Be Weird!

When my oldest daughter was in elementary school, fourth grade to be exact she had a boyfriend.  As a few weeks passed I noticed something about her view of herself and how having a boyfriend was negatively impacting her. I saw her change her personality to match that of her boyfriend.    I talked with her and in that moment decided to not allow her to have a boyfriend until she was older.   She and I discussed how dating is for when you are older and able to make better decision about who you want to be as a person.

Fast forward a few years, my husband and I began discussing what our rules for dating where going to be for her.  We parent differently when it comes to dating then we ourselves were parented.   After many discussions with Natalie, we decided that she could go on group dates at the age of seventeen and date and or have a boyfriend at the age of eighteen.    Of course, we had those who oppose our rules on dating, as well as those who just don’t understand and think it is weird to have such rules. I have never been one to give in to peer pressure and have tried to teach my children the same.  It isn’t always easy and people definitely have their very vocal views about parenting.  Yes, I did date before I was eighteen and that is why I set dating standards for Natalie.

However, Natalie never questioned my intentions because we have open discussions about why it is so important to take our time with matters of the heart and to know what love really is supposed to be.  It is so important to talk to our children about healthy relationships and what the warning signs of unhealthy relationships can be.

When I took the time to point out the characteristic of what makes a person date-able and a good match she understood that she wasn’t ready to undertake that task.  Likewise, we discussed that her part in making a relationship work would be just as important.   I want her to know what kind of woman she wants to be without the influence of someone else until she is ready.  It came important to her also to become who God wants her to become before working on a relationship with a boyfriend or feeling pressured to date just because everyone else is dating and it is the thing to do.

She came home from school the other day and told me about a conversation she had with two of her friends that happen to be boys.  They began discussing the topic of dating and she expressed her views and how she isn’t allowed to date solo with anyone until she is eighteen.    She said at first they seemed confused as to why she hasn’t been allowed to date, but she explained our views in relation to God’s plan for her life.  By the end of the conversation both friends said that wish now that they would have had similar rules from their parents about dating.    I am not perfect at parenting and she isn’t perfect at being a teenager.  We both make mistakes, but we have an open line of communication.

Kids and teens are not the only ones that face peer pressure.  I think parents sometimes allow themselves to be pressured into doing or allowing what is “normal” for kids and teenagers.  People tend to view things as weird and strange if it isn’t something they understand.  It is easier for people to ridicule than try to understand.   I myself am okay with being weird and so is Natalie.



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