An interesting and thought-provoking conversation came up today around a friend who disapproves of her 13 year old’s boyfriend. To make matters worse, the boy won’t show his face around her home, and is disrespectful. It’s one thing if he’s a nice, genuinely respectful kid, but if he’s the douchey sort then you need to make sure the girl is equipped with the knowledge and tools to make the right decisions.
Of course my initial reaction is “wow, 13 is too young to be dating”, but telling a 13-year-old that they can’t do something is pretty much a guarantee that it’s gonna happen, only then it will be behind your back without any injected wisdom. And besides, when I think back, I ventured into hanging out with boys at that age, and I can guarantee that was not out of the ordinary. This generation now seems to be growing up faster than previous generations. It’s not to say that they are ahead mentally or emotionally, because sadly that’s seemingly not the case. They want to be grown up so fast, but they don’t quite have the adequate emotional maturity to properly deal with all of the hormones and emotions running rampant through them.
Now, I certainly don’t have any experience rearing children to contribute any useful parenting advice, but I do have experience in dating, including the valuable experience gained from dating the wrong people. I try to think what I would say to her if it were my daughter. I would certainly want to do everything in my power to save my daughter from making the same mistakes that so many of us make and to impart the wisdom gained through those misguided errors in judgement.
“Oh, but he’s the cutest boy in school mom!” may be the case, but what if the kid’s a little asshole? Tell her that straight out and that might make her revolt and like him even more. What to do what to do?
I guess all you can do is to try to make sure that your kids value and respect themselves enough to be able to discern when somebody’s being disrespectful to them, and then to be able to turn around and tell them to piss off. Hopefully they can muster just enough self-esteem that they can stand up for themselves and not let somebody treat them with disrespect. The more they love and respect themselves, the more they will attract the same. And they need to understand that they deserve it.
I imagine one of the hardest parts of being a parent is when your nuggets get to an age where you have to trust that you’ve taught them right from wrong and hope that they make the right decisions for themselves. Scary.