One of those “rules for girls who date my son” came through my feed the other day, and I haven’t able to get it out of my head. Some of the rules, if memory serves were:
- My son is not a cash machine.
- If you come to our house dressed inappropriately, I’ll send you away.
- If I see any “sexts” on his phone, I’ll make you go away.
Oh. Wait. Here it is.
Reading it again, I feel a tiny bit of rage start to burn inside me. Other “rules” I’ve read:
- Don’t break his heart.
- Cross your legs. . . and keep them that way.
- No Drama Queens Allowed (Does anyone find this one ironic given the nature of these lists?)
I was hoping a search for “Rules for Dating My Daughter” would yield results to cool my temper, but what I found was just as insulting towards women, and involved a significant threat of violence, including:
- Understand I don’t like you.
- You hurt her, I hurt you.
- Whatever you do to her, I will do to you.
- Keep your hands off her or I will remove them
- I’ll just be waiting here, cleaning my gun.
Inspired by this drek, I started to think about. . . The Rules for Dating Our Children
- Treat our son and daughter with respect, and expect to be treated the same.
- Don’t use how our children are dressed as an excuse for your behavior.
- Expect respect regardless of how you are dressed.
- Celebrate our children’s successes and expect to be celebrated for yours.
- Be kind and expect kindness.
- Violence – physical, emotional, verbal – is never acceptable nor should it be accepted.
- Do not ask our children for a photo you wouldn’t show your parents.
- Don’t send a photo of any part of yourself they (or I) wouldn’t expect to see at school – even if they ask.
- If they ask for an inappropriate picture – block them and tell us.
- Never distribute any photos you may receive of our children (or anyone really) and expect photos will “stop” with our children.
- Expect our children to pay for dates, and for you to do the same. Either way, paying does not give anyone any special privileges.
- Get a job. Join a club. Make new friends. Maintain and cultivate your interests outside of your relationship with our children, and expect our kids will do the same.
- Let our children have their space and make sure they know when you need yours.
- Having sex is not something for which a boy should be celebrated and a girl should be shamed.
- Sex should be done safely with consent. And consent can be revoked, without question.
- If you are put in the “friend zone” enjoy their friendship because we think they are pretty awesome.
- Have their backs and expect they will have yours, and that we will be there if you need us.
- While you are dating you are part of my family so be prepared to join us for dinner and to help clear the table.
- Expect that our children talk to us, and we hope you will talk to us also.
- Our children are not perfect, and neither are you. We are all only human.
- No relationship is forever. Feelings will be hurt. Hearts will be broken. It’s normal and there are no hard feelings. Refer to rule 5.
It’s a work on progress and will undoubtedly continue to evolve. But it feels like a good start.
What would you add to the list?