Unbeknownst to you, your high school senior started an online dating relationship. The problem
is you're worried because she has impulse control issues and is socially immature. Well, let's
talk about that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kenta Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and
family therapist and I specialize in helping kids, teens and families live happier lives.
I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child
and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. And every Wednesday at noon,
I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. My 17 year
old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, social anxiety and stress. She is shy and doesn't get
social cues easily, so she loves to text more than talk in person. Recently she confessed that
she met a boy online and they are online dating. He is from the town where we previously lived
and she saw him in person when we were on vacation there. We
had no idea since she said she was meeting with some friends. My biggest concern is she already
lacks human connection socially and is more online now with this person. We are assuming to
let it play out. However, I don't know if this is a good idea since we are not breaking the habit
of being online. She will be going off to college in the summer in a different state. It is making
me very nervous. Any help is appreciated. First, thank you so much for your question. Again,
like many of the questions here on Tips on Teens, I think a lot of people can relate to aspects
of this question. First of all, I don't think you're going to stop this relationship from happening.
So I agree to just let it play out provided that you guys have a relationship where you can talk
about what is a respectful relationship, where she recognizes what her dignity is, what her
boundaries are. You may have to talk in very blunt terms on what the ramifications are for sending
nudes. If she's still in high school,
let's say she's still 17, I don't know how old she is, but if she's a senior, she's 1718. If she's
17 or her boyfriend is 17, if they're sending nudes back and forth each other according to the
law that is transmitting child pornography and the law kind of frowns upon that activity. And
once you send that nude, you no longer have control over that. And no matter how much you really
love that person and trust that person, if you guys ever break up, they may not be able to be very
trustworthy with that media. So things like that, especially if she has impulse issues and
she's socially mature, she may not be able to see that inevitability of those risks. So I think
it's important to talk about those things. Also, if you want to limit her screen time, she has
to do something else she's not going to just do it of her own free will. We have to maybe help impose
some other engaging activities that could be after school activities at school, maybe through
your religious organizations. Could be
community issue, things like volunteering, part time job, a casual sporting activity like
rock climbing or cycling. I mean, there's thousands of things that could be, but she needs to
find something else where she's involved with other people and something that she kind of enjoys.
Hopefully that will limit some of the screen time and also help engage her in with more people,
giving her a broader experience in her life. Thus, when she goes off to college, she has a little
more social maturity. Hopefully when she goes off to college, she's going to make some mistakes
as we all do, and she's hopefully going to learn from them. Hopefully she has enough support.
By the way, this question was kind of truncated down, was really long. And there's some more
information. This teenager is in therapy already, which I think is fantastic. As she goes off
to college, I would make sure to line up a therapist for that town so she can transition and continue
to getting the support she needs to expand that
social and emotional awareness she has.
Trying to think if there's anything else. I'm trying to just hit all the basic points because
it's such a nuanced question. Again, we could talk about this for an hour and go all the nitty
gritty details, but we don't have that time. So again, make sure you guys have connection and
safety to talk about things, what a relationship looks like, what is expectation, what are
her expectations, what helps her feel good expanding her world and getting involved in things.
And again, you may have to set limits of to get this much access to the phone, you have to have this
much activity in the real world. It's not fun to set those limits, but sometimes some kids kind
of need that. Again, she's 17. She's ADHD. Her ability to set boundaries for herself may be limited
and she may need your help in setting those boundaries, even though she's going to push away
from those. It may help her later on life discover how to do that for herself. Anyways, that's
our question for today. Thank you so much. If you
have a question you'd like me to answer here on Tips on Teens, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Thank you so much.
Have a wonderful week. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen
Counseling. And I'll see you next Wednesday at noon. Bye bye.
DIGITAL DATING AND ADHD KIDS
So your ADHD, socially withdrawn kid is leaning heavily on digital communication and now has a boyfriend online. There are a lot of issues to address here.
First, you’re not going to be able to stop the relationship from happening, but you can foster a connection with your child where you can talk about what is a healthy relationship and what boundaries are. Creating connection and a safe, accepting environment for your kid to talk is essential so you can discuss what a healthy relationship looks like, and it’s something that comes up a lot in our Tips on Teens segments.
The ability of your 17 year old kid with ADHD to set boundaries is probably limited. She most likely will need your help, and she still will most likely push back on that help. But… providing those examples now of what a healthy relationship is and what boundaries are important will help her later in life. And most importantly, by focusing on connection and creating a relationship where she feels she can talk to, you’ll hopefully be the one she comes to for advice when she’s in trouble.
THERE’S LOTS TO SAY!
There’s a lot more to respond to in this question, and we take it on in this Tips on Teens:
“My 17 yr old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, social anxiety and stress. She is shy and doesn’t get social cues easily, so she loves to text more than talk in person. Recently, she confessed that she met a boy online and they are online dating. He is from the town where we previously lived and she saw him in person when we were on vacation there. We had no idea since she said she was meeting with some friends. My biggest concern is she already lacks human connection socially and is more online now with this person. We are assuming to let it play it out. However, I don’t know if this is a good idea since we are not breaking the habit of being online. She will be going off to college in the summer in a different state. It is making me very nervous. Any help is appreciated.”
Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.