Let’s just get this out of the way first: Yes, I’ve been noticeably absent for several months. No, my absence wasn’t planned. Yes, I’m fine. I’ll probably explain in another post. But for right now, I have something else I’d like to talk about.
If you spend any time on the vast stretches of the internet, especially social media, you’ve probably seen images like these popping up all over the place over the last however-many months:
I’ve seen people share these on Facebook and Twitter, touting them as being the Next Big Thing in parenting. As though any of this is actually positive.
Frankly, I think it’s awful. And not funny at all.
You know what’s funny? The way my son sings: “Shot through the heart, and you’re too late! You give gloves… A bad name.“
But publicly dictating controlling and sexist “rules” for your child’s emergence into adulthood? Not funny.
I have a number of issues with these memes, but let me stick to the main one . Also, since I have sons, I shall refer to that particular meme. I’m sure there’s someone else out there with girls who is, at this very moment, taking offence to the Rules for Dating my Daughter. (Solidarity, sibling-of-either-gender!)
My sons are currently 6 and (almost) 3. They are not even close to dating age. Nevertheless, I take exception to this meme for the inferences it makes about them, and about me.
It assumes that (a) my son isn’t capable of making his own decisions or standing up for himself, (b) because he’s a man, he will be unable to resist a woman who dresses “like a stripper” and sends sexts, regardless of any of her other traits — good or bad — and (c) I’m responsible for him and his happiness for the rest of his life.
Well, colour me silly (which is a shade of fuschia), but I’d like to think that by the time my boys start dating, I will have raised sons who are independent, intelligent, and discerning.
And I have zero desire to still be raising them when they’re in their twenties and thirties. Or forties. Or whatever age these “protective” parents think is the right age to release their beloved offspring into the wild.
It is not my job to choose my son’s girlfriend, wife, job, hobbies, financial plan, or living arrangements.
It is my job to teach my son responsibility and self-respect, and prepare him to make his own well-informed decisions.
(And to be there to support and comfort him when he inevitably makes a few bad ones.)
But if I absolutely, positively must create a list of rules for dating my son, it looks something like this:
- Have fun.
- Be safe.
- Respect each other.
What are your thoughts on these “Rules for Dating” memes?