When Should I Date?

I sat in on a random conversation today with some other moms and they were talking about their daughters dating. The question came up: When’s the best time to date? There were definitely different perspectives.

My perspective? The timing does matter. My perspective? It also matters how parents spin this to their children. My perspective? Children, Teens and Young Adults deserve an alternative option than the mainstream is screaming.

With the majority of the media, mags, books, tunes and role models pushing dating, hookups, sex, try this, why not that…if it feels good, looks good, someone says it’s good—then it’s ALL good. But I think there’s a majority that are actually craving a different spin. It might be all good—till the high is shattered, regrets set in, and you are forced to face the reality that you starred in a scene you now wish you could REscript. But REscripting life never happens.

As a parent and a role model, I think teens and young adults are screaming for another option than the “REscript.” If they’ve been trying the mainstream opinion for long, they are well aware that it does feel good and it does look good, but when it’s all said and done, it’s not all good.

Think about it. What is the purpose of dating? Really? I mean the purpose that doesn’t leave you wishing for a REscript? Because dating is fun, there are definitely rush-filled moments…but I know I never ended a relationship without wishing for a REscript until I dated the one that became my “I Do.” So perhaps dating turns out best when the potential for the REscript feeling isn’t such a guaranteed result. Awaken love before it’s the right time and you awaken the REscript. Might be best to just let it sleep.

If I tell my daughters or sons that they can date at 13, then at 13 the door is wide open to them to try it out. So they start into the endless cycle of boyfriend/girlfriend after boyfriend/girlfriend…on and on. After the hype, what’s the result that shows up on their stages? Heartbreak, frustration, experiences they aren’t ready for, a skewed perception of relationships, dented self-image, rearranged reputation….you know the scene—wishing for a REscript.

OK, so how about I tell them dating at 16 is great. As a parent, what kind of result can I expect them to experience? Same as above, except usually magnified and intensified to the point of painful—very. And the whole time, not one of those dating experiences stay around and build a future. But what does stay is that intense wish for the REscript. The “if only I wouldn’t have….”

Here’s one 16 year old’s feelings about the REscript: 

Every boyfriend or girlfriend becomes a lead role in your life Drama and has an impact on your Script…and unless it’s time for you to hit the “married” scene, then let’s be real, that person is eventually cut from your cast. But the scenes you acted out with them aren’t cut—and that cuts. Deep. Wishing for a REscript that’s impossible can be a hard hurdle to jump.

So, if you want another option than the mainstream, I say stop scripting the dating scenes until you’re ready for the marriage scene to hit the stage. And if you are going to choose that option, then you have to make some choices to help yourself out. Like, check what kind of images you are watching on the screen or what tunes are pulsing through your speakers. If you fill yourself up with images and sound bytes that are telling you to jump when the mainstream jumps, then guess what—you’re going to jump.

Check out what is so privileged to gain access to your mind and heart. If it’s not helping you to cut out the REscripts, then let me remind you: It’s YOUR Drama, the pen’s in your hand. You can start writing a different ending the moment you choose to. Avoid the REscript.

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