“I know technically I’m an adult,” the 19-year-old girl tells me, “but my dad keeps ogling my friends, and my mom asked my boyfriend if he knows someone for her. I mean, really?”
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I have to admit I am slightly taken aback by her comments. My own experiences with both of her parents over the years have been great. They are loving, caring and supportive people who have always put the needs of their child first, at least when she was a child.
We live in an era when divorce is not uncommon. According to government statistics, the rate has been holding steady over the last few decades at around 40% for first marriages and 60% for second. While the majority of marriages fail within the first five years, there is an inordinate number of middle age couples divorcing. A large proportion of these couples have children in their teenage years and above.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, research confirms that the divorce rate for individuals 50 and older reflects the greatest increase among any age group. A large proportion of these individuals are reportedly empty nesters.
In the meantime, the media is filled with pictures of mixed-age couples. Although the relationship has ended, Ashton and Demi dominated the celeb social scene for years. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are another power couple, and Alec Baldwin who at age 54 married 28-year-old yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas are now expecting a baby.
While it may currently be commonplace to date younger individuals in Hollywood, most of us aren’t celebrities. You can date younger, of course, but if you are a parent, you have to realize that your kids would certainly appreciate you being discreet, to put it mildly .
So PARENTS, here a few things to remember when it comes to dating:
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1. Your children are not matchmakers, nor do they want to be put in that role. While on occasion an adult child may find a suitable someone for her mom or dad, I can assure you this is the exception, NOT the rule.
2. No matter how old the age of your child, you are his parent, NOT his friend. Yes, it is true that the older your kids get, the less they rely on you but at all ages children turn to their parents for guidance and support. There may indeed come a time when the role reverses, and your child is charged with caring for you, but hopefully that time is many years away.