SALT LAKE CITY — One of my favorite pastimes, as of late, is sitting next to my teenage daughter while she responds to text messages from boys. There is no invading of privacy, rather a combined mother-daughter effort to appropriately respond to teenage boys.
I’ll admit, I encourage the use of GIFs as often as possible, in a sort of passive-assertive response that keeps boys teetering between "friend zone" and potential dating arena.
When words are exchanged, it often goes something like this:
Boy: “I killed my opponent in my wrestling match today!”
My daughter: “When’s the funeral?”
This conversation totally happened, and we have the messages and giggle-fueled memories to prove it.
While I thoroughly enjoy this time with my daughter and am even more grateful for the window she allows into this part of her life (right now), I know that in the not-so-distant future actual dating will become a reality, and it won’t always be playful banter.
Dating is serious business, and as a mom of three teenagers and six more right around the corner, I have often thought about what I’d like them to know as they enter the world of dating. After all, dating is fun, but not to be toyed with; heartache is eminent, but hopefully not long-lasting.
As I’ve given a lot of pause to what I want my kids to know, I have narrowed it down to one tip with three simple words: Don’t get taken.
All too often in the dating world, people get fixated on something in a relationship. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s the football star or class president, or she’s the girl all the boys like. Perhaps he or she was your first love and letting go of that first love is too much to bear. It may be possible that dating doesn’t come easy and you don’t want to let go of the one relationship no matter how toxic it is.
In each of these instances, the advice is the same: Don’t get taken.
Don’t get taken is a simple way of telling my kids that they are more than the relationship. It means that nobody is worth sacrificing your self-worth or happiness. Don’t get taken lets my kids know that no matter how deep they are in a hurtful relationship, that they still have some control.
But it’s not all negative, and this statement still rings true when things are going well in a relationship. Don’t get taken away from your responsibility to be a good date or boyfriend/girlfriend. Don’t get taken away from what you want out of life even when you are blinded by love. And certainly Don’t get taken away from sharing important moments with your parents, because they want the very best from you, especially when it matters most.