Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is Your Daughter Ready to Date?

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No! I am sure that was the answer that went through your head, and will continue running through your head until she turns 35.

Some of us have these societal defined ages in which it is okay to start dating: 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, and 30. There are times when a 16 year old is ready to date, and then there are times when a 21 year old is not ready to be dating. There are certain characteristics that are needed in order to start dating. Emotional maturity is the key indicator for dating preparedness. Emotional maturity can be broken into three categories empathy, self-control, and personal responsibility.

  1. Empathy is the ability to respect and understand someone else’s feelings, rights, and needs. Basically, it is a concern for oneself and for others.
  2. Self-control is the controlling of your behaviors. That is you controlling your emotions instead of your emotions controlling you.
  3. Personal responsibility is owning your own thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Also, it is being accountable for completing a goal or task that you said you would do.

It is these three indicators that help determine if your daughter is ready to date.

First, let’s talk about the signs that she is not ready to date. If she is lacking in any of those three areas, she is not ready date. It may also make her vulnerable to an abusive and manipulative relationship.

So what does it mean to lack empathy, self-control and personal responsibility?

If your daughter lacks empathy, she will show some of these characteristics:

  • Self-centered
  • Easily offended
  • Poor sense for others feelings
  • Won’t forgive self or others for past wrongs
  • Talks as if she knows more than others and is superior
  • Has issues with authority
  • Is emotionally draining

Your daughter has lacks self-control if she shows these behaviors:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Promiscuity
  • Anger that gets out of control
  • Suicidal or self-harming behaviors
  • Acts threatening/intimidating when confronted
  • Acts one way at church, another at school, another at home

If your daughter lacks personal responsibility, these are some of the things she will be doing:

  • Rationalizes
  • Justifies
  • Blames others
  • Makes excuses
  • Doesn’t follow through on goals
  • Needs excessive support to get tasks done
  • Talks big
  • Uses passive language instead of active language
  • Doesn’t respect boundaries
  • Assumes a victim position
  • Holds on to the past, obsesses over the future, forgets to deal with the present
  • Expects others to anticipate her feelings and needs; gets mad if they don’t
  • Often late
  • Conveniently forgetful
  • Lies to cover up for her responsibility

So even though your daughter might be turning 16, she might not be ready for dating if she lacking in any of those categories: empathy, self-control, and personal responsibility.However, if she excels in being empathetic, controlling herself, and taking personal responsibility, she is ready to date. Next time, I will talk about the signs that indicate that she is ready to date.

**Taken from Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man by Alisa Goodwin Snell.

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