Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learning to Date

While having a discussion recently with a male friend of mine, it dawned on me to ask him "How do boys learn to date?" I don't know what answer I expected but his answer sort of surprised me.

What was it?

"Um, I don't know." That was the answer. I started thinking about it. How do children (or teens or adults) learn to date? That's a tough one.

If you look at my background, I certainly didn't learn it at home. My mother thought it was terrible if I so much as called a guy. There was no guidance. And I had a brother nearly 10 years older than me who was long gone by the time I started dating. I guess I learned it from Judy Blume books and my friends. But I don't really know.

I worked with a male interpreter the other day, a few years older than me and someone I trust. "How did you learn to date?", I asked. The answer was the same! "Um.....I don't know. I just did it." My first thought was is this normal? Then I started thinking about it and realized this explains a lot.

I guess most kids grow up with parents as models. I didn't. My mom was single and never dated while I was around. I think lots of parents are bad role models. Yes, many are good. But what do kids do when they don't have those positive role models?

I've long held on to the belief that the one of the main reasons men are not nice to women is because they were jerked around/abused by women or they never learned how to be nice to them. And one of the main reasons women take it is because they were taught to. So who teaches children to love? To have strong, healthy relationships? Maybe it's innate in us all - until someone screws it up.

I think I'm doing a good job raising girls who think for themselves, who feel for others and who will understand what a relationship is supposed to be like. Or at least I hope I am. I dated a lot when I was younger - good role models would've helped me there. I'm old enough now to make good decisions. I hope my kids watch what I'm doing and both learn from my mistakes and my successes. The successes are much more fun.

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