The day is coming. I can deny it all I want, but it is coming and there is nothing I can do about it. My daughter is hitting puberty. And likely she is going to date. Boys. Maybe girls. Whatever. Either way she needs a mother’s advice about dating. Right?
Part of me wants to hand out phrases like “They only want one thing!” and “Keep your legs together!” but not only does that place me squarely back in 1956 (maybe 1856) but it also misses the point entirely. Want to hear what my mom’s dating advice to me was? When she found out I was, at 15, headed out for my first date, she pulled me aside, lowered her voice, looked around conspiratorily, and asked, “Do you NEED anything….?”
Condoms. It took me a couple of years but I eventually figured out she was asking if I needed condoms. At the time I was light-years from condoms but could have used some advice on how to talk to boys, what to do when he stuck his tongue in my mouth, and how to be assertive, courageous and confident.
Thankfully, things have changed for most of us. Look at the First Family! (I want Barack Obama to be MY dad in some weird time-warp childhood do-over.) Interestingly, according to a poll over at Shine, 70% of us feel we did not receive good dating advice from our mothers. Yikes! So how can we fix this for our daughters?
My daughter Serena willll be entering 6th grade at her middle school this fall, and even though 1) she told me at age 7 that she would never ever ever get married, EVER, and 2) so far she speaks with slight disdain about classmates who have boyfriends, the odds are good that at some point she WILL date. Better to be prepared, so I am compiling a list of topics to discuss with her, but honestly, every time I think of my baby dating or (avert eyes!) having sex I get a little queasy.
So I am asking your help. What dating advice helped you? What have you or will you tell your daughters? What can I tell my daughter? (Hellllp!)