If you could go back in time and change something, would you? We all say “I wouldn’t change a thing”, but I believe some well thought out advice would have benefitted me greatly. For example, take my stint as a teenager.
I went through a phase where everything I owned was flannel or denim. Not too mention my brief love affair with blue eye shadow and the number of Thursday evenings I wasted watching FRIENDS. Or how about the hours I spent teasing my bangs to achieve maximum lift and why didn’t someone tell me Diet Coke is not a food group?
Watching my children and their friends maneuver the teen years has allowed me to reflect on my own decade of awkwardness.It’s obvious that I was a hot mess and could have benefitted from a fashion intervention.However, I really wish someone would have prepared me with practical dating advice.
If only I had known then what I do now, there would have been less ice cream consumption and tears spent on pillows. The unknown world of boys created stress and self-doubt. Dating still does this for our daughters. If I could go back in time, I would leave myself this note of advice about relationships and dating to share.
Put down that ice cream and relax. Teenage romance is like the Spice Girls fad. Fast paced, quirky, totally unpredictable, and short-lived.
Here are a few tips to ease into dating and finding the guy of your dreams:
Mr. Right is an illusion, he doesn’t exist. Boys are human and make mistakes. Please don’t think you can change a boy or improve him… you can’t. You must love the whole person, faults and all.
Have the boy ask for your father’s permission. I know that sounds like something from the 1940’s, but let them come to you. This weeds the boys from the men. If he cares about you, he will take the time to ask your father if he can see you. You are more dignified than chasing boys.
Don’t kiss every boy, but don’t be afraid to kiss the perfect one. Kissing is intimate and a sign of affection – save your kisses for a person that matters.
Boys aren’t playthings. (Boys have feelings, too!)
Say “I love you” only when you mean it.
Get to know his family and friends. Mothers fear losing their sons to a girl. Let his mother gain a new friend! You will also see how his family works and gain valuable information if the relationship moves toward marriage.
Don’t always follow your heart.Listen and pay attention to your feelings, but sit back and really think about the situation. Don’t compromise your belief system or personal goals for just anyone.
Don’t fall in love with the first boy who shows you affection. The right person will come along, don’t rush into relationships. Take your time and see the world first. It’s okay not to have a boyfriend.
Have standards and don’t back down on deal breakers. You won’t be able to change him, no matter how hard you try. If he’s into drugs, alcohol, or is abusive – he’s not worth your time.
Look to the future. Tomorrow is a new day – don’t do anything today that will jeopardize tomorrow. It’s easy to get caught up in the passion of a moment, but they can have lasting consequences. Babies and STD’s don’t go away.
Respect yourself. You are beautiful and worthy. Don’t try to change yourself or hide behind a facade of skimpy clothes and make-up.The way you dress says a lot about who you are as a person.
Keep your friends and interests. Remember who your friends are and foster these relationships. Boys may come and go, but friends are forever. Please don’t stop being yourself for a boy. If he complains, then he isn’t the guy for you.
Be cautious of digital romances. Use common sense and social media etiquette. Post only what you would want your Grandma to see; anyone’s eyes may potentially see your posts.
Keep your chin up and take the good with the bad. You will find the right guy, but it takes time and experience.
Have fun and enjoy every moment.
Amy Williams is a journalist in California. As her daughter enters high school, dating is becoming a very real possibility. These are all things she wants her daughter to know.
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