No. No way. Not in a million years. Never. Are you kidding me? Date? Over my dead body. This has been my thinking for the last 12 years of my daughter’s life and there was no way.. and I mean no way I’d back down. My mind was made up. My daughter is not dating.
Then, from out of nowhere… the request. “Dad, there’s this guy at school that I am friends with and he’s moving away soon. He asked me if I can go to the movies with him.”
I thought to myself, my mind reeling. What did I just hear? My daughter? Date? Guy at school? Are you freaking kidding me? Click To Tweet Since my Wife wasn’t around, I used one of my usual variants to indicate to my daughter that “we would need to discuss it”. After all, we were united in this effort, right? I thought so. I hoped so.
My teenager was unfailing in her follow-up, if not persistent. This is usually an admirable trait. But, in this effort to become more social, it was an undesirable one. A very, very, undesirable one to me.
You see, I was a teenager once, too. I know what’s going through his mind. There was no way I was going to let my daughter fly solo with a hormone overridden teenage boy! Are you kidding me? No way!
When my wife became aware of this request she was even more mortified than I was. (Is that even possible?) We talked about it, talked about it some more. Waited. Talked about it even more. Waited some more. My daughter continually barraged us with this request. (Did I tell you she was persistent?) And the more she persisted, the more my wife and I were growing more anxious and worried as time dragged on. It seemed like thousands of questions were piling up.
- What happened to our baby?
- Who is the young man?
- What’s his background?
- What’s his family?
- What are his intentions?
- Should she start dating now?
- Should she date ever?
- Would we be good parents to make her wait? Or, worse?
- What if we did stop her? Would it end like Romeo and Juliet?
- Were we bad parents?
- Did it matter?
- Blue pill or, red pill?
One night while we lay in bed talking about it for what seemed like millionth time, I Googled it. Yes, surprise, surprise, I entrusted the Google algorithm to deliver an answer. I hoped (prayed even) that it would deliver some good information. When I tapped out the search, it did.
I can’t find the link as a write this but, essentially, it said that pre-teens/teens should go supervised by adults out with friends they might want to be social. This shows the child that you are willing to trust them (to an extent) and gives them some experiences. Your pre-teen/ early teen learns that you are considering their wishes but, exercising some judgement as a parent about the activity and people involved. The author said that completely restricting social activity might be counterproductive in the future. On the plus side, you are setting future expectations about social activity.
Despite the MASSIVE war going in my mind with my younger self, this seemed fairly well reasoned out. I was surprised at my acceptance, but I bought in. Was I losing my mind and any shred of dignity left? I shared it with my wife and she was happy and relieved with this alternative. We would not permit our daughter to go out on an unsupervised date with a young man. We would accompany them both. And it was NOT a date. See, I told you I wouldn’t back down.
Want to learn what happens next? Read the follow-up.
“Was I losing my mind and any shred of dignity left?”
HAHA. Excellent line. And yes. This is called every day as a parent.
Christian, thanks! Agreed 100%! Every day is a potential day to lose our minds as parent.
You know how they always say, “It gets better.”? Don’t believe the hype. It gets worse.
Aw man, thanks for dropping by. Something to look forward to, I guess. Ugh.
But at the end of the day, you have to remember that you’ve spent years grooming her to be ready for things like this. You’ve taught her right from wrong and you’ve shown her what healthy relationships should look like. The hardest part of this parenting gig is taking the training wheels off and letting them learn to peddle on their own… with you watching carefully over their shoulder. She’ll be fine, dad. You? Maybe not so much ;)
You’re so right, naturally. We’ve done all we can. Those training wheels… wow! Not so fast, okay? Yes, I’ll be carefully watching, even intently watching. ;)
Silver lining = the kid is moving away soon.
True, and another bittersweet day in her growth.