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Creator Jodi Seidler is available to consult with you - helping you with the rough transition into the land of single-parent-hood. Sometimes it's a scary neighborhood and you shouldn't walk the streets alone.

 


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Child Magazine Column


 

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What 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.

Did 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.

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.

As 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.

KEEP IT SIMPLE…
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.

LONG LIVE ROMANCE…
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.

NOTHING TO FEAR…
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.

BE 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.

I 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 mother.


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.