Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction

I’m not much of a scientist, but I did come away from my high school years with Newton’s third law burned into my brain. Yes, even though I probably didn’t pay much attention, even though I sneaked out of school too many times to recount; even though I smoked pot a bit, I did retain some grains of knowledge.

Lucky me! When you’re a parent, some of this scientific stuff comes in handy.

My daughter is 17, and her boyfriend is one year younger. Both are seniors in high school and are currently looking forward to going to college next fall. I like my daughter’s boyfriend. He’s quiet and doesn’t say much, but he’s polite to us and seems to be very kind and loving towards her. Although we’ve only known him for six months and she has some minor flaws, like being a slob and sometimes getting lippy, there’s nothing in a major way wrong with either one of them. They’re both basically good kids. We could have kids that are much worse.

The Daughter’s Boyfriend’s Parents, on the other hand, do not like either one of them, and especially don’t like them being together. I have to admit that my daughter is a cute, young thing, who often dresses in provocative clothing and (I think) wears too much make-up. The DBPs also thinks that she’s a snobby rich girl. We are by no means “rich”; we live in a modest suburb in a better-than-average home, but it’s not a mansion. In the past, my daughter has had wealthy friends who have jetted to the Rose Bowl one week and were off to France the next, but normally speaking, my husband and I don’t travel in circles like this. We own two businesses and are hard-working people.

The DBP are quite vocal about not approving of the relationship. The mother has held the fact over the Boyfriend’s head that he’ll still be a minor child when he goes to college in the fall, and thus wants him to study in a local college and commute back and forth to school. He wants to go somewhere where he can live in a dorm and be independent, but she won’t pay his way through school if he leaves, and technically, he can’t leave. Since he’s a minor, he also can’t apply for a student loan on his own.
My daughter is equally adamant about leaving the state, and she doesn’t care if the Boyfriend follows her or not. She likes him a lot, but she has dreams. Besides, she figures if he can stick it out for a year here, when he does turn 18, he’ll be free to go where he wants.

The disapproval of the DBP, I think, is a grave mistake on their part. The more they push the Boyfriend in one direction, the more he will pull in the other, with the same amount of force. My husband and I are smart enough to figure that this is young love and both of them may find many, many other loves before they settle down. That is why neither of us are pushing. If we did, we might find that the combined pressure from two sets of parents would make ourselves grandparents.

Newton’s Third Law has a way of biting you right on the ass if you don’t give it the respect it’s due.

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