Family

Teenage crush or obsession?

Dear Diane, I’m not too old to remember my own teenage crushes – there are a few boys who still spring to mind now, not to mention the odd 1970s rock star...

**Dear Diane,

**I’m not too old to remember my own teenage crushes – there are a few boys who still spring to mind now, not to mention the odd 1970s rock star – but I’m very concerned about a boy at school who has become fixated on my 13-year-old daughter. He leaves her little love notes and weird flowery poems in the letterbox, and sends her endless texts. To my absolute horror, she told us she suspects he may even have slept on the ground under her window once or twice.

My daughter says he’s a nice enough boy but my husband and I feel it’s all a bit creepy. What kind of parents let their 14-yearold son roam around at night like that? Do you think we should be urging our daughter to actively discourage him, or maybe even talk to the school or his parents? The thing I really don’t understand is that she seems quite ambivalent about his rather bizarre behaviour. I asked if his constant contact, which she never responds to, makes her uncomfortable. However she said I was making a big issue out of nothing!

*

Helen, Helensville*

**

Dear Helen,**

It seems to me that the boy’s behaviour is edging from starry-eyed crush and moving into stalking. The fact you can remember all the feelings about teenage crushes and yet find this creepy is a good enough signal it is time to do something. The kindest approach is to think of the boy as showing signs of stress and his bordering-on-obsessive behaviour may mean he is unconsciously putting all his energy into “pursuit”, instead of getting on with other aspects of his life.

My first approach would be to talk to the school counsellor or dean and see if she or he can discreetly offer the boy support. If this can be done tactfully and privately, there is no need for either child to be consulted or unnecessarily shamed. Alternatively, let your daughter know that, whenever she has had enough, you are willing to support her to kindly and firmly stop it. Either way, you will help her to have the strength to speak directly with the boy, or be willing to speak kindly and firmly with the boy and let him know your daughter no longer wants him to leave messages, gifts, be near your property or hang around her at school.

Diane Levy provides expert answers to your parenting queries. Send your questions to: [email protected] Diane’s parenting books are available in book shops.

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