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“Ask a Priest: What If I Don’t Want My Son Near a Certain Girl?”
Q: I have been friends with a woman and her family for 10 years. We met through Eucharistic adoration, and I assumed they are just like me in my beliefs. Although we got along, I noticed her daughters always talked about boyfriends and having husbands—to the point that two of them fought over who was going to marry my son. I didn’t think much of it at the time, since my son was about 9 years old, and her kids were even younger. Fast-forward seven years, and our families now live in separate states. My friend suggested that my son chat with one of her daughters. I thought that was OK … until I saw the teen’s TikTok videos full of inappropriate dancing and lots of makeup with long nails. One video showed her sticking her tongue out. Seeing that, I urged my now 16-year-old son to cut ties with the girl. I told him that I had made a mistake in letting them chat, and advised him to choose friends carefully. The problem is we are going to visit the state where this family lives, and my friend wants to meet up and says that her daughter can’t wait to see my son. My son can be very stubborn, but I don’t want them to even be friends because she’s not good enough for him. What should I do? – A.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: Since I don’t know how your son or your friend or her daughter perceives things, I won’t want to try to referee anything here. (Note: That’s not meant as a defense for racy TikTok videos.)
That said, it’s good to remember that your 16-year-old is at or close to the age when he will want to make his own decisions about the people he interacts with.
You could press him to avoid this young lady, but that could backfire and tempt him to keep in touch with her secretly, just to show his spirit of independence.
The better approach might be to keep dialoguing with your son and to share with him how modesty in a woman shows her character, etc. You might point out the things he does—his comportment, his modesty in speech and dress—that make you proud of him.
On a separate note, it’s good to keep in mind that, yes, adolescents do foolish things.
Many of today’s kids have grown in a cultural swamp. And like kids in past generations, they imitate what they see around them and in the media.
So don’t be too quick to write off a young teen because of her video indiscretions. She needs guidance … and possibly the positive example of more-mature teens.
In any case, even if you manage to keep your son away from this TikToker, he will likely run into others who have posted far racier things.
So focus on forming him well in the faith. That will help him to navigate in a world awash with wickedness.
Perhaps this is a moment to intensify your prayers for the teens. Especially at Eucharistic adoration.
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