I chose this topic because it is something that I am currently going through at the moment and i’m sure many other mothers and fathers can relate to it. I have two older children a boy (14) and a daughter (13) as of this year. They are starting to ask questions regarding my dating life, my past relationship with their father and even questions regarding the nature of my current relationship. I am very open and honest when I tell them about the things that I experienced. My good and even my bad experiences. I make sure to let them know; by me telling the truth about my personal experience is not to scare them away from dating but for them to understand that they are at a very impressionable age. Small things are so major in teenagers lives because they don’t grasp the concept of what love really is and all that work that takes to maintain a healthy relationship. They always make the same comment, “you had a boyfriend when you were a teenager.” And I let them know that they are absolutely correct but I inform them my mother never said that I couldn’t and i’m choosing to make different choices than my mother in order to have a different outcome for my children. No, this is not to say my mother was wrong for allowing us to date but I see what I went through so young and how it affected me and I just want differently for my own.
Its a few main things I make sure to go over:
- Just because you are interested in someone now doesn’t mean you will be when you finally realize who you want to be and the life you want to live
- Peer pressure in relationships or feeling obligated to have sex that you may not be ready for
- early pregnancy
- Loss of focus on their goals and academics
- mental or physical abuse that cant be determined as such
- emotional damage from an early heart break that could damage them for years to come.
A lot of these reasons apply no matter what age, but my biggest is the teen pregnancy and the emotional damage and its because its something that I can speak about first hand. I had both of my children back to back at the age 17 and 18. I was in a relationship with their father and he wasn’t the best person. He was very emotionally damaging to the point I felt as if I would never find a person to love me the correct way. I allow my children to know that yes, we were both young and made mistakes between the both of us. But I harbored a lot of animosity toward men for a long time and i’m sure I pushed a lot of people away who had pure intentions. I didn’t trust anyone, I felt unworthy , and always waited for the ” bad things” to happen. I allow my children to know that being damaged so young can ruin good things in the future. My job is to protect them as best I can but also teach them the fundamentals of being in a healthy relationship, and what it looks like. For my son to understand that being a man of his word and always being honest is what he needs to learn the value of before feeling as though he is man enough to take on the responsibility of a relationship. I try to allow my daughter to understand that not all young men have pure intentions and even if they are good people at heart. Fitting in to what their friends feel is, ” cool” is more important than living up to the standards of a healthy relationship.
Putting themselves first, loving themselves and taking the time to explore the world in the right way is my hope for them. Of course I cant protect them from everything but if I teach them the value of self love they will save themselves a lot of trouble in the future.