And like so many other things that I was so certain about, I changed my mind. To my ancient mind, the term dating conjures up images of unsupervised alone time. I know that many people think this is a horrible reason to allow your kids to do anything. The key is finding the way to say it so they will listen.
My young teen boys are perfectly happy having their “girlfriend” come over to the house and have dinner with the family and then watch movies or play games in the family room with the entire family. Except that in this instance, I have seen time and time again parents who refuse to allow their kids to date and kids who lie, sneak around and do it anyway. One of my sons briefly had a girlfriend that was always angry at him for something.
I asked him if he thought he would like to buy them for her.
(They are $5 a bunch, hardly a huge expenditure.) He looked at me like I had just suggested he dance naked in the checkout aisle. I don’t presume to understand the inner-workings of a middle school aged boy’s mind, so I dropped the subject.
I think that is the sort of thing we all hope for as parents, on both sides–to hear your child is kind or to hear that your child expect kindness.
I am curious about all the other parents of teenagers, soon-to-be-teens, survived-the-teen-years think?
A few days later he had oral surgery and his girlfriend came over with balloons and ice cream for him.
This was the perfect opportunity to bring up how it made him feel to have someone do something spontaneously nice for him.
Not only are you teaching them how to treat future girlfriends and eventually a spouse, but they are learning how to expect to be treated.
My son’s girlfriend’s mother called me that night and said that her daughter told her that if they ever break up he will be a tough act for any other boy to follow because he is so kind to her.
And my hope is that having six brothers takes the mystery out of boys and that she won’t want to date, knowing that they are gross, farting, burping, smelly creatures. Typically we think of boys as being the aggressors in dating situations.
So you could use a pay phone to call for a ride and a get away from the boy. And not just because our children have no idea what a pay phone is.
” The stakes at this younger age don’t seem as high. It was much easier to help him realize that this girl was not really acting like a friend, which is the keypart of the word girl- A girlfriend or boyfriend should first and foremost be a friend. We may think our kids are perfect, but they are just learning to navigate this world and we need to remind them to be a kind and trustworthy friend and to expect the same. This is the one that I feel is the most important for our children to learn.