“Mom I like this girl…”
I knew I would hear those words someday. I just didn’t figure it would be so soon.
My son is almost fourteen years old, and he likes a girl. So many questions, fears, anxieties and a whole slew of emotions came rushing at me. I mean, I’m not ready for my teen to date. More than that though, I have no idea what role I’m supposed to take.
Your teen wants to date. Okay no big deal. But what is a parent’s role in all this yucky love stuff between kids?
After the initial shock wore off. I settled my heart and my mom brain took over. Okay this is going to happen, whether I like it or not. So like anything in my son’s life. There had to be a set of rules, to keep him safe and help guide him through this journey we’ve all been on before.
Meet the Parents — It’s important my son meets any girl he has a interest in, her parents. I explained to him that it’s respectful to introduce yourself, find out if it’s okay if the girl can date and get to know her family, and vice versa. Any girl my son wishes to spend time with, I am encouraging him to bring home and spend time with us as well. You can’t learn everything about a person but you can tell how good of a person they are. Family is important no matter how serious the dating might be.
Only Date in Public Places — No hanging out alone, no trolling the streets after curfew, no alone time in your room with a girl with the door closed. You can date in a group or go to the movies, the mall or any other place teenagers hang out, but an adult will pick you up and drop you off and this is not negotiable.
Laying Ground Rules — I know my son wasn’t impressed. There has to be rules when dating? Yes there does. Not just for him but for anyone he’s interested in. She needs to respect the boundaries of our home and he her parents. Which meas explaining the rules to both of them so there are no surprises.
Example: I explained to my son he has to call this girl’s mother and introduce who he is and ask permission to date her. He wasn’t happy of course. I explained to him that dating is serious, this girl and her feelings they need to be important to him, not only that but her parents feelings need to be important and respected.
Open Communication — Not only is it important to have open communication with my son about his feelings. It’s also important for me to have communication with anyone he likes (their parents) especially if our children are going to spend time together. This helps to keep track of what the kids are doing, where they are and so forth. That is important to me.
Birds and Bees — Yes my son is informed. I feel as a mom it’s important that an informed teenager makes for a teen that is more trusting when hard things crop up down the road. I’ve always been honest with my son, and having the talk was a part of that. Dating doesn’t just involve going out — we all know that. It involves emotions both physically and sexually. Kids need to be aware of these things and feel comfortable asking any questions they might have.
So am I ready for this? Hell no I am not. I’m nowhere near ready, but I trust my son. We have great communication. We spent two days talking about all these things and I’m trying to be there for him, as he’s nervous about asking this girl out.
I’m afraid his heart will get broken. I’m afraid he’ll break hers. I’m afraid he’ll do something he’s not ready to do. I’m afraid he will lose himself. But mostly I’m afraid he’s growing up and there is no way to stop it.