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What my 15 year old son and I are discussing when it comes to ‘dating’

My son told me on Wednesday, that he’s asked a girl to have breakfast with him next week. I was proud, intrigued and nervous for him all at the same time!

In my mind, how he behaves towards this young lady, is a direct reflection of my parenting, the values and morals I’ve attempted to impart on him and the kind of man I’ve been attempting to chisel out over the last 15 years.

Me: Is it a date?

Him: I dunno

Me: Does she think it’s a date?

Him: I dunno

Me: How did you ask?

Him: I asked if I could take her for brekkie next week.

Me: If a boy asked me that, I’d ‘assume’ it’s a date. I’d also assume he’d be paying, because he said he wants to ‘take me for breakfast’, implying that he’s going to cover the $s.

Him: yeah, I guess

Me: Do you know if she likes you?

Him: I dunno

Me: Well, my friend, number one, make sure you’ve got enough $s in the bank(!) and two make sure from here on in that there’s zero confusion around anything. Communicate your arse off with this young lady. You’ve crossed the line now and anything you say or do will be scrupulously torn apart word by word by her and her friends, her mum, her big brother and her dad - oh and are there any other boys keen on her too? Watch out for them because they’ll be looking to take you down at the earliest opportunity.

Without reiterating the entire conversation word for word and potentially boring you to death, I’ll summarise. Oh and if you’re wondering, there were a few more ‘dunnos’ and then, in my humble opinion, a very healthy and enjoyable ‘normal’ conversation that followed.

We went on to talk about how important it is that he asks questions, that he shows interest in who she is, what she does, what she likes/doesn’t like. Not only that, make sure he listens to the answers AND remembers them too! Empathise, validate and be present. Make her laugh, be kind and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Regardless of the outcome of this first ‘hang out’, if he’s keen to do another ‘date’ or to just dial it back again to mates, make sure he communicates that with her, so there’s no room for guessing or interpretation. Definitely don’t play games, don’t ignore her and don’t be messaging any other girls at the same time. Speak kindly about her to his friends, don’t share or discuss private or intimate things about her behind her back.

I definitely don’t have all the answers, neither am I a relationship guru (divorced, single mum in a relationship for 10 years with a guy who has four kids of his own and we live separately!) I’m sure there’s a million other things I could have/should have said - but to be honest I was just glad I was even having the opportunity to have this conversation with my 6ft 3, 15 year old, stinky, hairy man child in the first place!

If we don’t teach them how to be the kind of person we’d like to be in a relationship with, where will he get his information and ideas from otherwise?

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