People pleasers and boy trouble
If you are not up on what is happening in the middle/high school “dating” culture…. all of them, even the Christian/private schools, it’s time to jump into reality and start paying attention.
It is a completely different game then when we were in school. Hooking-up, friends with benefits and “non-emotional” sex (that doesn’t exist by the way) is more the norm then not. The “good girls” are not always so innocent as they would like you to believe.
The boys are a huge factor and the old school “player” is now an “F-boy” (you can guess what the F stands for…). Your daughter knows who all of these people are in their school. She may even be one. It’s time to accept this reality. To them this is not weird, but to you it is terrifying and understandably so.
You can talk to her all day long about the do’s and don’ts but the allure of a boy who knows just what to say can be beyond seductive to a teen girl, especially a people pleaser. I have noticed that people pleasing girls tend to find themselves in situations with boys they never intended.
So what draws a people pleaser to boy trouble or maybe better stated troubled boys?
She thinks she can change him
You have warned her, her friends have warned her and still she can’t resist the bite of the apple. There is often a thought these girls struggle with about “changing” him in some way. She wants to rescue him. She wants to be the girl that made him stop his game-playing ways and settle down.
She thinks she can get him to stop partying or take away his depression. She believes she has the power or answer to whatever his problem might be. Sometimes she thinks she has him totally figured out and if he would just listen to her, it would all be OK.
She can’t stop thinking about him
Often girls will tell me that they just can’t stop thinking about him. He does a good job of pushing her away just enough to keep her mind wondering about “what if”. He may flirt with another girl or send her a picture of him with another girl to upset her and then just as she starts to pull away he ropes her back in with talk of “love” or “can’t be without you”. Then he has her right back in and she is hooked. It almost becomes addictive to her.
If she has had sex with him or been physically intimate it is incredibly difficult for her to separate from him no matter what he does to her. The Oxytocin in her brain has done a great job of sealing her to him. Oxytocin is loves crazy glue and intended to seal people together on a chemical level. When she tells you she can’t let go or it's too hard to do this believe her. It takes a lot of time and strict behavior changes to break this bond.
He’s dangerous and she kinda likes it
The boys are quite aggressive and enjoy the game. Often they are substance abusers and it appears they “like” going after the girl who seems so innocent. It’s like they are drawn to the opposite of themselves. Many times she is the girl “no one” would ever think would want to be with a guy like him but he is often so different then her, curiosity wins out.
She thinks she is special
Boys like this are very good at telling girls, especially people pleasers, all their deep dark secrets. He will claim to reveal things to her about his emotions, past, family and life that “no one” else knows. This gives her as boost and she will feel very special. He will communicate this to her, especially if he thinks she might pull away at some point.
She can't say NO
People pleasing girls have a very difficult time saying NO. I universally hear "I didn't want to hurt his feelings". She is so concerned with what he will think that she will just go along with whatever he demands or asks, including sex. The thought of him being upset with her is too much so she will sacrifice herself.
What should I be looking out for?
A new guy friend that she talks about more then she used to. Do research on the guy. Ask the other moms. Look him up online. Don't take it too casually.
Does he avoid parents? If he avoids you or doesn’t want to be around parents, that is a problem. Now that doesn’t mean the ones who are all about being around parents are necessarily safe. Some of those guys know the game and will play it to reel her in. The boy should be moderately comfortable with parents. Not extreme on either end.
Significant emotional changes in her. She might become more moody, distant, combative, rude or aggressive with you. Lying, being sneaky or being secretive may increase.
She won’t give up the phone at night. Teen girls should not have their phones in their rooms at night. I have seen nothing positive or good come from this. This is when A LOT of the drama amps up, especially if he is a substance abuser because he can be drunk or high and texting her all night long.
She is out of the house a lot more then she used to be. Make sure you check up on her every once in awhile. She may not mention a guy but she might start being way more social or spending the night with friends more then usual. Even if she has not broken your trust, you still need to check up on her at times to make sure she is where she says she is. She is a teen and should still be earning trust during these years.
She has a hard time saying NO. Teaching her boundaries is critical and teaching her that hurting other people feelings is OK. The truth is she can't control another person's feelings so if he gets upset, that is on him, not her. She needs to learn this. Not everyone is going to like her and that is OK. People pleasers HATE when someone is upset with them. She must be taught that she can't control this and in trying to do it, she gives up herself.
Unfortunately, you can't have eyes on her at all times and you definitely can't manage what goes on at school. You will stress yourself out trying to be too controlling of all of this. Keep a healthy awareness and be prepared to help her if something gets revealed. How you handle your emotions will make all the difference.
If it does come out that she has been in an unhealthy relationship with a boy it's OK to freak out a little. She is expecting it. I can tell you that people pleasing girls actually like to get caught because often it was the only way to make it stop. Don't over react to her emotion. Let her freak out a lot because she needs to in order to get through it.
Communicate that you are for her, not against her. Yes, there are long term consequences to her actions but she needs to know she can be forgiven and that she can heal and move forward. Give her hope that life will go on but also remember this feels like the end of the world to her in the moment.