I hear and understand what you are saying. When I was 14, I was drinking and drugging. By 15 I was a full blown alcoholic. It wasn't until many years later did I find out why, and how to remove it permanently from my life. Your daughter is hurting. She is seeking in this person what she is missing at home. I may be the need to be treated as an adult, may be with him she "feels" heard, or may be it is just a need to be needed.
Whatever it is, she is finding it elsewhere. I don't know the details, but somewhere during her lifetime, she has "felt" rejection. Rejection comes in many forms. It can be subtle, or it can be more obvious. Whatever occurred is why she is out there.
The fact is that her being out there is not the real issue. If you remove this boyfriend, she will just replace him with something else. The real issue is finding out her "why". What does she need? Where is her pain coming from? She needs to be listened to without judgment. We are here to find her pain, not to argue or disagree about it. She just needs to be heard.
I couldn't believe it. When they helped me find my "why", I had no idea that it was even in me. As the words came out, so did the pain. I carried that pain for 15 years. It absolutely consumed my life, and nearly killed me more times than I'd like to think about.
Your daughter probably doesn't even know herself, why she is doing what she is doing. On the surface she may, but not what is deep inside. The roots of rejection run so deep that few of us are actually aware of what is holding us back.
The funny part is that it all comes down to this: Unconditional love. That is loving someone for who they are, not what they have done.
The next thing to understand goes with an old adage that I learned: The squeaky wheel gets the oil. It is all too familiar to us. Life get’s so busy that we just don’t have time for one another. It isn’t until something get’s our attention: misconduct, accidents, sicknesses… that we realize that we have been neglecting someone or something. If we would flip that by focusing our time on the positive moments with our children, and less on the negative, what do you think would happen? Interesting thought…
Children love and need attention. What ever we do to give them the most attention is where there habits will form. If getting in trouble gets our attention, guess what habit will be. If being praised for good grades is where our attention is, then guess what habit will be. If being a troublemaker raises our attention, then guess what habit will become. Get the idea? Just fill in the blank of what your child is doing or the path that he is walking and you will find what you praise or don’t praise.
I will leave you with one final thought: Children learn 10% by what you say; they learn 90% by what you do.
Your brother in Christ,
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.