I am worried about something, even if it is a few years away. I am utterly terrified of the day my daughter’s start dating.
Being a man and a father, it’s at this point I am supposed to make some stereotypical comment about sitting on the porch in my rocking chair with a shotgun in my lap. Although the shotgun / rocking chair scenario has a certain appeal (I do, after all, want to protect my offspring), it’s really not my style.
I recall a brief conversation I had with a dad some time ago. He had teenagers and was talking about how my daughters would grow up and I’d have the scenario of boyfriends coming to visit the house. Mrs Adams, who was present at the time, informed me my face was a picture.
I’m not sure what made the bigger impression on me; the fact this chap forced me see my own future or the fact he happened to be a vicar, fully robbed up in a cassock at the time. Whatever, it’s something all us parents must face, regardless of the gender of our kids. Even ministers of religion have to deal with these issues.
As we all have done, my kids will have to figure the world out for themselves. As the U2 songs goes;
“Every beauty needs to go out with an idiot.”
If I think back to my younger days and some of the relationships my friends had, well, they proved there was something in that song lyric. If you are going to have a car-crash of a relationship, better to do it when you’re 17 and can write it off as youthful naivety and a valuable learning experience. Do it at 37 and the potential consequences are more serious.
As I have daughters, popular wisdom would dictate my major concern when they hit their teenage years should be pregnancy. In fact my biggest concern for the future is that they get involved with someone who is coercive or damages them emotionally.
I’m sure we’ve all seen friends get involved with unsuitable partners or marry unsuitable spouses. I’d hate it for my kids to make such a mistake. I’ve known people put themselves in these situations and take years to recover from the fall out, if they ever truly do.
The one saving grace, I feel, is that my generation is open to talking about relationships with their kids. I don’t ever recall being given such guidance. With my eldest child only being seven, we haven’t had in-depth conversations about boyfriends.
I have however, spoken to her in age-appropriate language about friendships, being kind and making sure she isn’t taken advantage of. As time goes on, I will speak to both my kids about making sure they have self-respect and have healthy, happy relationships.
Buying a rocking chair and shotgun would be so much simpler. Nonetheless, it would be the coward’s way out.
Do you worry about your children having unhealthy relationships? Maybe you have teenagers and know what is coming my way? Perhaps you actually own a rocking chair and shotgun. Please leave a comment below detailing your experience.