My daughter is a teenager now and approaching the age of dating. She recently attended her first dance with a date, her school’s semi-formal Christmas dance. As the boy’s mom and I planned the details, I thought about how “cute” all of it was. The romantic side of me remembered back to when I was courted by my husband, and before I knew what was happening, I was daydreaming about my daughter’s budding romance.
It stopped me dead in my tracks. It was one of those “Ah-ha” moments that seemed so obvious I couldn’t believe I’ve never seen it before- I can’t believe no one else has spoken of it either!
I have a dear friend whose days revolve around her daughter’s love life. The mother is just as emotionally invested as her daughter. Conversations (with the mom) continually revolve around this romantic relationship. I dare say that it has driven a wedge in our friendship (I love both mother and daughter, but simply don’t find the daughter’s dating life particularly noteworthy).
This, I believe, is one example of a growing trend of “hover parenting.” Too many moms get caught up in reliving the romance of their youth through the dating life of their teenager. After 20 years with my amazing husband, romance has mostly been replaced by ordinary life. We’re busy. We’re practical. Sure, we go on dates, when there’s time. But grown-up date night with my hubby doesn’t have the nervous excitement of teenage puppy love. Date night now is more of a calm in the storm to connect and draw near to one another. Date night is a respite from the chaos.
“Young love” is fresh and exciting. The mystery of it all is exciting, even enticing- FOR THEM. Parents, we must keep our feet planted firmly on the ground. We cannot get caught up along with our sons and daughters in the fantasy of young love. Our kids need us to maintain some skepticism and perspective. We owe it to them to step back and allow their relationship to run its course.
I’m not saying that we should disconnect. No! We must parent and be the voice of reason. More importantly, we must be the voice of truth! Only as we maintain emotional distance (from their love life) can we guide our children to make God-honoring choices. Love can blind them to realities. We need to keep our eyes wide open so we can help them see what is real and what is fantasy land.