My baby boy…14 years old to be exact, gave his dad some real exciting news one morning before school.
Dad being more excited about it I suspect sends me a screenshot of their conversation while I’m at work. In the message he tells his dad that he asked a girl out on a date over the weekend and now she’s his girlfriend. You can just imagine the panic that started gathering in my stomach by the thought of my baby being in a relationship with a girl. My mind went crazy!!…
”You can’t be serious…Whaaaat??? Noooo, he’s way too young!! He’ll get hurt! No man, not yet. Too many complications…rather forget about that idea for now.”
As I sat by my desk I took a deep breath and slid deeper into my chair, because for a moment I had no idea how to handle the situation. I was totally dumbfounded. His dad’s response to him was, “Okay…we’ll talk about it later.” To which I thought good…that’s not a yes or a no, not that he asked.
How the heck do I handle this? I didn’t expect that we’d be in this type of position quite so soon. After pulling myself together by taking a long Wooooosaaaah moment and some earl grey, I thought to myself; how serious can their relationship be? They only see each other at school during break and every other weekend. But yet I knew I had to take his emotions serious because for him, being in love for the first time is the most serious thing in the world. Right there and then I decided that I want my son to understand that being in a relationship with a girl is indeed a major decision. I want him to know that if he gives his heart to a girl and a girl feels the same way, then they have an obligation to respect and take care of each other’s feelings. His dad and I have always taught him the importance of being a gentleman at all times. We always remind him to take care of his sister and to be considered about her feelings. When his dad had to be at work at night, he always acted as the ‘man’ of the house. He would check if the doors were locked, he’d checked up on us girls before he went to bed. He is a kind-hearted gentle boy so I didn’t have to worry that he wouldn’t know how to treat his girl, but there were a couple of things that we needed to make him aware of.
The three of us had a very serious conversation about his girlfriend. We told him what we expected of him, what he could expect being a boyfriend now and what it basically meant to have a girlfriend. Teen romances can get pretty hectic and we didn’t want to miss anything important. To be honest with you, I still don’t know if I’m doing this right, but what I do know for sure is that my boy will be a respectable man soon and we as parents need to guide our boys into becoming a man after Gods own heart.
I earnestly communicate to him daily about this new season he’s entering into. His dad is having regular chats with him about the desires a boy his age have and how to handle it. We do realize that we won’t be able to control everything he does all the time, but we did give him the best talk possible about sex and the reasons to abstain. We try not to be too overbearing with dishing out advice and we’re learning to be more flexible because in reality he’s not a baby anymore (…in my reality he is a baby ok!!) We are slowly introducing him to terms like mutual consent and abusive behaviors so that he knows what is wrong and what is right. I want him to be able to recognize and respond to abusive situations (this can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, name calling, sexual abuse, financial abuse or social abuse) so that he can act accordingly. I know he is anxious to experience love but I encourage him not to rush into anything as he is still very young. We share the characteristics of a healthy relationship with him so that he knows that both of them are special and both of them should not settle for anything less than a respectful, trusting and caring relationship.
In the meantime PMJ and I will remain vigilant for common signs of concern. He will always be our baby.
Whether he believes it or not…me and Peter were teenagers at some point and we know what it’s like. So I’ve made a few notes to remind myself as well as my blog readers of what I think is important to mention to your teenager who is dreamily in-luuuuuurvvve:-)
- Firstly and of utmost importance for both parents and children, keep the communication line open and make sure you are not judgmental of your child as well as his friend.
- Remind your son/daughter to keep a balance in the relationship and not to get too obsessed or involved.
- If you have to set limits on phone or internet time then don’t hold back.
- Advise your child not to spend too much money on gifts because it’s expensive and the other person might not even receive it well which will hurt his feelings.
- It will hurt your son/daughter if you make fun of his relationship, so respect his feelings to avoid him becoming secretive about it.
- Be mindful of your child’s curfew and there is nothing wrong in sending a responsible chaperon with on outings.
I would suggest that we stay involved with our kids and show them that they are free to approach us with anything at any time of the day…that is something that my dad are still telling me and my sisters up to this day;-) and I love him so much for that.
Last but not least, pray for and pray with your child.
There’s never a dull moment in our home:-)