Teen What?

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The year was 1986. The era when Aqua Net hairspray, Hair Bands, and the Golden Ages of Hip Hop music played a big part in my teenage years of the ’80s. One cannot forget when Coca Cola attire, boat shoes, and rolled up ankle pants were considered preppy attire. I was in my prime teenage years and didn’t have a clue about what dating was all about. I believe it was more peer pressure, as I truly had no interest in actually dating at the time.

I’ll never forget my first date. Bobby was his name, and he resembled David Cassidy with his long blonde hair. Bobby drove a Firebird Trans Am with mag wheels. It amazes me how much detail I remember about the actual material things about the date and less so about what we did on the date. You better believe I remember my mom and dad telling me what time to be home.

In total, I probably went on two dates before settling down with a “boyfriend” during my high school years. I often think about how I shorted myself with experiences and growth during my teenage years due to my immature self. Boy, could I write a Dear Me letter!

A Brief History of Teenage Dating

Can you believe teenage dating dates back to the 1920s? What was known as “courtship” back then has evolved into “dating.” Courtships included time together at home in the presence of the parents. If one were lucky, the young couple would have a few moments alone on the porch. Eventually, after several visits with the parents, the young couple would take an unsupervised walk through town.

What Changed?

The automobile made its appearance in America, and “courtship” left the scene like a bat out of hell. Teenagers were driving, and the automobile took dating to the next level (if you know what I mean). During the past two decades, the cell phone has revolutionized the dating scene. The explosion of social media and texting are the entry levels into the 21st-century teenage dating scene.

Wake Up, parents!

Teenage dating in the 21st century makes it more challenging for parents to keep up with their teens. Parents should talk to their teens about dating while establishing rules that will keep them safe. While dating helps teens build social skills and assists with identifying their love interests, parents should keep their teens focused, informed, and educated.

Although I didn’t have a lot of dating experiences, I often wonder if my life experiences would have turned out differently. I married right out of high school and started a family. If I’d had more experience with dating, would I be on my second marriage? Today, I am currently working on a master’s degree at the age of forty-eight because I have never felt fulfilled in my career role. I always wonder if this is related to my lack of dating.

As I parent, I am hoping to instill education first, eye on the prize, while embracing every opportunity that comes my daughter’s way. Granted, she is only nine years old, but I am focused on shaping her in the following areas:

                1. Who she is as an individual
                2. Her faith
                3. Patience and Boundaries
                4. The proper understanding of what love is
                5. Open Communication

Let’s Not Forget…

Most importantly, I encourage you to create a book club session with your tween/teen about dating. There are hundreds of books to help guide both tween/teen and parents down the road of the unknown. Use this time for both of you to learn and discover together.

The one thing about parenting is that I get to wake up and do it all over again the next day. Even when I don’t think I am doing a good job, I wake up feeling refreshed with new ideas. If you have a tween, start talking about boys/girls with them. Open the communication now before the communication is closed.

Parent Resources 

Straight Talk About Teen Dating: If I’d Only Known the Truth aboutBy: James Wegert M. Ed (Second Edition)

The Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends By: Chad Eastham

Podcast: Ten Myths of Teen Dating

Podcast: Teen Dating in the Digital Age

 

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Born in Pensacola, Florida Taxie lived her childhood and teenage years moving around as an Army brat. She lived in Germany and Italy before settling back in Pensacola in 2000. While Taxie originally set out to pursue a degree in teaching, earning a bachelor's in Elementary Education, God had other plans for her when an opportunity arose to work at a prestigious law firm. She has worked as a Paralegal for the past 14 years and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Administrative Law at the University of West Florida. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue her lifelong desire to teach. Taxie is happily married and a mother to two girls, Desirea and Katelyn. She enjoys camping and gardening. Taxie is a loyal friend who always finds time in her busy schedule to maintain her friendships with GNO and Girl Trips. Even though her plate is full with a career, family, and school, Taxie is always available to help with anything involving her daughters. In the past Taxie has volunteered her time serving as a cheer and softball coach and currently serves as a Girl Scouts Leader. Taxie has faced challenges most people couldn't imagine but she is full of hunger to become a better version of herself every day.

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