The other day, in mid-‘living my life’, my teen mentioned the word DATING to me. Gasp! My kid wants to date! The outcry! The audacity! The shock and horror!
I tried to not give him a look that said “boy, are you out of your mind?!” Because, I mean, the kid is growing up so it would make sense that he would show interest in this kind of thing.
So many questions came up. Like, would it affect his school work? And what does he expect to GET out of it? Is he ready for the commitment? And more importantly, am I ready for him to be ready for the commitment?!
I didn’t want to scare him away, while I got all up in my feelings, so I excused myself and took a moment to throw a silent, non-violent, facial-expressionless #momfit.
Taking a metaphorical woosah, before responding, gave me some clarity. And honestly, guys, up until the other day 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, when he isn’t. So we had a heart to heart of sorts…and it wasn’t all that painful.
4 tips for tips for when your teen wants to start dating
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 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 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? Do you have a plan in place for when your little one wants to start dating? Leave your wisdom in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: I received permission from my teen to share this post.