It has been a week for oh so many reasons. I am tired and I am so completely happy that it is Friday. So in today's blog.....I am actually asking for input. Usually I don't second guess myself much. Okay....to rephrase.....usually I don't second guess myself to other people much, but right now I am.
Last night, talking to an acquaintance....I was call old fashioned and told my ideas on childhood relationships were antiquated. Granted....these were some of the nicer things I have been called this week, but these hit a nerve with me. The reason for the comments? A conversation on when is a good age to let your kids start dating. When I was growing up....the rule in my house was 16. My mother was firm on that rule as I was grounded for a lengthy amount of time when I got caught kissing a boy in my basement at 15. Yeah...THAT was a memorable first kiss. I was allowed to go out in groups, have kids to my house in groups, but I was not allowed to actually go on a one on one date until the magical age of 16. I remember even back then this being a source of contention between my mother and I as I don't believe any of my friends were made to follow this rule. Back then it seemed unfair, but as I have grown older I have seen the wisdom in such a rule.
My children too have grown up with the 16 rule. Even Man Child had to wait until he was 16....not that it really mattered. He never had the money to take anyone out anyway. Now we have Z. Z is 15 and he has had a couple of serious (serious for a 15 year old) girlfriends. Yeah...I broke my rule, but with the breaking came some stiff rules about where they could go, who they could go with and strict adherence to curfews. The first time I watched my baby walk out the door with a girl (and an older one at that) I felt like a failure as a mom. I felt as if I had broken some supreme rule and let generations before me down. Did I do it right?
I still think the 16 rule is a good one. Goodness knows that even at 16 for the most part....today's kids still have a long way to go in maturity, but if you press too hard, they will rebel. I did and when I did it was not just a little....but I went wild. As a parent I now get the fact that parents (especially single parents) feel so protective of their kids and once those kids walk out that door, we are powerless to ensure their safety. We can arm them with a cell phone, pepper spray and body armor and they can still be vulnerable to some kind of danger. That is why we have to do our jobs as parents inside our homes.....so that when they walk outside our home.....they are not only physically prepared, but also mentally. Knowledge is power.
But back to the 16 rule. As I was discussing these very thoughts with my acquaintance I was laughed at as old fashioned. I was told that NOBODY followed such a rule anymore and that kids were far more mature in today's society thanks to TV, sex ed classes and the internet than they ever were when I was a kid. When I asked what age they felt a kid should start dating, 12 or 13 was thrown out there. WHAT???? I thought they were kidding! They were not. I was floored. That is still a baby by my standards. Okay....maybe not a baby, but way too young to be on a one on one date alone. When I was 12 I think I still thought boys had cooties. I know darn good and well dating them hadn't crossed my mind at that time. What the heck is happening to our kids innocence? Why are we allowing them to grow up so fast? Am I really old fashioned and antiquated or is this just part of the break down of the family unit in today's society?
Okay....Z has been out on some dates and so far so good. Soon he will be 16 and although he still seems so young to me, I feel and hope that he has a good head on his shoulders and he is as prepared as I can make him.....short of riding along in the back seat of the car. However....I am still second guessing myself. Did I let Z start too early? So here are my questions for anyone who cares to chime in. Is 16 an antiquated age to start dating? What age is too young? Should boys be given a different age than girls? If so....why the double standard? Do shows like Teen Mom and The Secret Life of the American Teenager dissuade kids from growing up too fast or do they actually promote the glamor of it? Who truly thinks a 12 or 13 year old is mentally or emotionally mature enough to date? All answers are welcome. It is probably too late for me to back track at this stage, but you never know who will be reading the blog. Your answers may actually help someone else.
Okay....so do good mom's second guess themselves? Probably not, but EPIC mom's discuss their kids dating life in a blog. Z just rolls his eyes and moves on. He is used to life with mom the blogger. lol
Here is hoping that your Friday is just as EPIC as I am. Happy Friday all!