My teen has met a young fella that she really seems to like. She’s not the giggly type but I see that smile that comes across her face whenever I ask about him. When I finally built up the nerve (I get accused of prying a lot) to ask if they were officially a couple, she informed me that they had not been talking long enough to have that conversation but she felt they were headed in that direction. The young man seems nice enough, but, since I haven’t received the “commitment notice” I am still observing him from a distance trying to figure out if I am going to welcome him into her life, or, do everything in my power to make him vanish into thin air (I’m joking… just a little bit).
I would love to take the easy way out and tell my teen she is too young to begin dating so that I can continue to protect her from the roller coaster that comes with opening your heart to someone. But, the reality is she is a 17 year old high school senior. Wanting to date and have a boyfriend is NORMAL! And, I want to be a part of that journey.
So, I have been thinking about all of the things I did, or didn’t do, said, or, failed to say as my 25 year old was navigating through the world of dating and young love. While there is some advice that I will continue to give, I realize some of my thoughts and feelings have evolved.
- I will not let my fear of pregnancy paralyze me so much so, that my daughter doesn’t feel comfortable talking to me about her relationship. I know I am not the only parent that becomes somewhat fixated on teen pregnancy when their kids start dating. At times the fixation on pregnancy avoidance causes us to ignore matters of the heart.
This time I am definitely still going to talk about it, but it will not be my focus. I will include talks about emotions and feelings that come with dating and falling in love.
- I will spend less time on the “independent woman” speech and more time telling her it is okay to open her heart. Yes, Yes, Yes, as a young mom I think all of my “anti-pregnancy speeches were followed up with the “independent woman” speech. Get your education, focus on your career, be able to take care of yourself, and do not depend on a man to take care of you.
Sure, I still strongly believe that women should be able to take care of themselves. But, sometimes I think that we are reinforcing this so much that we make our girls so guarded that they are never truly able to open themselves up to love.
This time I will talk to my teen about balance. Yes, of course being an independent woman is a good thing. But, independent women want, and deserve, love too.
- Daughter, DO NOT lose yourself in the process of dating. I have always had a fear of my girls becoming so wrapped up in their relationships that they give up all of their hopes and dreams all in the name of love. I still believe that you can follow your dreams while experiencing love. And, I think it is important to have a partner that supports you as you pursue your dreams. If you find yourself in a situation where your partner is pressuring you to choose, then it probably time to reevaluate the relationship.
- Daughter, make sure you love yourself before you try to love someone else. It is impossible to be in a healthy, loving relationship if you do not love yourself. BOTTOM LINE!
- Daughter, LOVE is a WONDERFUL THING. If you do happen to fall in love please know that healthy LOVE is a wonderful thing and feels ohhhh, sooooo wonderful! Enjoy it and appreciate it.
Please share your teen love advice! I would love any help I can get!
Peace and Love – TRB