Patented Q & A Database


What do you say to your smart and pretty 17-year-old when she calls herself "the dateless wonder?" She has dozens of friends, gets great grades in AP courses, is the backstage manager for all the plays (and is in the plays, too), sings in the highest level chorus and participates in speech and debate. She just happens to never yet have had a date and is really (grimly) bummed about it. As usual, any compliments I give her get turned back with "you have to say that because you're my mother" and she rolls her eyes when I give the "it will happen some day" line. She just went to the Homecoming Dance with a group, but the other six were basically dating pairs. Sigh.


James Crist Replied: I would be supportive of her feelings to start. The risk you run by complimenting her or telling her it will happen someday is that she doesn't feel understood, though your advice is good. I'd say something like, "I can see why you'd be bummed about that." The good news, if she can hear it from you, is she spent her time in high school developing good friends and various talents. Perhaps you can ask her if she has any ideas what she might be able to do about her situation, or if she has talked to her friends about this issue. You might also add, "Even though in my opinion, you have plenty of time for dating ahead of you, I hear how frustrating it is for you to not be dating now." It's hard not to be able to fix it for her, but unless you see signs of depression, which would likely benefit from counseling, she's already doing all of the right things and you too will need to be patient as she figures this out. Finally, let her know how much you love her and believe in her, and that you're always available to talk with her about it further.
Posted On 2010-10-17 23:09:19
Dr. Vicki Panaccione Replied: Gosh, it is so difficult to sit by and watch your child hurt. And, our first instinct is to say anything to make it better, or make it go away all together. That being said, there is very little that you can actually do in a situation like this except empathize. Let her know that, "I am so sorry you feel this way," or "It really sucks (that's her language) to be in this position," and so forth. There really isn't a way to explain this to her, or reassure her much. I would suggest that you find an opportunity to let her know that it is not uncommon for boys to be really intimidated by very successful girls/women, and they just surmise that they already have a boyfriend and/or they aren't good enough for her. The more bummed she gets, the more the negative energy flows. Encourage her to take a little bit of the lead---flirting or actually striking up a conversation with someone she likes is definitely acceptable in this day and age. She might also want to look beyond the school population, to students in other arenas---although I'm not sure where she would find the time! Understand that this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, she needs her mommy for understanding, love and support, which you apparently are very good at!
Posted On 2010-10-13 20:20:26
Jim Taylor, Ph.D. Replied: The worst thing to do is try to talk your daughter out of her feelings by, as you already tried, telling how wonderful she is. Reality has a way of making parents' well-intentioned efforts seem disconnected from, well, reality. You should validate her feelings (e.g., "You sound pretty darned frustrated and sad."), not try to placate or assuage them. Explore with her why she thinks that she isn't getting asked out. Often, girls can send out signals, totally unconsciously, that "I'm not interested," "I'm too cool for you," "I'm afraid of boys," or some such. Having once been a 17-year-old boy, does your daughter realize how terrifying it can be to ask a smart, pretty, and accomplished girl out? Why do you think that girls are frequently reported to dumb themselves down around boys (don't mention or suggest this to her!). You might also encourage her to ask her friends what they think is the problem? Also, does she have friends that are boys? If so, could she get feedback from them? Ask her if there are any boys that interest her? Might she consider asking a boy out? It is, after all, the 21st century!
Posted On 2010-10-11 11:26:06
Press Esc to close