The other day, in mid-‘living my life’, my teen mentioned the word DATING to me. Gasp! My kid wants to date! Whaa?! I tried to not give him a look that said “boy, are you out of your mind?!” Because the kid is 15 years old and yes, it would make sense that he likes girls. But dating?! Is he ready for the commitment? Would it affect his school work? And what does he expect to GET out of it? I didn’t want to scare him away, so I excused myself and took a moment to throw a silent, non-violent, facial-expressionless #momfit. It got me thinking, what are OTHER moms doing when the ‘dating’ word comes up? Moms, do you have a plan in place for when your little one wants to start dating? Moms of older kids – lend us your wisdom – what did you do when your teen took an interest in dating? Well, here’s how my situation went down:
Clip note: He is totally okay with this post, but either way, I won’t be divulging too much information anyways.
Before we responded to the brave child (although, he pretty much tells us everything anyways, so how brave is he really) I took a metaphorical woosah and thought this thing through. Up until last year my boy had no interest in going to school dances or hanging out at a mall with friends because his XBox and younger brother were more than enough entertainment. We are very lucky that he’s content and not living past his years. But hey, he’s growing and changing and the last thing I want to do is make him feel as if he is doing something wrong. So we had a heart to heart of sorts…and it wasn’t all that painful.
Validate their feelings
Teenagers are like mini-adults and the best thing you could do for your mini-adult is to validate their feelings. Let them know that you GET them. So that’s what I tried to do. I mean, hands up if you’ve done something forbidden behind your parents back. *raises all the hands* Yep, those were my hands. All of them. I’ve been there and I don’t want my children to feel as if they have to go down that route too. So we spoke about the girl/girls that he likes and how it’s okay to like someone and admire qualities about them.
You don’t need to act on it
But with that said, we also explained that you don’t always have to do SOMETHING about it. Peer pressure and the “prescribed norm” ages our kids way faster than they are mentally ready. We explained that it’s okay to have friends that are girls and to hang out with them etc. But that doesn’t mean that you have to “cuddle” and *shudder* all these other things that his friends are doing. We spoke about sex. Yes, we didn’t use other words to sugar coat it. Sex is sex. I know his stance on it, but I also explained that both Chris and I had kiddies when we were still kiddies (remember, I told you guys that we had our sons before we even met) so it’s totally possible to go from “cuddling” to “more than cuddling” without even knowing that you’re headed there!
Lay down the law
Once all the mushy stuff was said, I also had to lay down the law, because I’m the big person and he’s the little person (okay, okay, GROWING little person) and that’s how it works around our parts. We chatted a bit about what it means to be in a relationship and he agreed that maybe 16, 17, 18 (more like 30, 31, 32! aack) years old is a more mature age to commit to a whole other person. We spoke about what that would mean, how we would support him (chaperoning dates etc) and that he has all this time now (okay, its ilke 8 months) to think about what it means to be in a relationship
Go easy on ’em but also, don’t
We laughed a lot and chatted about scenarios. We want our boys to grow up respecting women and treating the ones that they are close to with respect. Yep – I am not buying into that “my son’s a heart breaker” crap. Why? Because I have a daughter, and I will not allow my boy to treat a girl any differently to how we would expect a boy to treat our own daughter. Moms, you are raising someones future husband! You are raising someones future first love! I take that very seriously.
I figured that this last one right here is the most important, yo. I can’t always be with my kids but I know that God can. So I pray that they will make good decisions and I pray that they will be leaders in their sphere of influence and not followers who easily succumb to peer pressure. If you are a praying parent, it would also be a good idea to pray WITH your kids. It helps them to take responsibility for their feelings and actions.
So yes, that was my horrific experience this week. And please, don’t be fooled, all of this looks REALLY good on paper – but truth be told, it’s only been a couple of days and I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out. But I do know that I want my kid to grow up to be a really superb adult and I figured that this is a pretty good start.
Moms, dads, what would you do in this situation? If you have older kids, which rules did you have in place when they started dating? Leave your wisdom in the comment section below.