We Can Learn About Dating From The Teen in The House!
We’ve all seen them...at the mall, on street corners and in movie
theatre lobbies. They exist in droves, in herds…never alone. We
watch them flirt, laugh and hold hands; sometimes their ability to have
fun frightens us.
we ever think we’d be back in the dating game in tandem with our
sons or daughters in the ever-rocky hormonal boat? As parents, we are
always learning from our children, and the learning doesn’t stop,
even when they become teenagers.
are notorious for “knowing it all”, but upon observation
and careful study I have learned a lot about dating from my teenage
son. I always thought that when I became a mother, I would WOW my child
with words of wisdom and advice learned from my own files of experience,
I thought I would be crowned queen of knowledge and advice. Little did
I know that teenagers these days have the market on dating, I see it
from observing the social phenomenon of the nearby mall.
a single mother and nurturer by birth, I had often found myself wanting
to change, heal or earn the love of the men I had begun a relationship
with. I found that I was never really happy with the results starting
from that “lose-lose” paradigm. So, to gather more information
and experience dating from new eyes – I watched and listened (sometimes
in clandestine fashion) to my son and his friends; I noted that these
modern day Romeos have a lot of insights and wisdom going on.
The importance of staying playful and open with a sense of innocence
is the first thing I learned from my teenager. I notice that I have
been taking myself WAY too seriously and needed to lighten up big time,
especially in the land of single parent dating. I see how my son and
his friends act with their “girl” friends, stimulating a
crush element; hence we girls sleep with the phone next to our pillow
at night. It’s that simple.
I still recall those teenage days myself, in fact they echo in my mind.
Romeo oh Romeo – where art thou Romeo? Romeo these days is instant
messaging, text messaging and telephoning his Juliet, to keep their
“crush” alive. Because of divorced upbringing, many teenage
years are spent on the lazy Susan of love, not finding the permanence
they seek. Kids these days did not inherit “the romantic illusion”
we inhaled in our youth. The fantasy of everlasting love is way past
the expiration date. The teen in me has fought hard to let go of the
fantasies that hurt us in the end.
SHOW HER YOU CARE…
But what does my son and his friends have that men my own age have lost…or
never even had or knew? What motivates these teenager daters and where
can I find it for myself? My son is not afraid to tell a girl how he
feels; in fact he does it so naturally – like it’s not a
crime of passion. He has learned from the adults around him to not be
mean. His dating techniques are to respect, compliment, do favors and
be nice. I have learned not to accept bad behavior or disrespect from
the overgrown teenagers I have dated.
The unrequited love syndrome, which some of us adult daters are still
stuck in, is still prevalent in teens but in a more ‘aware way’.
I see that teenagers today don’t see love through rose-colored
John Lennon glasses. They are real and fearless in their expressions.
My teenager, by example, has taught me to be kind, gentle – and
treat my significant other as I would my best friend; and to create
a feeling of safety.
IN THE MOMENT…
My son has taught me not to hesitate, and to act upon my instincts.
As I watch him start over each day anew (like the movie “Groundhog
Day”), I understand the importance of not bringing old baggage
in on dates. Leave the heavy suitcases at baggage claim and come to
your dates with an overnight bag instead. There is nothing worse than
hearing someone’s story from the dater’s horror house of
shame while they’re spending time with you. I learned from my
teenager to allow each day to be brand new.
notice how much happier I am by following this young mentor’s
example in the world of dating and relationships. I used to joke that
my son gets more action than I do until I stopped joking and started
paying attention to what he could teach ME, his mid-aged, baby boomer
Jodi Seidler is the ‘Mother or Re-Invention’ and the creator
of www.Makinglemonade.com – The Single Parent Network; and most
importantly she is Sam’s single mom.