If you were to talk with your tweens about dating and going to school, have you ever thought about how the conversation would turn out? As a youth speaker, I am commonly broached with these types of questions from teens when parents don't address the topic at home. How soon is too soon to date? What are the rules? When can I date? Yes, as the babies get older their hormones do begin to kick into gear with topics that include dating.
After recently concluding a workshop, I was approached by several tweens about my views on being old enough to date. I was not surprised because it is common for parents to put the subject on the back burner. Before I offered a response, I wanted to ask them some questions of my own. Most of the questions I was asked were pertinent to the tweens age group; however here were some of my questions I asked the teenagers:
Roland Hinds: What did dating mean to them?
Tweens Response: Amazingly, the answers varied between the tween girls and boys. The girls thought of dating as an opportunity to talk to multiple guys with no strings attached, whereas the guys were more interested in having an exclusive relationship. Many of the young teen girls said, they were unsure about their role and responsibilities of dating so early. As expected, many of the boys thought of dating from a physical perspective, such as holding hands and kissing.
On that note, I obviously agreed with the tweens girls. Talk, talk, talk, but no kissing. Call me old fashion, but there is no reason to engage in a serious relationships until a college degree is in hand or at least in the works. Okay, some of tweens presumed I was crazy until we spoke about the emotions and energy it takes to manage a relationship. Some of the youths were astonished that there was so much more involved in dating and it was not all fun and games.
Roland Hinds: Did the tweens feel ready to date?
Tweens Response: Many of the younger tween girls (ages 13-16) did not feel they were ready to date, while the boys on the other hand were in total disagreement. Across the board, the boys spoke as if they had all the answers about dating.
The older tweens had a different viewpoint than their counterpart on what they thought about dating. For many of the young ladies (ages 17-19), dating meant having a sense independence to make a conscious decision to date another young person. The tables were turned for the older tween guys, they felt it was a prime opportunity to date multiple girls without restrictions.
What had changed between the tweens? The girls had become more selective about their dating choices, whereas the guys were ready to sow their oats. This is where I felt compelled to explain the variance between both genders to the boys. There were a few things some of the teens boys had not thought about such as, girls emotions and pregnancy. Yes, I exclaimed, girls do have emotions and can get pregnant. I shared with them how teen pregnancy reduced opportunities to succeed making the road difficult to accomplish future goals. What does this all mean? Parents, get busy talking to your children before "puppy love" sets in. Save your children from learning the "in's and out" of dating from their peers at school.