Sometimes I wish someone actually sat me down as a kid and talked to me about dating and relationships. Even though I was raised by my mother, I don’t ever recall her talking about either subjects, besides her saying, “You better not come home knocked up”. Instead, I learned everything I knew at the time from Judy Blume, Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele. Yeah, not quite the holy grail of learning, but it was all I had. Blume taught me about menstruation and innocent crushes. Collins and Steele taught me about lust, love and the dangers that could arise from both. Life taught me the rest.
Last week my 13 year old son came into my room, laid next to me on my bed and placed his head on my shoulder. This is usually what he does when he wants something, so I was preparing myself for either of these questions:
- Can I have another dog?
- Can I get another gecko?
- There’s this new video game coming out…can you buy it?
I was preparing myself to say no to whatever request he was about to ask. To my surprise he asked for something else.
Just last year girls were gross, rude and mean. Now he wants advice about dating them? To say I wasn’t prepared for that question was an understatement. I needed a few minutes to contemplate my answer, but with him, an answer needs to be supplied immediately. So I thought about it for all of 5 seconds. I thought about what I wanted to hear when I was his age, then I thought about what I learned and what I’m still learning along the way.
His first question was about a friend he has a crush on. He didn’t know whether he should ask her “out” or just remain friends. I’m not really sure what he meant by “out”, because there’s not so much a 13 year can do besides the movies and the mall, but I didn’t bring up that issue. I asked him if there were any ‘signs’ that she may be interested in more than a friendship type of way, because sometimes people can misinterpret signals. I didn’t want him to answer the question, but to just think about it to himself and pay attention to their interactions at school. If he felt that there was something “more” there, then maybe he should simply ask her to the movies and see what she says. But if she turns him down, don’t be disappointed because you can still be friends, without the whole dating aspect.
I think if kids are taught early that men and women can be platonic friends, there won’t be 50,000 blog posts 10 years from now with people asking “Can Men & Women Really Just Be Friends?”. Because we all know that horse has been beaten to death.
There were other questions he asked, but I’ll save those for later.
Hopefully he wont end up scarred for life from my advice.