What to do when your parents disapprove of your boyfriend, especially after he’s hit you.

Bunny Asks: I am sixteen. Last May I had a baby. Yes I know it was wrong and everything, but the father and I really love each other – we have now been together for nearly 3 years… So the problem comes in with my parents… I don’t know what to do about them. They forced me to do adoption 🙁 I wanted to keep him… and so did my boyfriend. We were ready to take responsibility for our actions. Then about 3 mouths after his birth my boyfriend and I had a big fight, and he left bruises on me. My parents never asked me if I was ok, they were just glad cause they thought he was out of my life. We broke up for 7 months, till he realized what he had done. He’s the type of guy that actually learns from his mistakes, he felt so bad about it. We really love each other and really take our relationship seriously, but my parents won’t let me see him, and I can’t take it any more! I have been so depressed lately I don’t even eat. I’ve tried asking them if I can see him, but they won’t budge!!!! Please help!! (and i don’t mind if you post this, I have nothing that I am ashamed of.)

Hi Bunny –

I’m so very very glad you wrote me. You are dealing with a gigantic number of issues here, and some of them are as big as you’ll ever deal with in your life, so it’s terribly important that you talk about all of them.

I’ll offer what I can, but the first thing I want you to do is to PROMISE me that you’ll find someone professional you can talk with about all these. No advice website (written by a dog or anyone else) can replace real talking with a real professional. I’m a big fan of therapists, but if there’s something you’d prefer (a religious leader, a teacher) that could be okay too. If you’re still in school, they probably have a counselor or someone who could help, or at least someone who could point you toward someone who can. If you don’t know anywhere else to look, let me know what city or town you live in, and I’ll do some research to see if I can help find someone for you.

But in the meantime, let me suggest a few things. Okay, first, you say, “it was wrong” to have a baby. Different people have very different beliefs about sex and pregnancy and women’s choices, of course, but in the end, the truth is You Did Nothing Wrong by Having That Baby. Maybe you made some decisions you regret on the way to having that kid, but the fact is that’s a human being out there – as wonderful and as full of potential as any other – and you probably made that kid’s adoptive parents the happiest people in the world. Meanwhile, you’re the one who went through all the pain and embarrassment and such, so no one (and I mean No One) has the right to put you down for it now. Again, you might want to handle things differently the next time you’re in a romantic relationship, but that’s called Growing Up and Learning. Not a “wrong” thing at all.

Okay, second thing: Your boyfriend might be the greatest guy in the whole world, and we know everyone makes mistakes, but it is NEVER okay for him to hit you, ever again. You are a precious and special person (yes, just like that baby), and you need to make sure he understands that. So set him straight: if he does that again, he’s out for good. You deserve to be treated right.

And onto the third thing – your parents. I’m sure they think they’re doing the best for you by making all these decisions – about putting your baby up for adoption, and about keeping you from seeing your boyfriend – but it seems like they’re not listening to you enough. Parents pretty much always see their children as little kids – after all, you’re the one whose diapers they changed, who they kept from stepping into the street, etc. – and so it’s often hard for them to think of you as an adult. So I’m going to repeat myself and say again that I really want you to find a good counselor, therapist, whatever works. And maybe that person can help you talk with your parents, and get them to see your point of view.

But in the meantime, I have to admit, if I had a daughter, and a guy bruised her up, it would be VERY hard for me to be okay with letting him near her again. So while I want you to see a professional who can help you deal with all your sadness and hurt, and with your relationship with your parents – it would also be a really good thing for your boyfriend to try to find ways to convince them that he’s better than they think. Has he apologized to them for hitting their daughter? Has he shown himself to be responsible? Has he proven to them that he’ll never hurt you again?

Bunny, none of this is easy. These are huge issues you’re working with. Please stay in touch with me, and let me know how you’re doing with all this. I’m just a dog with a website, but I care. And there’s a big world out there with a lot of people who’d care too. Your job now is to know you’re not alone, and to do what you can to find someone to help.

Your Friend,

PS: Oh, I almost forgot. One other thing: EAT! I know what it’s like to be so depressed or sick I can’t eat, but it feels SO much better when I do! And you’re a human – you don’t have to chase your dinner or anything! What’s your favorite thing in the whole world to eat? Pizza? Chocolate ice cream? Three-day-old possum roadkill (hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!)? Get out there and eat a little of whatever you like best.

Bunny, there’s a big future out there ahead of you – where you get to make your own decisions, where no one gets to hit you, and where maybe you’ll have another baby and get to keep it and raise it just the way you want. And that future is full of friends and dogs and people who love you.

But you’ve got to eat today, or you’ll never get there! So go get that ice cream. And enjoy it. And make that part of your big decision that Bunny’s Life Gets Better. Starting Now!!

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Leave a Reply 2 comments

Lady Ritzy - October 28, 2011 Reply

Oh my God don’t you think that’s too soon to have sex???

    Shirelle - October 28, 2011 Reply

    It’s always a good question to ask. Everyone has to find the answers for themselves, but I think it’s clear that Bunny’s made some very tough decisions, and is doing her best to live with them. Power to both of you!

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