I didn't know whether to call this blog post Dating Woes or Parenting Style because I feel like my parenting style may have caused the dating woes I am having with my kids. So... what do I start with.
Well, here is the main woe... Neither of my kids has gone on a date. My son is 18 and in college (ok- no date I know about) and my daughter is 16 and starting college in the fall. I realize some of you may think I am crazy for being unhappy about this, after all, how many people wish their kids would focus on education and not worry about the opposite sex, right? But my issue is that if I don't ever see my kids interact on a romantic level, how will I know if they are on the right track? How will I know whether or not they will lose themselves in a relationship? How can I whisper advice to my kids when I see things may not be right? Once they are out of the house, it will be pretty hard. So this is why I am troubled.
I guess you can categorize this into a first world/homeschooler problem.
I blame myself that my kids don't need a significant other to validate themselves. I have been very purposeful from birth to be a hands on- hands off parent. I am hands on in areas of affection. I touch, hug, give back rubs, tickle feet, walk by them and smile, touch their faces, and any other kind of physical affection that a parent can heap upon a child. My husband has done the same. My kids are not starved for affection in any way, shape, or form. I am hands off in areas of their will. I let them have their own will, to express their own opinions, to allow their opinions to be opposite of mine, and to let them sometimes guide me, based on their feelings and intuition. We are a team, and I allow them to lead whenever appropriate. They don't need to look outside the home to feel valued. And so in doing all this work to build up my kids, I left a big gaping hole in the romantical area. My kids neither need or seek such attachment.
So prom is next week, and my daughter and I had a conversation that we've had for the last couple of years at this time. I asked if she would be happier to have a date for prom. Her answer was the same as last year- "why?". "I have no feelings for anyone I know outside of brotherly affection, so it would be ridiculous to date any of them for prom when I could just as well go with my female friends." She said it so strongly and matter-of-factly, that I knew her convictions on this subject were strong. This did however, lead to another conversation that was a first-time thing. As she is headed to college at 17 yrs and a few days, she was concerned that any guy she does meet will certainly be older than her. She wanted guidelines as to what age gap was acceptable. That led to a thoughtful discussion about things I won't discuss publicly.
I feel comfortable and happy that my kids are where they are developmentally, but I do have a nagging feeling about them not having dated. Am I crazy? I'd love some other homeshcoolers to let me know how they feel. The only other information I can give is that our household is Christian, but we abhor anything legalistic, so we have placed no restrictions on our kids in the dating area, and have always been open for discussion on anything. We've also discussed being aware of and avoiding dating someone just for fun... that they couldn't see themselves in a long term relationship with.
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