Rules for Dating My Daughter or Son
As the clock ticks along through the childhood years, most parents invariably find themselves with some semblance of trepidation (or horror) at the thought of their child dating. Worst yet, the realization that your sweet, angelic little snookems is going to become a sexual adult is going to smack you clean upside the head. Oof. That’s tough even to type. Of course, the instinct to protect our kids flares, along with the innate desire to at least try to shield them from becoming the emotional train wrecks that we all were as teenagers. (Don’t raise your eyebrows at me; you absolutely were.)
So I figured, well, it’s quarter to five, and that means that my kids are smack in the middle of their own dating minefields. I guess it’s time, as The Mom, to do Something About It.
Well let’s turn to the ever wise, all-knowing Interwebz. After all, where else can we find the answers to everything but there?
This works, right? I should simply be able to print these out and hand them to whichever child’s potential boyfriend or girlfriend is in question. Hmm. OK, wait. Maybe I need to rethink a couple of these.
Because, well, in the first list…2-5 imply that my son is too immature or incompetent to make his own choices as to whom he allows in his life. (And #3 would mean that I’d have to read his text messages – something I haven’t done since he was 15.)
Maybe this will get better. Let’s keep going.
#6. Uh, no. The Ambassador and I are close, but he is by no means a “Mama’s Boy”. He can function quite well without his “Mama” selecting his wardrobe options or his dates.
#8. I did raise my son to be a gentleman. Very true. He shows respect to all people unless they prove themselves unworthy of it, and even then, he can remain civil. But this undefined “act like a lady”. What the hell does that even mean?
I’m not going to dignify #9. It implies that I am either violent or prone to committing illegal acts; both of which are beneath me.
#10. This one bothers me perhaps most of all. If my son chooses to marry, I will welcome her into the family as one of our own. I would trust that he will choose someone who complements his personality, and has similar ideals. Why would I want to wish a lifetime of loneliness on my son by promising that I will act like an unholy bitch to his partner?
Let’s try the other list. Maybe we’ll have better luck there.
Or maybe not.
#1. My daughters cry. As does my son. And my spouse. And myself. People cry when they’re hurt or angry, when they’re sad, but also when they’re joyful. Every relationship has strife, and every relationship has anger and hurt feelings on occasion. They’re part of growth, and part of learning how to function as part of that entity. Demanding that a person never make your daughter cry is absurd and unrealistic.
#2. I do love my daughters; with all my heart. How exactly does this equate to hating their potential partner, exactly?
#3 / #6. Yeeeah. Because, even if I did own a gun, communicating a threat (a felony in most states) is definitely not the way to establish myself as a human being.
#5. My daughters are not “princesses”. They should not be treated as such, either. They should be treated as the strong, independent, intelligent women they are. But if their potential partner doesn’t do this? My hope is that my daughter will see it and end it. Like my son, both my daughters are quite capable of choosing partners.
#7. Right. Because what if my daughter had a SEXUAL thought? *GASP* That might make her…human!
#8 / #9. I can’t quite tell if this is meant to be serious or a joke. My daughters are human. They, and their prospective partners, are neither angelic nor devilish. They are beautiful, creative, humorous, intelligent, and also have faults that will piss off those people in their lives. Get used to it.
#10. See #9 in the previous list.
So yeah. Wow. I’m stunned beyond words, but somehow, the Interwebz has let me down. It’s given me a list that paints me as a controlling, violent, hateful bitch instead of the intelligent, nurturing, supportive parent that I’ve always sought to be. What the hell?
Maybe I should create my own list. Here goes.
1. Respect yourself and my child. My child, in turn, will always respect you as well.
2. Respect your body. Be safe with it. Own your choices and the consequences that come with them. This has been drilled into my children as well.
3. Communicate your needs and desires clearly. Mind games only serve to undermine trust and commitment. Don’t play them. My children wouldn’t know how to anyways, as we don’t model that.
4. Your body, your choice. His / her body, his / her choice. No exceptions. And “no” always supersedes “yes” when it comes to sexual decisions.
5. Strive to become comfortable in your own skin. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
6. Understand that we are a really tight family. We’re happy to envelope you, but just know that we’re goofy, crazy, loud, occasionally inappropriate, and fun. We return any love you’d like to share with us.
7. At the end of the day, these rules don’t mean shit. Because at the end of the day, the choice will always lie with my child. I may not always agree with it, but I will always support it.
If my son or daughter chooses you as a partner, welcome to the family. If not, your loss. (Shut up, I had to.)