Welcome to the Teen Years. You’ve almost raised your kids to adulthood…and they seem to feel it and want to act as if they’re already there.
Probably the most dreaded thing your teen can do is date…or is it?
I know that society seems to want to scare us parents when it comes to our teens dating, especially our daughters. How many times have you heard “better get the shotgun” or “good thing she has brothers” or “my daughter can’t date until she’s 30”? Oy. Let’s get out of 1950, can we?
It turns out that girls can use their big, beautiful brains to make choices too.
I have an almost 17-year-old son. He is the most kind, funny, and empathic person you will ever meet. He works hard in school, he is a good friend, and a caring member of this family. When he drives his car, I worry about him. When he is sick or unhappy, I worry about him. I love him fiercely and he is precious to me.
I also have a 15-year-old daughter. She is very responsible and mothers those around her in a very no-nonsense way. She is the person that will make sure to pack extra socks for basketball teammates who might need them. When she wants to go skating or to a movie with friends, I worry about her. When she is stressed or tired, I worry about her. I love her fiercely and she is precious to me.
You see, my daughter is not more precious to me because she is a girl. I don’t only worry about her and not my son. I love them the same. I want them to be treated the same, respected the same, and valued the same. This is especially true when it comes to dating. The thought that the sweet boy that I raised could find a girl he likes and go to her house, only to be treated as if he only has “one thing on his mind,” makes me sad. If he picks out a girl, I want him to be treated like the amazing and precious person that he is. And I don’t want my daughter to be treated as if she was swept away by some teen boy with raging hormones and can’t be trusted to make her own decisions with her female brain.
Let’s reject the teen-dating stereotypes of our parents’ generation and create a new, healthy future for our teens.
Did you know that multiple studies have proven that teens who date will gain experience in conflict resolution, learn effective care-giving skills, and even learn strong communication patterns? Along with these new skills, dating can increase a teen’s self-esteem and plant seeds for an independent life away from their parents. The teenage years are actually the perfect time to practice skills necessary for later relationships and subsequent marriage.
I’m actually totally ok with my teenagers dating — BOTH my son and my daughter. I have raised intelligent young people who can make decisions for themselves and have proven that they have good judgment so far. On top of that, their Dad and I have shown them what a healthy relationship looks like. Our home will be the safe space where they can learn skills for the next phase in their lives.