Remember sitting by the phone, waiting for a boy to call and ask for a date? Then waiting for him to come to the house to pick you up? Well, get over it-dating is different now.
“Even the concept of dating is outdated,”No one ever said dating was easy.
First dates are awkward, second dates are expectant and the dates that follow that — during which two people really start getting down to the business of getting to know each other — present hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities for missteps, faux blunders and mistakes.
What as parents should we do? How far should we go in our children’s dating life, and what kind of rules should we enforce? Parents all have differing opinions on this, but I think everyone can agree that we should never hide our children away from the world, and that dating is something that we all have to in some respects, embrace.
How young is too young? Dr. Phil says that teenagers, especially younger pre-teens, don’t need to have boyfriends and girlfriends. Still, he knows that young relationships do form. Here is his advice for parents:
- Teenagers shouldn’t have serious dating relationships. No 14-year-old needs to have an intense boyfriend or girlfriend. Encourage group dates supervised by an adult.
- Don’t allow your teenager to close the bedroom door when someone of the opposite sex is over. This should be a non-negotiable rule.
- Talk with your teenager. The more conversations you have, the less likely he/she will be to get into trouble. If you’ve always kept the door open for discussions, your child will be more likely to come to you with questions or problems.
- If you’re too oppressive and restrictive, you are guaranteeing rebellion. Use logic and reason when creating rules for your teenager.
- Don’t just forbid certain activities, explain why you forbid them. Doing this will help your teenager understand that you’re not merely trying to be bossy or imposing arbitrary rules.
- As a parent, it’s your job to teach your teenager the importance of self-worth. Teenagers who value themselves as they are won’t need to “find themselves” in other people
Establish boundaries when you children start dating. Discussing in advance dating limits is really helpful. I mentioned that in our family growing up, and for our children as well, we set an age limit of 16 for dating.
Our kids did a lot of “hanging out” with mixed gender groups before and after 16, but single dates waited until then. We chose 16 because we had seen several studies that suggested that if kids waited until 16 to pair off, they were far less likely to have sex, marry and drop out of school than they were if dating started earlier.
It’s only natural to have the urge to lock your teenage daughter in her room until she’s 30. Realistically, though, you’re going to have to loosen the reins and let her have fun-and that includes going on a date or two.
But if you’re uncomfortable with her going on a one-on-one date, then enforce a group-only policy. Tell her it’s O.K. to hit the movies with a mix of guys and girls, but not acceptable to engage in anything more intimate. Promise her that once you get to know the special guy a bit better, you may ease up and let her go out alone.
So What Are Dating Rights?
Just like driving a car, going to school or playing a sport, dating someone comes with both rights and responsibilities.But first, look at them carefully and ask yourself if you are violating someone else’s rights – or if someone is violating yours. Are you fulfilling your responsibilities? Are you respecting your rights and the rights of your date?
I have the right to:
- To be treated with respect always
- To my own body, thoughts, opinions, and property
- To choose and keep my friends
- To change my mind – at any time
- To not be abused – physically, emotionally or sexually
- To leave a relationship
- To say no
- To be treated as an equal
- To disagree
- To live without fear and confusion from my boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s anger
I have the responsibility:
- To not threaten to harm myself or another
- To encourage my girlfriend or boyfriend to pursue their dreams
- To support my girlfriend or boyfriend emotionally
- To communicate, not manipulate
- To not humiliate or demean my girlfriend or boyfriend
- To refuse to abuse – physically, emotionally or sexually
- To take care of myself
- To allow my boyfriend or girlfriend to maintain their individuality
- To respect myself and my girlfriend or boyfriend
- To be honest with each other
I found these Ten Simple Rules to Date My Daughter by W.Bruce Cameron. Let me share them with you…..
Whenever boys come over to date my daughter, I do my best to give them the impression that if they were looking for fun, they should have picked some other girl. My motto: wilt ‘em in the living room and they’ll stay wilted all night. To assist their understanding, I have come up with some basic rules, which I have carved into two stone tablets on display in my living room.
Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure as heck not picking anything up.
Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.
Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object.
However, In order to assure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric staple gun and fasten your trousers securely in place around your waist.
Rule Four: I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL kill you.
Rule Five: You may believe that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is “early.”
Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make YOU cry.
Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process which can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?
Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where parents, policemen, or nuns are not within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than a goose down parka zipped up to her chin. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chain saws are okay.
Rule Nine.. Do not lie to me. I may appear to be potbellied, balding, middle-age, dimwitted, has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless, God of the Universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and 5 acres behind the house. DO NOT TRIFLE WITH ME!
Rule Ten...Be Afraid. Be very Afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a shopper coming in over a sand dune near Baghdad. When my post traumatic stress syndrome starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car…there is not need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.
My daughter claims it embarrasses her to come downstairs and find me attempting to get her date to recite these eight simple rules from memory. I’d be embarrassed too—-there are only eight of them, for crying out loud!
Their mother says I’m being too hard on the boys. “Don’t you remember being that age?” she challenges.
Of course I remember. Why do you think I came up with the Ten Simple Rules?
Teenage dating does not have to be something big or scary, and is actually an exciting new adventure for you and your child! Ask your child questions about their date, fun questions, like what they find most attractive about them, or what their favorite hobbies are.
Questions that will instill a sense of bonding and trust in your teen that you aren’t there to be the parental police unit. Of course, make sure not to take this too far, and let your child know that you’re still the parent and still in control.
By striking this perfect balance, you are ensuring that your child will have the safe and enjoyable dating experience growing up that we all should be able to look back fondly upon.
(Blurb continues to wow me each year with how easy they make it to create your own high quality custom book.)
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