Monday, July 31, 2006

Mom of All Trades Blasts Off

Over at To Love, Honor and Dismay, there is a post just like what I've been thinking about on my Blog Draft page thingy, only, his is well written and organized rather than all, ranty and rambling. Honestly, the process of raising teenagers and their leaving home is as profoundly changing as becoming a mother in the first place.

What sent me into outer orbit was the second poster's comment regarding their teen and pre-teen dating at ages 12 and 13. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I'm further astounded by the comment "...but what can you do? You gotta let'em grow up". For starters, you can tell them NO.

Whatever happened to parental responsibility? Are people so blind that they think they can raise healthy, well adjusted human beings by giving them everything they want? In what warped reality are pre-teens able to handle the pressures of dating when older teenagers and adults barely manage to get out alive?

Most people who read my blog know that I belong to the very conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It's not for everyone, and I'm cool with that, but I do think that all parents would be well served to consider postponing dating privileges until children are better equipped to handle the responsibility. For those who may not know, the Church guidelines for dating are as follows: "“When you get in the teen-age years, your social associations should still be general acquaintance with both boys and girls. Any dating or pairing off in social contacts should be postponed until at least the age of 16 or older, and even then there should be much judgment used."
A Time for Every Purpose
Paul H. Dunn, " Time for Every Purpose," Ensign, May 1975, 61.

Now, I wasn't raised with this faith, but my parents used the "No dating until 16" rule while I was growing up. Did I like it? Sadly, no, I did not. Do I see the wisdom in that rule now? Absolutely.

I think the thing that incenses me the most about this person's comments is the fact that they aren't alone and the fact that there are plenty o' parents out there who think that early and pre-teen dating is perfectly acceptable. Is it any wonder that we still have teenagers getting pregnant? Dating moves forward, not backward, folks. Once you get over the thrill of holding hands with a boy, the next logical thrill is kissing, then on to making out, and once you've started, you don't go back to hand holding. These things have a natural time-line, once your passions wake up, you are on the countdown to the big payoff. Who in their right mind would let their kid start down that road at such a tender age?

The commenter concedes that "its scary as heck"; I should say so, and I don't think they even know the half of it. Around age 14 or 15, I overheard a conversation between two boys who's sole goal at the time was to lose their virginity before they turned 12. Even then, I was shocked. I was even more shocked when I heard that the boy must've come close to realizing his goal; his girlfriend had his baby when they were 13. That girl never even saw it coming. That boy was going to obtain his goal, and neither one of them were anywhere close to being able to handle what they'd done. These were kids from good families, who's parents did everything they could to provide their kids with all the things they never had. I'll bet anything those parents were "scared as heck" too.


If we don't teach our kids that there is a proper order to life, and we encourage them to be "mini adults" at earlier and earlier ages, we are surely setting our kids up for a lifetime of heartache. I'd much rather have my kids hate me for a few years because I took the time and effort to enforce boundaries to keep them safe, than for them to spend a miserable life wishing that I had not been such a good friend when they needed me to be a parent. Some kids are easier to get along with on stuff like this than others, but if parents everywhere were more on the same page, I feel like it would make EVERYONE's job a whole lot easier.

Parent's allowing dating at 12 and 13. What is this world coming to?

8 comments:

Andrew said...

Hi again,

Like I said on To Love, Honor and Dismay, our policies in our household are consistent with yours. A standing joke is that our daughter is welcome to start dating when she is young ... like 30. It's amazing to realize, though, how recently in history it was common for young teenage girls to be married moms. Even today in countries like Bangladesh the average age for girls to marry is 14. That doesn't make it a good thing, though, merely remarkable.

Thanks again for visiting and for leaving such thoughtful comments.

brand ginn said...

AHHHHH You're giving me an anxiety attack. I'll be there in 5 years.
Of COURSE you're right! Did you also know that until youth reach the age of 16 their brains literally function at a different capacity and they are UNable to make good judgements. Perhaps another reason the LAW states that 14yo don't get to drive. Their functioning brain capacity continues to change even after that.
People need to wake up! I'm sorry but teens and pre-teens are stupid! They are suffering from the learning curve and it's irresponsible of parents to think their children will 'make the right decision' they don't have enough life experience to know what the righ decision is.
And those boys who wanted to loose it at 12...where the h3ll were their parents? That's just scary.

I think every parent should put a recorder on their home phone. Not to invade the privacy of their children's conversations but as a reality check. As parents we have a responsibility to teach and protect. If that means eves dropping on their conversations then so be it.
Good for you...for being a PARENT! :o)

momofalltrades said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel said...

I happened upon your site from my sister-in-laws, then from Owlhaven's. I am not mormon, but I agree with those dating principles. I dated the same boy from 16 to 17.5 and even though we didn't go "all the way" I know we crossed too many lines. Also when we broke up it was like getting a divorse. Our friends felt like they were the children in the middle. My husband and I will be insisting on group dates until at least age 16. It's too scary out there, and unfortunately too many parents allow things to happen in their households that shouldn't. I have 15 years leftbefore I really have to deal with any of this though :)

Keithclan said...

I found your sight through The Big Trade-Off, and I agree with you.
I was allowed to date pretty early, and, yeah, could have definitely benefited from dating.

More than that dating being the issue, however, I feel that parental involvement is important. What REALLY got me in trouble was t he fact that parents allowed themselves to believe that when I called, drunk, from a payphone, with traffic noise, that I was at my friends house and would be staying the night there, without ever actually calling that friends number and talking to her parents.

My 10 year old daughter was asked out on a "date". This 10 year old boys mother thought it would be cute for her to take them to a restaurant and sit at another table. When I said no, she was too young, I know the mother thought I was overprotective.

Kacey said...

I found your blog through Andrew's "Love, Honor and Dismay", who had commented on my comment on Teri Franta's "Here's to Happy Women". That's two big plusses in one day. I have read through your blogs on "Hair", "Needs" and "What's Weird" ---I'm laughing with appreciation for your talent.

Now, back to my original reason for commenting----Amen! to your comments on teen dating and the general raising of children. The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 The biggest problem I see in today's parenting is that the children are trying to train up themselves, because mom and dad are both out in the working world. They can't know what is right unless mom and dad are giving them principles to live by.
Thanks for a fun blog --- the kids are darling!

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