteen, but I feel age doesn't matter (in most cases). He does have 3 tattoos and a tongue ring, but I was taught when I was little that you shouldn't judge someone by their appearance. We've been together for a year and he really respects me. He doesn't do any drugs and he doesn't drink alcohol. His life has been really hard on him and I feel and he also feels that I was part of what "changed" him.

I now know what love is because of this special person -- when my day is going bad he can make it all better by just holding me in his arms.

The problem is my parents. When we first started dating they thought that since he was 2 yrs. older he was just trying to get me in bed, but I proved my parents wrong (and they didn't even trust me that my moral values were good enough that I had the power to say "no"). They were also concerned about his appearance. He's a cute kid, but even I must admit I dislike his tattoos.

They finally began to accept him after about 6 months, but now he has been out of a job for about one month and they feel he can't keep a job and he's dragging me down. But they don't see the other half, how he has kept me away from alcohol, because about 99% of my friends are weekend drinkers and if it wasn't for him I'd probably be right there with them. And he does respect me and treat me better than anyone has ever treated me.

They also don't get that I am active in school and get good grades, and I will go to college. But the way I feel is that making a lot of money and having material things doesn't even come close to happiness. Because I am extremely happy and I wouldn't care if I had a pot to piss in. I realize my parents want me to make something of myself and I will but my bf is going to get a job, he already has one but now I know there will be something else that bothers them.

I am just tired of having fights with them every night and having them threaten me that they will take away my car or put something against him so if we are caught together he will be in trouble. I go to bed crying every night and I feel bad because my bf feels that it is all his fault and I would be better off without him, but that's not true. I realize that I am young, but this is the person who I am with right now, whether it be the person I marry or not. I just wish my parents would accept the fact that we are together, because he has done nothing to my parents but brought their daughter happiness and I can't take this stress any longer.

Crying in Love

Dear Crying in Love,

I admire your values. You seem like a very intelligent, articulate and thoughtful young woman. And you're making good choices.

I'm sorry that you and your parents don't seem to agree about your boyfriend. From what you describe, he sounds like a good guy in all the ways that really count: he treats you with respect, he makes good choices for himself by staying clear of drugs and alcohol, he cares about you and is interested in your well-being. Sometimes parents have trouble expressing exactly why the person that their son or daughter loves doesn't meet their standards. They may not actually have a rational reason for their objections, but rather just "a feeing" that this person isn't right for you. And they may be right in the final analysis, or they may be completely wrong. (When my mother first met the man I married, she thought he was totally wrong for me. Years later she apologized for misjudging him and she also admitted that my husband and I were two of the "happiest people" she knew.)

So there's always hope. (It does seem like your parents have moved in the direction of accepting him more the longer they know him.)

My suggestion is that you try talking with them in a different way than you've done in the past. Maybe your frustration and strong emotions have made it hard for you to talk with them calmly and maturely. Think about what you've written to me and how you might express some of that to them. You might tell them that you love them and that you are tired of the fights. Tell them that you want to work together to have a closer relationship with them. Tell them that part of what's upsetting you is your feeling that they are misjudging your boyfriend and you'd like to know what he could do to show them what a good person he really is. Perhaps suggesting that he come over and spend an evening with the family might help them see him in a new light. As a parent myself, I can tell you that all parents want their kids to be safe and happy. If your boyfriend could have a chance to show your parents that he wants that for you too, well... that ought to make a difference in their attitude!

No guarantees that this will solve your problem, but hopefully it will let your parents know that you love them and you want them to understand that your boyfriend isn't a threat to that love.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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