Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Boys and Dating

By the time boys hit the end of middle school or the beginning of the high school, they will likely begin to express more interest in girls. There are a few things to keep in mind in terms of boys and dating.

1. There are no magic ages. Girls mature faster than boys. A boy is ready when he can articulate to you a plan for handling the situations that concern you.

2. Remember when we spoke to the importance of knowing your son’s friends and his parents? The same is true for relationships with the opposite sex. Insist that he bring her home to dinner before the date, and he should introduce himself to her family as well. Don’t give in on this issue. Show interest even if you don’t approve of everything about them. Showing interest doesn’t always equate with giving permission.

3. Free up her father (through a phone conversation or in person) to get to know him, here his expectations clearly in terms of your son spending time with his daughter.

4. Keep in mind what is taking place developmentally. (You wouldn’t ask a toddler to multiply). Let this help you set limits AND provide opportunities (don’t turn them loose to their peers and also don’t eliminate opportunities for them to fail).

5. He needs education in terms of the way girls think, how they interpret things differently and also how some girls gravitate toward manipulation as a pattern of relating. Use role-play with him as tool and involve some other individuals he might here from better on this topic (a youth director at church working with girls, his aunt, a family friend with a college-aged daughter you trust, etc.)

6. He needs strong information in terms of physical boundaries, sexual experimentation, how “no” means no when spoken by a girl regardless of his interpretation, and how to respect his own body and hers.

7. Keep in mind what we said earlier within the book that although it’s normal for him to express an interest in dating and to have experience with dating, it should never exclude his having and maintaining relationships with his male peers. If he becomes obsessed with a single relationship with a female at the expense of developing and maintaining relationship with his male peers, this is of concern.

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