Most parents have an overriding concern to protect their children from getting hurt in relationships
I am reminded of the story of Samuel Jackson when his daughter started dating. It was a summers evening when the doorbell rang and a young man arrived (on time) to collect Samuel’s daughter to take her out on a date. The young man was somewhat nervous, understandably so – I mean how bad is Mr Jackson? Is he as dangerous as he is rich?
Upon arrival the young man was led to the same room where Samuel was sat and he greeted Mr Jackson with a calm but distinct “Hello Mr Jackson”. Sam J did not reply, did not even look up from his newspaper and for the most part did not seem to notice that the young man was making every effort to appear a suitable candidate of his daughter’s affections.
The young man spent five minutes waiting for his date to finish her last minute preparations and the silence in the room was awful. Time as we all know is a relative reality and those 300 seconds standing in the presence of a multi-millionaire who reputably keeps a shot gun and a shovel close to hand must have seemed an eternity. And still no word. By the time the date arrived the young suitor was a wreck and was pleased to leave the Jackson family home. As he left the room Mr J looked up and said to him “make sure you return my daughter on time and in the same condition that she left the house”.
The issues around dating are numerous and tips are determined by our belief systems, values, gender and social class. This of course takes no account of our own history (as adults) there may also be issues of race and sexuality and the list goes on.
Most parents however are fairly protective and have one overriding concern that is that our children do not experience pain. One father admitted that he was petrified that his daughter might end up meeting a man that was not dissimilar to himself.
The above not withstanding in terms of practical tips here are some derived from four families that may be of some use.
- Communication – be clear about expectations on all sides. This includes age, timekeeping, clothing and sexual boundaries.
- Regularity- how often should your child see his or her boyfriend or girlfriend? This includes how often they come round to the house (if at all).
- Boundaries – what are the rules regarding friends of the opposite sex going into bedrooms?
- Phone calls – can be a huge problem. How much time in calls or texts is enough?
- Intentions – How serious is this relationship?