16 February, 2009

A Reason to Invest in Chocolate Companies

"Daddy didn't think about boys when he bought the Valentine's" my darling daughter commented as she examined the cards her dad bought for her to give to the kids in her class. Unlike previous years, we ran out of time to make the cards this year, so Daddy road to the rescue. He didn't stop to think that our daughter is not exactly a fan of the male of the species at the moment. Like the other girls in her class, she believes that boys live in a completely different world. one that doesn't involve her. She is pretty happy about that!

I am sure that, in a few years, love will strike her heart in some shape or form. She will become giddy and moody. She will find this or that person "cute." She will spend much more time in front of the mirror attempting to get just the right look. But for now, I sit back and wait and watch as other parents work through dating issues.

I hope that I can figure out how I want to play this before the dating actually happens. Do I want to just know my teen daughter is dating or do I want to meet the guy who my teen daughter is dating? Do I want to have such a trusting relationship with her that I don't need to meet him until she is ready to introduce him.or will I demand to meet this date before they ever spend time together?

A friend of mine is ahead of the game. For about the last year, his daughter has developed an interest in boys. This interest has involved a relationship that lasted a few months and that involved walking to classes and nights filled with IM and text messaging. The two never went farther and they eventually "broke up." And I was stunned. This child was 11 and turning 12. Is this what I have to look forward to within the next. 2 years?

Other friends have daughters nearing 13. These girls are involved with ballet - which is very time consuming. There just isn't a lot of time for boys and nights of texting or even evenings with friends. They have ballet, ballet, and more ballet. Do some of them talk about boys? Yes!! But they do not have time to be involved to the extent that their non-dancing peers might.

Using either case as an example and the knowledge of my daughter (at the moment, which could change any minute now), I feel I have time to consider how I will play things or how I could play things.

Much of my teen daughter dating policies will come from instinct and the relationship I have with her. There are lots of people, who have experienced what it is to have your child date, and they each will have something to offer or bring to the table, but in the end. well, no one knows our relationship as I do. That said, I am sure that I will turn to friends and colleagues and complete strangers to ensure that I have considered all the ramifications of her dating and my attitude toward said dating!

(And thank you to all those who are going through this before I do as it helps so very much!)

A Fillipina grandmother I know talks about how she listened in on her daughter's conversations with boys. She held the reins tightly and insisted that they followed the rules. There was no such thing as privacy in her house. Her daughters survived. The boys that experienced this style of parenting continually tell this grandmother that she did a wonderful job and thank her for her strict nature.

I listen to her stories and wonder how it worked. Her daughters are my age. Why didn't any of those girls rebel? The grandmother admits that she is happy that she doesn't have to do it today with text messages, social groups, the internet. I wonder if her daughters will be able to parent as she did - keeping a close watch over their 100% American daughters.

Dating. is this one of those topics that leaves me wondering if it would have been easier to have a boy?

It all sounds so very complicated. As I look at everything I just wrote and all that I have learned in the past few years, I am encouraged to continue striving to ensure that my daughter is as self assured and confident as possible. She is learning that she has a voice, and that it is okay to use it. Over the past 9 years, she has not only learned to crawl, walk, run, dance, and climb. but she has started to learn to fly. No matter how much lies ahead or the dating challenges we face. I need to remember that she is one terrific kid with a great head on her shoulders and a strong spirit. She will be okay regardless.

And there is always lots of chocolate for me to consume during this whole dating process! (I really need to invest in chocolate companies!)


dadshouse said...

I can't figure out my own dating life, and now I have to worry about my daughter's dating life too. Yikes!

So, what valentines cards were bought? I'm curious about the design, and how the boys will react to them. I'm guessing they say things like "you are sweet!" or something that is too nice for a boy or girl to say to each other at your daughter's age!

The Exception said...

They actually just said "friends" and then on the inside "you and me" Very simple.

And yesterday we were in the store shopping for holiday food when she saw a male classmate. She spoke first and said hello... they saw one another several times and were nice each time. I can't figure her out really... but have years to become more confused!

KennethSF said...

Most dads would probably like to think that the universe of their teenage (or near-teenage) daughters is not inhabited by boys. :-)

I think the tech-savvy kids can easily evade parents' watchful eyes if they want to. The best option is to install a sense of self-worth and the skill to make good judgments so you can rely on your little girl to face the complexities of romance on her own.

justrun said...

I know I say this on your posts all the time, but oh my heck I cannot imagine! I think I'd buy a shotgun and start practicing now.
Ha. Kidding. Mostly.

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