Teen Dating

Let me give you a quick review. I have four children. I’m divorced. I prefer to say we are co-parenting rather than single parenting. I refer to my children collectively as the fan4 or fantastik4. The oldest will be 17 soon and I lovingly refer to him as The Teenager. Second up is my daughter who is now 14 and she is my Honeygirl. The third one, who has the qualities of the attention grabbing middle child, is 11 and referred to as Little Dude. The last one in our line up is my baby boy who is nine. He acts like he’s 39 most of the time. He’s the self appointed referee for Little Dude and often finds himself blowing the whistle, throwing flags and explaining the rules of life to him. From now on we shall refer to him as Ref. I determined early on to protect their identities since I share things that occur in their lives. 

Dating… (Insert eye roll and a deep sigh) (after I typed that I realized I should use some really funny meme but since I don’t have a stock pile of them to flip through and select from I’m using good old fashioned words) I will not lie, I’m not a fan of teen dating. After polling my daughter and her previous bff, we determined that from middle school to high school the average relationship lasts about four weeks. We have six six week grading session during the school year. By the time they begin middle school in sixth grade until they graduate they could potentially have “dated” 63 people at the rate of nine per year. 

But what is dating at 11 or even at 16? 

When I think about my daughter and her friend excitedly discussing dating and boys in general it made me sad and a bit anxious. 

Sad because the friend felt incomplete and was upset with her parents because they wouldn’t allow her to date. She really wanted her very own boyfriend. This disagreement sparked a rebellion and she began running away. My daughter has been asking me about dating for years. She asks her dad and me to define the timeline and allowed activities. His standard answer is 36. Mine is based on maturity and decision making ability. She is enamored with dating. I refer to it as the Disney effect. After watching those popular teen shows she thinks dating has perfect lighting, a laugh track, great clothes, hair and make up as well as a great ending. Periodically I like to dash their dating dreams on the rocks of reality and talk about kissing, hugging, touching and what if that’s not what you want? What’s your exit plan? How do you protect yourself from a person who may overpower or manipulate you into something you aren’t ready to do?

I was anxious because a lot of adults don’t have the cognitive ability to select a good partner and remain committed. If after years of education, reading articles, blogs, after video viewing and talking to other people we as adults make questionable relationship choices then how are they expected to make sound decisions at such a young age? Each dating partner is given a tiny piece if not large chunk of their hearts. They aren’t looking for spouses. They are looking for good times. They aren’t searching for anything deep and long lasting. It’s fleeting and shallow. 

Exhibit 1- the teenager went on a first date to the movies recently with some girl he met through a friend. He asked her to be his girlfriend the next day. She asked him to join her at church on Sunday, meet her parents and have lunch with her family afterwards. She prepped him on what her parents would say and how to respond. I texted his dad with my concerns of how quickly this was moving. She broke up with him the next day. 

I’m glad I never really learned her name or got attached. I don’t even want to know the newest interest’s name until they make it past the four week mark. 

I’m not into the whole bring people home so I can meet them thing. My two brothers ruined that for me. They brought everybody by the house. It wasn’t something special it was normal. I have a male friend who whole heartedly disagrees with me. He wants to meet any and everybody his daughter dates. The one time he and is ex found out she had a boyfriend they planned a family dinner and invited him over. They broke up after the invite but before dinner. 

I understand the desire to have somebody to call your very own.  Who doesn’t want their very own George or squishy? I have friends who met the loves of their lives in high school. It happens. Is it possible to somehow bypass the other 62 people to get to that one? Yes, it is. Serial dating does not have to become their norm neither does looking for someone to define or complete them. 

How are you helping your teen manuver through the obstacle dating course?

Hi

I love writing. I love having the opportunity to communicate a thought or idea. I’ve taken time off. Call it a hiatus or a need to get in touch with my own voice and thoughts and opinions. Who am I? What do I want to convey to the the reader? Where do I focus my efforts? 

After all this time off I’m still not really sure that I want a theme as much as I just want to write. 

I’ve gone through a lot in the last two years. Do you ever feel like it’s one thing after another? I’m not saying it’s all bad. Some has been great others things have been meh. But that’s life right? Isn’t it? 

This blog is going to continue to be random and filled with what may be statistic driven data or just things I’ve learned over the years. 

In the mean time, keep on keeping on, hang in there, trouble don’t last always and in most places of the world, “The sun will come out tomorrow…”. Tomorrow is your opportunity to give it one more try. 

Give somebody a twenty second hug today to extend their life and yours.  

love is…

After dinner last night and when all the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher, I asked the Fantastik4 to come back to the dinning room table and have a seat. Like most of us, when somebody says they want to talk your mind starts racing through all of the recent events attempting to determine what happened? Why do we need to sit down? I’m sure they were wondering, is this was another lecture or were we going to play a game?

It was actually neither. I decided at the last minute that I wanted to talk about love. I wanted to know what love meant to them. As I reflect on our conversation I wonder why we don’t openly share what love looks like or feels like to us. It’s different for everybody. But instead of being forthright, we want people to guess. We would not go to a restaurant and expect the waiter to guess what we want for our meal. We don’t expect an employer to guess what job or salary we want. We don’t expect a car dealership to guess which car we want. Most of us typically have a good idea of what we want even if we are open to some suggestions. Why aren’t we the same way with love.

I understand we may not know. But if we put some thought into it then we will figure it out and help the people who love us the most to love us better. I have read and really do like The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. That’s a great guide. But if we ask and we tell, think of how much deeper the understanding will become.

When I asked the Fan4 what love looks like to them, this is what they said:
Provide, protect, trusting and believing
Take care of and care for
Protect and take chances for (this interprets into willingness to sacrifice)
Kindness and respect

All of their responses touched me. I took a moment to think about their personalities and reactions in different situations. Now I understand some things a lot better.

The stud muffin, the baby of the bunch, is the one who said to him love means to take care of and care for. I had a breakthrough with those few and very simple words. I have a better understanding of how to parent and relate to him. He is the child who seems easily frazzled and frustrated. We have often asked ourselves, what wrong with him? Now I get it. This morning was a prime example of how I missed an opportunity to love him they way he wants to be loved. He had a field trip permission form that required a signature and a form to order a special t-shirt¬† for Field Day. Well, in all honesty, I glanced at both forms and did not pay close attention to the due dates. I received a call from a very frustrated little guy this morning. He started the conversation with, I can’t participate in field day because you didn’t fill out my form and I don’t get a t-shirt because I don’t have $5.00. Flashback to the night before. I didn’t take care of him. I apologized profusely and asked to speak to the teenager. I explained my mistake and asked him to fill out the forms and give the stud muffin change for $10 I had given him for lunch. The crisis was diverted and this time, an unhappy kid did not get on the bus with his heart broken. I have made a promise to myself to pay more attention. I love him. I want him to see it in his way. I want to take care of things that are important to him that we agree will occur.

Today was not my best mommy day. Little Dude need a certain sized tri-fold science project board. I bought the wrong size last night during my late night run to the store. Love to him is kindness and respect. Because I bought a board, I got a pass. But he set the expectations and gave me time frames to have the board to him today. I couldn’t do it but I promised to make it happen and with the help of my super nephew, he received his board. Whew!

Let’s think about this love thing. How easy is it to communicate what love looks like to you? Do you ever ask what love looks like to the people you are loving? You may be surprised. Ask at least one person what love looks like to them. Then ask yourself. I believe we can take our relationships to the next level of love if we take time to ask and listen.

I See Color

There aren’t many things more beautiful or captivating than a sunrise or sunset. 

What makes us stop and stare in awe or take photos?

The colors

Whether they contain shades of yellow, red, orange or the bluest of blues

There is just something about sunsets and sunrises

Ever look out at mountains and catch your breath?  

Purple mountain majesties indeed

Clear blue water and white sandy beaches

Red roses

Gray clouds

Yellow canaries

Green grass

Brown eyes

The color of a nation’s flag

Color is all around us

It can’t be avoided

Why should I try to deny it

I see color all around me

You see it too

Tell me this one thing

How do some not see the color of skin?

When I read or hear some one say, “I don’t see color” I wonder how that’s possible

I’m officially giving you permission to see skin color

It’s beautiful

But just like the colors in a rainbow, none are better, more qualified, more dangerous, less able, more believable, less captivating or more deserving of being anything other than a color in a rainbow

One color cannot create or sustain the rainbow alone

When each color stands alone it is monochrome

Still just as beautiful and captivating

But like a sunrise or sunset the beauty lies within the aray of colors not just one

It’s okay to embrace the colors around us

It’s okay to see the colors of our skin

The hue of our skin doesn’t make us lesser women or men

I fell in love yesterday 

I fell in love yesterday 

I have to admit

It wasn’t live at first sight

We had seen each other many times before

I always dreaded the visits

For whatever reason I always agreed to one more

I’d often leave weary, discouraged or sad

Yesterday was different I left happy and excited

My heart was won over after years upon years

But I have another 

The idea of breaking it off brings me to tears 

I’ve got to let go

I need to walk away

Yesterday was full of revelation

My heart was conflicted 

My old love’s lies and deceit were revealed

We have history 

I thought we had commitment 

We see each other weekly

We’ve know each other for years

But the last six months have been more intense

I didn’t think we would ever part

In my heart I hoped that this was the one

But my new love is my new love

Now I must move on

Once the trust is nonexistent

There is nothing left to share

I’ve made my choice

I’m choosing the electronic scale at my doctor’s office 

The gym scale is full of lies

The Unprotected

There is a portion of the population that feels unprotected

There are people out there who have decided to molest them

Molest use be defined as to bother, pester or harass 

Molest is now known as an assault or abuse of the sexual kind

The presumed statistics of occurrence are high

The chances of being traumatized are higher

Nightmares, fear, loneliness or worse

Not feeling worthy or capable of giving or receiving love

The victim feels victimized most often to young to process it

The perpetrator? Most likely a close friend or family member

What gives them the right?

We don’t make it wrong 

It becomes the family secret

Don’t tell, don’t think, become numb to it all

Guilt and shame with nobody to blame

Close your eyes squeeze them tight

Focus on today not those horrible days or nights

No justice, no peace

Many nights with no sleep

No trial no time served

Nobody gets what they deserve

The perp walks away

The victim has to stay 

Don’t cause a scene at the family functions

Yes, you have to attend

Aren’t you already on the mend?

Smile, be polite everything is alright

It happened once or twice 

You can still be nice

To many times to count?

Your mind won’t let you see the true amount?

It’s okay

You’ll be fine

 Just give it some time

Let’s never speak of this again

Even if it was a family friend 

Your brother

My father

The uncle on your dad’s side

The aunt we all love

The coach 

The teacher

The priest

The big sister

No matter the title

The feeling is the same

Unworthy, not cared for or scared

Not shielded or acknowledged 

Unprotected

Unprotected