Jump to content

Menu

How have your own teen years influenced your adult views on dating?


How have your own teen years influenced your adult views on dating?  

  1. 1. How have your own teen years influenced your adult views on dating?

    • I dated as a teen and will condone my child(ren) doing the same.
      35
    • I dated as a teen and will not condone my child(ren) doing the same.
      39
    • My experiences as a teen have influenced a positive view of teen dating.
      23
    • My experiences as a teen have influenced a negative view of teen dating.
      75
    • I waited until I was married to have sex.
      22
    • I did not wait until I was married to have sex.
      87
    • I hope my child(ren) will make the same choices I did as a teen.
      17
    • I hope my child(ren) will make different choices than I did as a teen.
      83


Recommended Posts

I have a swirl of questions in my head which have grown out of the courtship/dating threads. As a parent of one teen and one pre-teen - both girls - I have always had difficulty with having expectations of them that I do not keep for myself. An example would be computer time. I feel uncomfortable telling my kids that they can have only X-amount of screen time when I don't limit myself in a similar fashion, although this double standard is actually alive and well in my household. :001_smile: This poll is somewhat related to that idea.

 

As I move into my kids' years of increased sexual awareness, hormones, and the like, I am struck by how I might set boundaries for my kids which are different than those I had as a teen. Moreover, I am reminded of the ways I myself challenged or disobeyed similar rules as a teen.

 

So, I've set up a poll. I feel certain this poll will omit some important questions. It won't win any awards. I intentionally did not include a choice for "I did not date as a teen", but feel free to note that in a reply if you are in that category. I probably will regret omitting that one.

 

This poll is ANONYMOUS, and it does allow for MULTIPLE CHOICES. I have asked some very personal questions here, but I'm hopeful that the anonymity will enable folks to respond truthfully and without worrying about divulging confidences or breaching privacy.

 

Since answering the poll alone does not move the thread to the top of the board, if anyone cares to elaborate by posting a reply, that will help keep the post from disappearing into the depths right away.

 

I'm very curious about how our pasts have shaped the way we plan to or are parenting our teens with regard to these sensitive issues.

 

Thanks for your replies!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you put together a nice poll. I did date as a teen. I don't think it was a bad thing for me. My DH did not date before me, except the prom. We have been married almost 16 years. Last time I was in my hometown, I saw one of my highschool boyfriends still working at the pet store in the mall. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I am happy with the choices I made. But Ken was a fun guy to go to the movies with, and he worked at the local dinner theater so we got free tickets. I don't think my high school relationships adversely affected my marriage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experiences as a teen were completely different than my children could possibly experience (at least, I hope they do not have to). Things I saw other teens doing and my own attitudes have greatly affected what I say to my children. I hope they make good decisions, I generally did. I was pretty high strung and always did the right thing. I cannot say the same for my DH. So, our talks with the children are based largely on what we saw going on. I will let my children date. But if they act irresponsibly, then they will lose priveledges just like with anything. I would prefer if my children's first dates happened when they have a mom to come home to and not after they leave for college.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this is very very non PC to post, but this is something that was big where I went to high school and where my DH went to high school. But basically, the high school girls were getting pregnant on purpose. This was not some low income area, we were both in middle income areas. My dh was in private school and I was in public. It was a real problem. I watched one girl after another have babies. I admit, I was jealous. Those babies were so cute and no one, not one staff member or student or otherwise, showed any level of disapproval for what they had done. I had to become an adult to realize the pain those girls caused the guys they lied to about birth control. Guys who suddenly could not go off to college and had to take fulltime minimum wage jobs to pay child support because they trusted a girl who, it turns out, wanted a baby. I remember sitting in home room listening to the girls talk about lying to those guys! But in 9th grade, I was still of the PC mindset of "oh well, if he has sex with her, he deserves it." Now that I am a grown up, I realize that guys often trust the girls and they too fall in love and they have biological feelings and they were tricked. Most of these girls would break up with the guy when they found out they were pregnant and would take on a "you owe me attitude" and "you did this to me" attitude..just weeks after I listened to them discuss how they were going to trick the guy and lie to him.

 

As a result, I have warned my son of what can happen. I have talked to him about all the usual stuff with sex. But I have also included the parts about how he will eventually find a girl he loves who seems to love him too, but this could happen. And that if she really loves him, she will be okay with them waiting and lots and lots more words like that.

 

OK..so I am being non PC..but this is what I saw in high school and my DH saw that has led us to change how we talk to our children about these things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this is very very non PC to post, but this is something that was big where I went to high school and where my DH went to high school. But basically, the high school girls were getting pregnant on purpose. This was not some low income area, we were both in middle income areas. My dh was in private school and I was in public. It was a real problem. I watched one girl after another have babies. I admit, I was jealous. Those babies were so cute and no one, not one staff member or student or otherwise, showed any level of disapproval for what they had done. I had to become an adult to realize the pain those girls caused the guys they lied to about birth control. Guys who suddenly could not go off to college and had to take fulltime minimum wage jobs to pay child support because they trusted a girl who, it turns out, wanted a baby. I remember sitting in home room listening to the girls talk about lying to those guys! But in 9th grade, I was still of the PC mindset of "oh well, if he has sex with her, he deserves it." Now that I am a grown up, I realize that guys often trust the girls and they too fall in love and they have biological feelings and they were tricked. Most of these girls would break up with the guy when they found out they were pregnant and would take on a "you owe me attitude" and "you did this to me" attitude..just weeks after I listened to them discuss how they were going to trick the guy and lie to him.

 

As a result, I have warned my son of what can happen. I have talked to him about all the usual stuff with sex. But I have also included the parts about how he will eventually find a girl he loves who seems to love him too, but this could happen. And that if she really loves him, she will be okay with them waiting and lots and lots more words like that.

 

OK..so I am being non PC..but this is what I saw in high school and my DH saw that has led us to change how we talk to our children about these things.

 

 

Thank you for sharing this, summer. I can't say this is something I was ever aware of. Could be that it didn't happen in my era (not sure how old you are), or could be that I just didn't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both dh and I hardly ever dated while not in college. I met dh on his second week at college and we have been together ever since. I went around with one boy at my junior high school graduation trip to an amusement park. Then I had three boyfriends my first year in college. I chose well in not staying with any of the three. My fourth boyfriend was it and as one of my friends said after we were together for two weeks, "I can see you two together at age 75". Well we have made it to 45 anyway, so far.

 

So far we see similar patterns in our two older children. Our oldest didn't date till college and in his second year, started seriously dating. He broke up with her while having his depression but she is still talking to him and I can see that if he recovers, they may get together again. Our second is almost 15 and laims to be completely not interested in boys. I think she will be like me and become more interested by the time she is in college. I don't know about number three since she is our only extrovert. She is 11 1/2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't choose any of the first four options. Both issues are neither yes or no for me. I dated only really dated two boys as a teen, dh and one other. I would neither condone nor forbid dating based on that experience, and my experience leaves me with a neutral view of dating.

 

I had my first boyfriend at 16. Almost everyone else I knew had dated, but I was shy and a late bloomer. (I also found out later that guys thought I was unapproachable or not interested in them.) When I finally did start dating, things moved way too fast. I desperately wanted to be "in love" and be a normal teenage girl and have boys like me, but I didn't have any idea how to act with a boy. That relationship went badly. He was a complete jerk, but it was not all his fault. I think he was trying to figure me out and he thought tests and mind games was a good way to do it. I cringe a little to think that I had sex with that guy, but I don't waste time regretting it. I'm thankful I did not get pregnant! I hope my kids make different choices and know themselves better than I did at the time of this first relationship.

 

I started dating dh a year after breaking up with the first boyfriend. We didn't wait either. He was much more experienced than I was. But this was a good relationship. I was more confident and self assured this time around and I have to wonder if I would have been so comfortable with him if he had been my first boyfriend. Dh is also a very different person and we had more than just one thing that brought us (and kept us) together. He asked me to marry him about a month and a half after we started dating. I was pregnant when we got married, but not until almost a full year after he asked me to marry him. If my kids made all the same choices I did in this relationship, and it all worked out well, I wouldn't mind, though I think there is a better order in which to do things, IYKWIM.

 

The past bothers dh much more than it does me. He says he wishes he had not been with any of those other girls, but his past girlfriends really do not bother me much.

 

I lost where I was going with some of this! I guess I am not overly concerned with whether my kids date or not or whether they wait for marriage to have sex. I'm not giving the go ahead on the sex, mind you, I just remember being a teenager! I do hope they will wait, but I'm not going to stress over it. If they want to date, that's fine as long as they respect themselves and the other person and don't treat the relationship either too casually or too seriously before it's time. I think dating done right can actually be good practice in how to treat and relate to the opposite sex. I also think there are still some lessons to learn from dating done wrong, and hopefully, those lessons will not be too harsh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't fit into your categories, but then I'm weird! I wasn't allowed to date in highschool because my parents told me that my job was to do well academically and in extracurriculars. I was also not allowed to drive or have a job until I went to college. I was an oddball, of course, but I could always blame my parents' rules. I don't regret these restrictions now, but at the time I wasn't happy about being so different. Now that I'm a parent, I think my parents were right about the restrictions they imposed and I will probably do the same to my kids.

 

OTOH, dh and I lived together for a year before we got married and I would advise my dc to do the same. My parents were not happy when I moved in with not yet dh, but I had graduated from university and had a good job so they accepted it (my mom gracefully, my dad not so much). But, I guess they changed their mind because 9 years later they insisted my sister move in with not yet dbil for at least 6 months before the wedding. Go figure!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't really answer the first part of the question. I did a limited amount of dating (and pairing off) but that really has nothing to do with my belief system regarding my own children. Neither does any other part of the poll (though I did answer). My belief system itself has changed. It has nothing to do with what *I* did (or hubby did though I do think his thinking on the matter is more tied to his past). It simply has to do with what I believe is best for young people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

However, I do not believe that I have ANY control about what my kids choose past age 18. That is their business. As long as it doesn't break the MORAL system in our family, they are welcome to live here and without nagging.

 

As for it seeming hypocritical? My kids don't feel that way about this or other similar issues. Dad and I did a lot that we aren't proud of or that we just didn't know better about. Our kids benefit from seeing how choices like those played out in our lives, in lives of other people in society, knowing what the Bible REALLY says about such things, etc. It's not hypocritical to want better for our children about these issues anymore than it is to hope they don't make the poor financial choices we've made in the past or whatever.

 

Anyway, I can't read the thread right now, but I hope some answers come to you :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With dd now 13, I must force myself to consider such things. But really, my heart rate is increasing just thinking about this today.

 

Why? Because my own past has been bothering me so horribly for this past week.:( When I think of my daughter and her future of dating, I feel like right now I absolutely must impose restrictions on her that were not imposed upon myself, because what I went through was so incredibly damaging.

 

In the end, all that I can hope to accomplish is that she doesn't end up with the load of baggage that I still carry (from time to time, at least) from 20 years ago.

 

I will be conscious and involved, while hoping to be flexible. I hope. I don't desire for dd to have strings of relationships, but I also hope she won't spend all her time with one person, either. What I hope to accomplish is to keep her in group settings with a wide variety of people and experiences.

 

To shed some light on where I'm coming from, I was in one lengthy, sexually active relationship from age 16 through almost 21. I didn't marry that guy. Now that I look back on it, I never had very many other interests or friends. He was a year older than I. Today this means high school reunions mean nothing to me because I never really got to know any of my classmates. I was sure he was the one.

 

I do realize that a lot of parents would recognize such a relationship to have negative aspects and hopefully be able to talk to their kids about it. My parents just never got involved.

 

So that's how my experience is causing me to really think about how to help my daughter learn to have good relationships. If my daughter thought she met the one at age 16, I might not be able to disuade her from persuing the relationship, but I would still encourage her to have personal interests and have lots of other friends besides.

 

I don't know if this is the kind of sharing you were looking for, but I'm feeling so rambly about the subject today that I just let a bunch of stuff fly. I hope that wasn't TMI.

 

~Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't vote in this poll...because I didn't really feel that the options applied to me. But...I didn't date as a teen. Because of this I will encourage my children (when they are teens) to date. I think I benefited from dating in college as I believe it's an integral part of life-learning. My dh did date in h.s. and it was a very positive experience for him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . and if my kids choose similarly to my choices, I wouldn't consider it ideal, but I would be fine with it.

 

It's not because I think it was a bad thing that I will discourage (not outright forbid) dating, but because it was so . . . pointless. It didn't *add* anything to my teen years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According the the poll results so far, I am in the minority. I waited to have s*x until I was married and so did dh. I would like to say that after nearly 18 years of marriage, we are still reaping the benefits of that decision on many levels.

 

If I could choose for my kids to do one thing differently than I did, it would be to spend more time hanging out with friends in high school, rather than dating. There's plenty of time for that in college, and you have more life experience by which to judge your options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According the the poll results so far, I am in the minority. I waited to have s*x until I was married and so did dh. I would like to say that after nearly 18 years of marriage, we are still reaping the benefits of that decision on many levels.

 

If I could choose for my kids to do one thing differently than I did, it would be to spend more time hanging out with friends in high school, rather than dating. There's plenty of time for that in college, and you have more life experience by which to judge your options.

 

I don't know that any of us would "vote" for anything other than abstinence for our teens;) I'd certainly prefer that!

 

Dh and I have been married for 18 years as well, though, and neither of us is suffering from not having waited. It would have been preferable, yes, but it hasn't adversely affected our relationship in the least. There certainly could have been consequences, but in our case there were not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Katia

I had good and bad experiences with dating, but I felt they were very educational for me. So, I don't have an issue with my kids dating or not.

 

But, I don't want them to make the same choices I did nor do I want them to make different choices than I did. I want them to make their own, personal choices. What I did or didn't do as a young person doesn't count in their lives. Their lives are their own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't want my children to suffer as much as I did, but my parents separated (then divorced later) when I was 13, my father pretty much emotionally rejected me from then on as he established a new relationship, my mother paired up with an alcoholic, and I was an emotional wreck looking for disaster. I was promiscuous early for all the reasons that are well known for girls without a loving father figure or at least a healthy home environment.

Just because I wouldn't want my kids to behave the same as I did, of course, doesn't mean I want to micromanage them or prevent them from having the learning experiences THEY need to have.

I think it is normal but not healthy for one generation to swing to the other extreme from the previous one. I am fairly conservative in some ways as a parent, but compared to most people here, I am a wild left wing radical! But I still like coming here and seeing how other people love their children, their way.

As far as the whole teenage dating, early marriage, early sex thing goes, I just wish my kids to be responsible and as mature as possible, and above all, to apply common sense. And I will encourage postponing it all as long as possible, but have no idea how long that will turn out to be- i just know my 14 year old has a way to go, but she is a very mature young woman and also a party lover/extrovert/wild thing/very confident people person- so there will be a point at which I will need to really let go and trust her own wisdom. It is one of the main reasons we homeschool her- she is the type of kid who would be wildly popular at school and we would have "lost" her by now, to who knows what- drugs, alcohol, depending on her peers etc. Quite likely, really. So she is at home and allowed to spend a lot longer growing up with us that she otherwise would have done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is somewhat of a common theme (or perhaps I'm just noticing these particular posts more) of saying that, from our adult perspectives, we might discourage our child(ren) from dating because we don't see that it was very valuable to us, that it didn't add enough to be worth the investment, and that in some ways it might have detracted from other potentially rewarding experiences. But, see this is the kind of thinking that I wrestle with, because how can we (or why should we) expect our teens to appreciate now what we came to understand only later? Obviously, many who note that they will or do encourage their teens to wait as long as possible are not force feeding their knowledge to their child(ren). They are merely trying to impart wisdom in the hope that it will influence their child's choices. Funny thing is, we didn't necessarily feel at the time the way we do now about those experiences. And, would we feel as we do if we'd never had the experience in the first place?

 

Take formal weddings, for example. Looking back, and knowing what I know now about what I feel is important in life, I probably wouldn't opt to have the same wedding celebration now as I had when I was married. At the time of my wedding, that occasion was something I'd dreamed of since I was a young girl. It never really occurred to me to NOT do it. That idea certainly didn't seem worth entertaining until much later in life, when maybe I could imagine all the more important uses for that money and those months of planning (and, for the record, ours was not a wedding of celebrity proportions).

 

So, I stumble over the line of thought that says, "Well, looking back, I don't see the value in that." Value is relative. If you'd asked me back then if dating was important to me, I'd have answered with a resounding yes. Now? Not so much. Although, I am in the camp with those who believe I did learn from the experience. I was fortunate to come away with an even mix of positive and negative memories which, together, added up to something basically good.

 

For me, then, it seems that instructing my children in all the pitfalls of relationships that might occur in the teen years is like trying to keep a baby from learning to walk. Their bodies tell them it's time to do it. They have all the right systems in place to make it happen. But, I'm standing off to the side telling them it might not be worth it just now for they will surely fall down a lot and injure themselves, so why not wait a year? "In a year, dear heart, you'll be so much more prepared, so much more coordinated, it won't be so painful." But, does it really work that way? Or do you still have to go through a fair amount of falling and bruising regardless of when you begin?

 

Musings mostly. I'm enjoying thinking "aloud" on this. I hope I've made myself somewhat clear, and that I'm not offending anyone inadvertently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't really date in high school. I met my dh my senior year. Before that, I just wasn't much interested in the few choices I had. My high school was really small. :p We plan to let our kids date, but not before the age of 16. They'll be group dates as well, no alone time. I know too well what kids will do if they're left alone. I do hope they'll wait until they're married to have sex. I've never been with anyone but my dh, although we were active before we were married. My dh had much experience when I met him, and it has bothered me a bit here and there. I'm not sure he would take it back if he could, but I wish he would have waited for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear you. I always think about the story of the butterfly trying to emerge from its cocoon. A kid finds it and wants to help because it seems to be struggling so. Because she helps it it is never able to fly. The struggle to remove itself from the cocoon strengthens its wings.

 

I do think we cannot protect our dc from trials. That is how they grow and learn. I also think it is up to us as the mature parties involved to help them decided when they are ready for the trials and it is also up to us to equip them for the trials as best we can. We can share, befriend, guide them, but in the end, when they do it their way and stumble and fall, we are also the ones who get to help them up and brush them off and give them hugs. Then we get to let them go again. Ugh.

 

Parenting isn't for the weak of heart. Nobody wants to see their kids hurting. Pain is life. Pain is growth. Hopefully pain can be kept to a minimum, but pain is a tool we need in order to grow sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My circumstances didn't really fit the whole teen dating issue.

 

I never dated in high school. I was popular and everyone knew but in the sense that I was smart and very sweet. I was the friend everyone confided in....not the one anyone dated.

 

I had no desire to date then. I had some major trust issues. I was still dealing with the earalier molestation I went through. It hadn't been that long before it finally ended. Then I ended up in foster care.

 

In college I dated....but only as the chaperons....Our school required freshman to have chaperone's.

 

The first time I dated I was 23. I dated for a year and then never dated again until I was 26/27.

 

 

I guess I am no help with the teen dating.......but I know as an adult, not having dated as a teen didn't seem to affect me.

 

I was told I was picky.....:lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I absolutely must impose restrictions on her that were not imposed upon myself, because what I went through was so incredibly damaging.

 

Our experiences really do color things though. Hubby and I come from completely different backgrounds. Due to family issues, his family really didn't have much to do with him when he was a teen. He did as he pleased. That freedom proved disasterous because teens DO need guidance. He was hurt and hurt others. He didn't know it then, nor did he care, but it happened. However, *I* lived in a very controlled household and found creative ways to hurt and be hurt. The guidance wasn't there, just control.

 

I too get upset thinking about my past, but I don't parent my kids in fear (and hopefully you'll be able to move past this some within the next couple years so as not to either). Which way would I go if I did anyway? Seems it doesn't work regardless.

 

This is why I try to touch my kids with things like reality, Bible teachings, values, etc. This guidance has got to be sooooooo much better than freedom or control. It probably isn't perfect and my kids are SO totally different (ds is interested in girls; dd couldn't care less about boys) so it's going to be different as each of them grow. But they both have a foundation in the family (I'm sure you've given your daughter) and an ongoing discussion of beliefs (where they also are free to share though we don't always agree 100%--esp ds and me).

 

Anyway, I guess my concern when I started this post was that restrictions are probably the least of what you want to do (though maybe a reasonable part of them). Control only goes so far. Kids get around it, they go wild when they leave home (or come of age), they rebel, they feel not listened to, it closes doors....so you want to make sure that "restrictions" aren't the primary form of preventing a situation....imho.

 

Hoping some of this makes sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

different than it looks.

 

I didn't really mean restrictions in the sense that I just want to control what she does. I think it's more philosophical. I want to restrict what she's exposed to. Mainly by proper training and guidance and open communication. Fortunately, my dh has a really healthy mindset having not destroyed himself in his teenage years. I'm very greatful to be parenting along with such a man.

 

"Due to family issues, his family really didn't have much to do with him when he was a teen. He did as he pleased. That freedom proved disasterous because teens DO need guidance. He was hurt and hurt others. He didn't know it then, nor did he care, but it happened." Yeah, that sums things up pretty well for me.

 

~Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fall, and we knew we could not prevent them from falling. So instead, we removed some of the things that would make it harder for them to learn safely, and some of the things that would hurt them worse. Sometimes we padded the corners of coffee and tables and such, so that when they fell, they didn't hurt themselves as much as they would have otherwise.

 

That's what my point is. In our house, we have a family motto, "A smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

 

Nothing I do can possibly eliminate every instance where pain can occur. But for heavens sake, we sure do spend a lot of time talking about the ways of wisdom! I hope that by the time the kids are at the point of interest for relationships of this sort that they have been "soaked" enough in the things that are right as to influence them without ever having to have been preachy and controling.

 

~Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this is very very non PC to post, but this is something that was big where I went to high school and where my DH went to high school. But basically, the high school girls were getting pregnant on purpose. This was not some low income area, we were both in middle income areas. My dh was in private school and I was in public. It was a real problem. I watched one girl after another have babies. I admit, I was jealous. Those babies were so cute and no one, not one staff member or student or otherwise, showed any level of disapproval for what they had done. I had to become an adult to realize the pain those girls caused the guys they lied to about birth control. Guys who suddenly could not go off to college and had to take fulltime minimum wage jobs to pay child support because they trusted a girl who, it turns out, wanted a baby. I remember sitting in home room listening to the girls talk about lying to those guys! But in 9th grade, I was still of the PC mindset of "oh well, if he has sex with her, he deserves it." Now that I am a grown up, I realize that guys often trust the girls and they too fall in love and they have biological feelings and they were tricked. Most of these girls would break up with the guy when they found out they were pregnant and would take on a "you owe me attitude" and "you did this to me" attitude..just weeks after I listened to them discuss how they were going to trick the guy and lie to him.

 

As a result, I have warned my son of what can happen. I have talked to him about all the usual stuff with sex. But I have also included the parts about how he will eventually find a girl he loves who seems to love him too, but this could happen. And that if she really loves him, she will be okay with them waiting and lots and lots more words like that.

 

OK..so I am being non PC..but this is what I saw in high school and my DH saw that has led us to change how we talk to our children about these things.

 

Wow, summer! I've never, ever heard of anything like this happening on such a large scale in one school. My older dd goes to ps, and she has a few classmates who are pregnant, but not to the scale you have shared.

I find it amazing that such a large group of girls would all do the same thing. Getting pregnant is usually the *last* thing a teen girl wants. I'm sure there are a few out there who do, but it's very rare.

 

And all of them were able to make the guys quit college and pay child support? Wow, again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this is very very non PC to post, but this is something that was big where I went to high school and where my DH went to high school. But basically, the high school girls were getting pregnant on purpose. This was not some low income area, we were both in middle income areas. My dh was in private school and I was in public. It was a real problem. I watched one girl after another have babies. I admit, I was jealous. Those babies were so cute and no one, not one staff member or student or otherwise, showed any level of disapproval for what they had done. I had to become an adult to realize the pain those girls caused the guys they lied to about birth control. Guys who suddenly could not go off to college and had to take fulltime minimum wage jobs to pay child support because they trusted a girl who, it turns out, wanted a baby. I remember sitting in home room listening to the girls talk about lying to those guys! But in 9th grade, I was still of the PC mindset of "oh well, if he has sex with her, he deserves it." Now that I am a grown up, I realize that guys often trust the girls and they too fall in love and they have biological feelings and they were tricked. Most of these girls would break up with the guy when they found out they were pregnant and would take on a "you owe me attitude" and "you did this to me" attitude..just weeks after I listened to them discuss how they were going to trick the guy and lie to him.

 

I think we went to the same high school!

 

When I was in high school, we had a CRAZY high statistic, 20% I think, of girls getting pregnant. They would bring their babies to school at lunch. The administration did finally put a stop to that, because they realized that it might not be good to let other kids see how "cute" and "fun" the babies were. I don't know that they were getting pregnant on purpose, but they may have been. There was a big stink my senior year because the captain of the cheerleading squad was married with a baby.

 

I didn't overhear any conversations about them tricking the guys or lying about BC; I did see lots of girls in tears when they found out they were pregnant and heard lots of rumors of abortions. I have one cousin who ended up getting married at 17 (gf was 16) because she was pregnant; another cousin who had an abortion in HS, then got pregnant in college and kept that baby and is now a single mom; the dad wanted nothing to do with the baby.

 

What I know is that neither of my cousins received any guidance from their parents about waiting and the dangers of making the choice not to wait. I do think my cousin who's a single mom got pregnant on purpose; her mother committed suicide when she was young and she carried around a lot of baggage from that & other life circumstances.

 

I think my other cousin was duped, because we're pretty sure that neither child he had with his first wife is his. And, since his parents were teenage parents, they didn't really see anything wrong with what happened, as long as the kids got married. I believe that forcing him to get married at such a young age pretty much ruined his life. Although, he did try to make the best of it and his wife didn't play along. It wasn't entirely his fault.

 

All this to say, my parents were very careful with me. I was not allowed to date until I was 16, and I am pretty sure that will be the guideline for my children too. My parents always knew who we were with and where we were going and if we were not home on time - God help us! No cell phones back in the day, you know. :D

 

One thing that I will try to talk to my kids about - I know that one of my primary love languages is physical touch. I am still a very huggy, touchy person. My oldest dd, at least, is the same way. It drove my dad CRAZY when I was in high school because he thought I would "hang on" my boyfriends; I probably did. I want to be able to teach my kids what's appropriate and explain why, rather than yelling at them and terrorizing them when they are dating age. More talking, less yelling - that's my mantra for pretty much everything!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fall, and we knew we could not prevent them from falling. So instead, we removed some of the things that would make it harder for them to learn safely, and some of the things that would hurt them worse. Sometimes we padded the corners of coffee and tables and such, so that when they fell, they didn't hurt themselves as much as they would have otherwise.

 

That's what my point is. In our house, we have a family motto, "A smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

 

Nothing I do can possibly eliminate every instance where pain can occur. But for heavens sake, we sure do spend a lot of time talking about the ways of wisdom! I hope that by the time the kids are at the point of interest for relationships of this sort that they have been "soaked" enough in the things that are right as to influence them without ever having to have been preachy and controling.

 

~Lisa

 

 

As was also discussed above, by Pamela, I personally see a difference between guiding and controlling our teens in matters of the heart (or is it matters of the hormones?! ;)). As a parent, I feel compelled to try to share my "wisdom" with my kids. I think many parents do that, and we hope that bits and pieces of what we're saying are making it all the way inside the kids' heads...or not going in one side and out the other. But, parents also usually add specific rules to partner with that shared knowledge, rules that are meant to prevent the child from making mistakes by eliminating the opportunities. Not to criticize this particular choice at all, but take the "no dating until 16" rule as an example. I assume parents hope that by the age of 16, their child will be more ready for dating than they might have been a year or two earlier. Likewise, they'll have had a chance to hear the parents' messages for that much longer before being "set loose", so to speak. What I wonder is how well this system works for kids who have a strong urge to be with the opposite sex before 16. I can think of two possible "working" scenarios -- one where the child really has little interest in "dating" before 16, the other where the child is entirely obedient to his/her parents out of respect or fear. But, it seems to me there are lots of kids who are neither, and these are the kids who rebel, sneak around behind their parents' backs, learn how to lie. Where I get confused is in figuring out how to parent these kids. Especially the ones who are generally really good kids, but who are pushing against specific boundaries.

 

A real life example that has generated a host of my questions: I have a friend who had established a no dating rule for her kids (note the past tense), following in the footsteps of her older sister who lives in another state. Her sister had great success with her two children; dating in high school was never an issue. However, my friends' oldest and most "obedient" child (who was, btw, homeschooled while her cousins were public schooled) started to test that rule after she developed feelings for a particular young man. As it happened, this child was 16 at the time, but her parents no dating rule was firm. Tension rose. The daughter became beligerent and bold. There was a huge amount of stress on the family, and a lot of damage was done as they wrangled over their opposing views. Ultimately, the parents determined that it was no use continuing to try to keep their daughter from having a relationship - she was having one anyway, just doing it in secret. And, oh the pain that occurred in the interim!

 

We all know stories like this. Perhaps we lived them ourselves. We "knew better" than to see that boy or girl, but we couldn't seem to help ourselves. And, our parents became the enemy.

 

I suppose what I'm getting at here is that I am caught in a place of indecision over how to effectively set boundaries while still allowing the child to make more and more of her own choices through teendom. Is the magic age 16 for all kids? Or might it be 14 for some and 18 for others? Is it better to parent with absolutes, or to try to establish guidelines and apply them as best you can. Of course this question applies to more than just dating or not dating. It applies to when you allow your child to go somewhere alone. It applies to whether you'll allow your child to have wine with dinner. It applies to driving rules, and curfews, and what to do with money they've earned. How long do we, as parents, enforce certain rules on our growing children without providing them choice in the matter? And, how do we know when to stop one and start the other?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a similar experience as Lisa at Home. After a string of short relationships starting at age 13 (my own ds is 13 now, yikes!), I was involved in one long sexually active relationship from age 15-28. He was three years older than I was, we bought a house together and had two children, but we never married.

 

I can see now that I was not mature enough at age 15 to choose a life partner. He did not turn out to be either a good provider or a good parent - not a good partner in any way. But it took me thirteen years to figure that out, and much grief since then over custody issues. And I made other important life decisions based around my attachment to him as a teen.

 

I think I had some potential as a youth that was never realized because I didn't have good guidance (academically, emotionally, etc.) from my own parents. I could have been...

 

SO, yes, in hindsight my experiences were negative, and they definitely influence the way I parent my children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not, because my relationship didn't end up with a house or kids. But, the emotion is probably the same. Also, because there was a more finalized end in my circumstance because there are no kids. But there were dreams and plans of them.

 

Even though there was never a marriage certificate, the intensity and length of the relationship leaves more of a flavor of a divorce than an end to a more common less lengthy typical teenage dating experience.

 

I do think of him more as an ex spouse. Lots of real marriages end in less than 5 years and with no children.

 

:grouphug:

 

~Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...for others. Take your friend, for example. She copied the "rules" of someone else, and it didn't work for her. Why? Because a rule is only an outwardly seen part of a family dynamic. To take a wholistic approach to child rearing, you have to look not just at the family rules, but also the attitudes within the family that those particular children grew up with.

 

Try as hard as we might, every family has to figure out what they value (mostly we do this within the accepted norms of society). Or not. I guess a lot of what we truly value is caught, rather than taught. So if we impose "rules" when we've never been a very "rulish" family I would find it hard to imagine that someone wouldn't buck.

 

I'm sorry Doran. I know someone out there probably has real help for the guidance needed in these situations. But I also think to some degree we have to be flexible enough to roll with the present situation.

 

I think that because when we deal with teen relationships, we're no longer dealing with only our child...we're dealing with another person, too, whom we may not have the right to instill our own values in. This makes each child and each relationship they have unique to a certain extent.

 

I don't mean to hog your thread, Doran. I don't know if it's helping you, but it's helping me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to hog your thread, Doran. I don't know if it's helping you, but it's helping me!

 

You're not hogging anything, you're offering your feedback which I appreciate very much.

 

I know, in my head, you're right about the fact that we can't parent our kids based on what we see others doing. Even if we try, we may or may not end up with the same results - positive or negative. I sometimes see as a weakness in myself the fact that I didn't come into parenting with a lot of prerequisites for my children. Unlike some, who are firm in their conviction that things will happen a certain way, I have very few of those convictions . Let's name a few possibles -- they will eat no refined sugar before age two; they will follow a set religious path; they will not wear trendy clothing; they will not play computer games; they will learn to read before they are allowed to watch television; they will not own cell phones before high school.... Some folks have a very clear picture of what they do and don't want their kids to do. I'm not one of those people. I have some general ideas, a rough outline maybe, but I haven't fleshed out the essay enough to know how I'll support all my points.

 

We're trying to establish boundaries as boundaries are needed, but not in a reactive way. Trying to stay just ahead of the raging bull. It feels like a vulnerable place to be standing, but I can't see well enough to stand farther away. I hope that makes a little sense.

 

Thanks, Lisa and others. This is the only therapy I can afford right now. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't really answer the first part of the question. I did a limited amount of dating (and pairing off) but that really has nothing to do with my belief system regarding my own children. Neither does any other part of the poll (though I did answer). My belief system itself has changed. It has nothing to do with what *I* did (or hubby did though I do think his thinking on the matter is more tied to his past). It simply has to do with what I believe is best for young people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

However, I do not believe that I have ANY control about what my kids choose past age 18. That is their business. As long as it doesn't break the MORAL system in our family, they are welcome to live here and without nagging.

 

As for it seeming hypocritical? My kids don't feel that way about this or other similar issues. Dad and I did a lot that we aren't proud of or that we just didn't know better about. Our kids benefit from seeing how choices like those played out in our lives, in lives of other people in society, knowing what the Bible REALLY says about such things, etc. It's not hypocritical to want better for our children about these issues anymore than it is to hope they don't make the poor financial choices we've made in the past or whatever.

 

Anyway, I can't read the thread right now, but I hope some answers come to you :)

 

 

I agree with this. Although I am raising my son with the same belief system my mom instilled in me, I can see her weak points and I will work on those areas. She was a single parent doing the very very best she could and I am very grateful to her, but I will probably be even a little more strict with ds than she was with me. She underestimated her influence over me too. She knows this now and encourages me to continue to expect high standards from ds.

 

Ds will not be allowed to date or pair off. I hope he has lots of friendships and is around a lot of young men, young women, and young and old married people, but not paired off alone with a girl.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...