Posted by: Rick | 2009-09-21

Bonding with girlfriends teenage daughter

Hi CS,

My girlfriend has a 12 going on 13 year old daughter, that Im in the delicate stages of bonding with. I want to take her and my similar aged niece shopping for summer wardrobes and spoil them both.

Would this be considered ' buying'  the daughters affection? My intention is to bond with her thats why Im including my niece in the picture as well, but I dont want to cross the line cause I know children are more aware of things than adults can imagine.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I'm not sure that its ever actally good to Spoil kids, whatever the nature of the Spoiler or the circumstances. As Really says, why do so many of our attempts to bond get seen as having to involve buying STUFF ? Bonding comes more from time spent together doing interesting and rewarding things, rather than from shopping together and buying things. And as Really also wisely points out, your plan could lead to unsustainable expectations on the child's side. What also srikes me is that, maybe accidentally, you phrase your question as though you have not discussed the broader issue with the mother, and taken her advice nor do you seem to be expecting her participation.

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Our users say:
Posted by: anon | 2009-09-21

Rick, remember if you begin any sort of relationship with a shopping spree - she may begin to expect this from you in the future. I agree that it is not a good idea - bonding doesn' t require you to impress or buy things for her.

Clothes shopping is a personal issue and more girlie related. She may prefer to go clothing shopping with her mother and close girl friends.

Rather some other activity - go for a hike/walk - bowling - milkshake - lunch etc, even a picnic, with the mom as well.
Just be yourself and try not to impress her.

Good luck!

Reply to anon
Posted by: Rick | 2009-09-21

Thank you for the advice, it makes sense. I havent raised this issue yet with the mother, just checking to see what others reactions would be first, also I dont have kids, so this is a new expereince for me and getting great advice like this is just what I was looking for.


Reply to Rick
Posted by: Been there done that | 2009-09-21

I must agree with " Really"  Buying material things in order to impress someone or to make bonding easier is most definitely NOT the way to go in your case. You must just treat her the way you would if she was your child.. You do not say if you have kids of your own, but I am assuming you don' t . See how other parents you know ,react and treat their children of that age and try to do the same. Parents do NOT indulge their kids unless they are looking to create a real problem for themselves. Nothing worse than a spoilt brat. Youngsters of this age can be really devious and if they see you have a weakness they will exploit it to the end. Act like a normal parent would and let her make up her own mind about bonding, don' t take the initiative and remain the adult. Good luck

Reply to Been there done that
Posted by: Really | 2009-09-21

Why does it have to be a buying spree? Why can' t you take them out for lunch, supper or on a talk more and do something outing instead of spending money?

It' s not necessariry a bad idea, but it could lead into future expectations and teenagers can use past situations to manipulate situations. I was a teenager and remember doing all sorts of things to get what I wanted.

Even home time movies is not such a bad idea!

Try something a little different, not getting stuff for her, at least not well you are trying to bond.

All the best

Reply to Really

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