Last night on my flight home from California, I had the privilege of sitting next to an interesting man who shared with me some of his recent life experiences. When I shared with him about my plans to write a book for kids about adolescent sexual health, and that I am currently writing this blog for parents, he didn’t even bat an eye and thought it was a great idea. Most people look at me and say something like, “why in the world would you want to do something like that?” often followed by a “God bless you.” I’m not going to lie – that usually makes me laugh. But, I’ll take a blessing whenever I can get it.
Turns out this man, Bill, had some forthcoming parenting advice when it came to his own kids, who are now grown. I asked if he’d mind if I shared his thoughts on a public forum (well, I have a COUPLE of readers, don’t I?).
Keep in mind, what works for some people does not work for others, however I liked his underlying theme – Respect Yourself.
Some basic rules he had for his daughter, or rather for her DATES, include:
1. Do not honk your horn and expect my daughter to run out to greet you like a little puppy. She deserves more respect than that. However if you do choose to honk, you will hear my bark as I request you leave my home.
2. Come to the door, shake my hand, and look me in the eyes. Look at me and see the hidden message in my eyes – that if you so much as lay a hand on my beautiful daughter without her permission, you will have me to answer to. And I run very, very fast.
Some basic life “rules” he wanted his kids (one girl, one boy) to abide by:
1. Respect yourself and love yourself – enough to know you are capable of making good choices and being confident in those choices. You want blue hair? Wear it proudly. (You won’t mind if I dye my hair blue, too, will you?)
2. Make choices on YOUR terms, not on the terms of your peers (oh, come on, it’s fun!), romantic interests (I won’t date you if you don’t give in), media (cool people do ‘it’), etc. You are the only one that will live with the consequences – and successes! However, I will gladly take the credit when people say “what great kids you have!”
During our conversation it was clear he wants his kids to be respected by others and also to respect themselves. He felt if that happens, they would be more likely to make choices that are decent and reasonable. We don’t expect perfection from the kids – how dull – but nor do we want to form too many wrinkles and gray hair worrying about our kids!
So, I thought I would share one parent’s ideas on dating. Especially cool is that he is a DAD. What a great opportunity to hear from the male perspective. I would love to hear from others about how you have handled dating and sexuality issues (in dealing with your kids – I would prefer you keep your own adult sexual proclivities to yourself, thank you very much.) You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.