My daughter was 11 when she went to her first school dance.
I put on a brave face as she got out of the car in her polka-dot dress (with a denim jacket for her signature swagger). But what I really wanted to say as she disappeared into the crowd of sixth-grade bravado was, "Wait—come back!
Having a child who is dating is straight-up terrifying for a hundred different reasons, but I happen to believe there’s value in this (supervised! So we talked, and exchanged all of the observations and hopes and fears we can never express to our children, because them dating is practice for us, too—practice in letting our kids make their own choices and deal with their own consequences, even when the stakes may be high. Every now and then I fumble through a short “here’s something I think it’s important for you to know” speech to my kids, finding myself awkward and uncharacteristically at a loss for words. But with the benefit of a keyboard, I was able to distill it down to just a few points I hope my teens will be able to take to heart, even when those hearts are busy fluttering. If this level of checking feels unbearably weird, that’s a sign you’re not ready.
How do you explain what it’s taken a lifetime to learn, and what you, yourself, would’ve scoffed at back before time taught it to you the hard way? There’s no guidebook to explain this one, so a good rule of thumb is that you should put someone you care about first sometimes and they, in turn, should do the same for you (sometimes). Being generous and selfless is wonderful; being taken advantage of, I’m sorry to say, is a real risk if you’re not careful. If this makes your partner anything other than concerned for your comfort, consider that this may be the wrong partner.
I was chatting with an old friend last night, and by old I mean that we have known each other for a very long time, and also that we are both feeling quite old, lately, because we have teenagers and that is a very aging malady.
When in doubt, ask God for guidance and be prepared to trust and obey Him.
"Between the ages of 10 and 13, kids start having crushes and thinking about sexuality and romance, however they envision it," says Marilyn Benoit, M.
D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Experts say parents can't do much to protect kids from the bumps and bruises of first crushes beyond keeping the lines of communication open and offering comfort.
That's no simple task—kids seem to leapfrog from sweet curiosity about the opposite gender to demanding to know when they're allowed to date to holding hands, kissing and more.