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 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 3
What do you teach your kids about relationships?Page 2 of 2    (1, 2)

Wind Doe:Of course I will offer some guidance, but will hover in the background until I get the SOS flag.


See, that's just it. Between here ^^^^^ and there vvvvvv is the quandary.


justchillinonthesidelines: ........but most wont change will they oddly enough people compalin about it but do nothing to change it .


Teaching kids to treat other people, male, female, young, old respectfully is a baseline as far are I'm concerned. It's just a given for me and my sons ARE very respectful, intelligent and personable.

But, as someone pointed out, kids are smart. They SEE stuff, they experience stuff and I just feel I can't NOT point things out or ignore stuff and hope they come to the correct interpretation, if there IS a correct interpretation.... but even just to learn to process what they see, hear and experience.

 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 4
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/6/2009 5:44:46 PM

be honest about the realities of relationships; but make sure their open to the possibilities as relationship in and of themselves are wondrous, beautiful things. Its the people who muck it up.


It is the people who mess it up, absolutely, which is why I can't tell my sons that relationships are "... wondrous, beautiful things." Very few relationships deserve those adjectives from my experience....

...in fact, in the final analysis, I've never experienced any wonderous or beautiful relationships, so I'd be lying to my boys if I told them something like that.

 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 5
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/6/2009 6:25:42 PM

One thing I am blunt about? I've been telling my son he better wrap it always. I think when he was 12 I told him that if a woman says she is on the pill, don't believe it. Wrap it~~twice! LOL


Oh, believe me, that's something I tell my boys too. I've been telling my oldest guy, my stepson, for years that I'd gladly go and buy him condoms. For his graduation in June, his bio-dad supplied him with a whole kit including condoms. My youngest guys have been hearing the same thing for a few years too, though I'm not sure the youngest is quite sure why it's necessary... though I'm not stupid enough to believe he doesn't.


Talk about your experiences and how things were when you first got together. How much fun you had, the things you did, things you had in common, the great conversations, whatever. The good things. But you can also point out when the red flags popped up, and how you dealt with it. You may have to explain why you put up with really crappy behaviour and why you shouldn't have. You can tell them where you made mistakes. Just be honest.


I do try to do these things, though I really have to stretch for the positives since it's been so long since I've been in anything "serious" and that the negatives at the end of any serious relationships have made the positives seem trivial....

... but, I DO try to be balanced, honest and as positive.

Cheers.
 bernta
Joined: 9/3/2007
Msg: 6
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 8:25:08 AM
Most of my children were 12 and up when their dad and I seperated so our discussions about relationships have been many! They were all at the age of interest/dating so they were naturally curious about how the things going on with their dad and I fit into a relationship framework.

The things I have tried to instill in them have been pretty simple:

Loving, and being loved, is a wonderful thing. (And I show them by loving them to the best of my ability.)

Love is very hard work. It doesn't just happen and keep happening. Two people have to be committed to doing the work to keep things connected.

Love takes time. Over-investing very quickly in a new relationship is a recipe for disaster. Taking the time to really know the person before you decide you are in love helps to protect you from heart break.

Love is NEVER enough. There can be issues and or circumstances that love cannot overcome. It doesn't mean one or the other is wrong, it just means that there is a compatibility issue that love cannot overcome.

I want my children to believe in love and marriage, but I want that belief to be based in reality. To give them a fairytale image of happily ever after is, in my opinion, not being fair to them or being a good parent.
 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 7
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 9:34:20 AM

Are you serious? You have to stretch? Why are you bringing up the negatives at the end of a relationship? We all look at the end of a relationship differently than the beginning.

You seem to be quite jaded...


Actually, I'm beyond jaded.... I just can't think of a better term to describe it...

I don't discuss my relationship with the boys' mother with my sons in any detailed way especially the ending of it. They get a sterilized, unemotional version.

But, no, I really can't remember any of the good stuff with any fondness. I think when she told me in no uncertain terms that she'd never really felt any love for me and that there was nothing good about our time together that that tainted any positive memories I had of that time.....

A few other longish term relationships (1-2 years) I've had also ended rather badly as well, so yeah, I'd really have to stretch for good stuff....

... but it's not like I don't get that there is good stuff that other people have taken away from their experiences and I do hope my sons find some of those things....


While you cannot prevent your kids from making the same mistakes, you can still give them advice about what you did wrong and still give them positive attitudes towards long term relationships.


Yup.

 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 8
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 9:35:38 AM

Captain, I have a daughter and I think the best thing I can do for her is teach her to respect other people.


Yup.... that's one thing that I think the ex and I have done well.

 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 9
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 9:44:10 AM


I will of course be far more vocal on the subject of safe sex and pregnancy prevention if I sense it is warranted; and probably even if I don't sense that.....


Beyond that however, it is not for me to directly try to influence their life's path. What they see, hear and experience and how they process it is for them to find their way on. These things should not be "taught" IMHO. The best possible way to "learn" about life is to experience it and make your own choices, right and/or 'wrong'.


I agree with pretty well everything you say, meplus, but a big part of the quandary I feel is kind of like the seeming contradiction of the two statements above.

On one hand you are saying that you WILL attempt to influence your kids about a choice that could have a profound, possibly negative, impact on their lives and on the other hand you state that you will take a more laissez-faire approach to relationships which will ALSO have profound, possibly negative, impacts on their lives.

We don't tell our kids it's ok to play in traffic, smoke crack, quit school, or have sex without protection without saying something, influencing their choices, in effect...

.... are we not being remiss in not pointing out the negative aspects of relationships?

Maybe not, but somehow I just can't reconcile that for me, yet....

 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 10
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 9:48:34 AM

i just hope you are cilvilized with your wife
hopefully you have joint custody


We get along ok now though if it's not about the kids, we don't talk. We don't share our personal lives.

The kids live with me 50% of the time.


 bernta
Joined: 9/3/2007
Msg: 11
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 9:58:06 AM

We get along ok now though if it's not about the kids, we don't talk.


Seances???
 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 12
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 10:05:23 AM

Seances???


We tried that, but one of the other of us always ended up possessed by some horrible demon....

 pocketlisting808
Joined: 1/12/2009
Msg: 13
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 10:53:23 AM
I can only tell you that what I had been taught by my parents did not serve me well.
What I have learned is that you cannot control what the other person is or will do therefore you must be true to yourself. The times I have gotten in trouble relationshipwise is when I forgot or ignored that lesson.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 14
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/7/2009 11:47:18 AM
Great post resident cynic harboring a smidge of hope.

Your last point about the lack of information from your parents is exactly why I have been talking with all three of my children about relationships for years, so they would have a clue when they started dating themselves and considering people as long-term partners. I was in your shoes as well, neither of my parents ever talked to me about dating or anything else. And honestly, I don't now if the relationship conversations happened because the subject came up or because we were discussing my relationship with their dad. I do know that I often take the time to rehash these things when they tell me about something going on with a friend, or we see a family somewhere acting weird or whatever.

I too wonder about their success and the pitfalls with the examples they lived with and I have told my daughter and my sons, if you don't see yourself married to this guy/gal with kids, don't date him/her. This may sound stupid but we cannot control who we fall for and many bona fide adults over the age of 25 do not have the where-with-all to walk away from someone they know they shouldn't be with when they love him/her. Why put yourself in that position, so the guy or girl who doesn't apply themselves in school, who is not involved in extra-curricular activities, who is partying all the time, who doesn't give a damn about anything or anyone, is disrespectful to his/her parents or other adults, is probably someone they don't want in their lives. Now certainly many people outgrow these behaviors and become productive adults but more often, those individuals that are doing the things to promote a successful future now will have one.

I have told them when they do date, to expect certain behaviors, my daughter is expected to have anyone she wishes to date meet me, I'll kill her myself if she ever goes running out to a vehicle if the guy doesn't have the courtesy to come to the door and is dumb enough to honk the horn, etc. For my boys, I let them know that they should be gentlemen and courteous but to expect reciprocal behavior from the girls/women they date, none of them should put up with poor treatment from people. That is not to say that they shouldn't understand that everyone has a bad day and people do have disagreements and there is a difference between occasionally being a poop and that being a significant component of your nature.

I've told them about a friend who is after 13 years and three children still happily married but the first couple of years, oy. They had a baby before they married, and another two years later, with financial stress, etc. they fought relatively frequently. She would call me and we would get down to she supposedly wanted to bail, and I would ask her, are you doing it because you really can't stand the man or because you are hoping that there is someone better out there? Because if it is the latter, you have some things to consider like the good father he is, yada, yada. Now, they still have a row now and again but they do enjoy each other's company, have been good parents both involved and united on that front, and several years later she told me that she would call me because she knew I would talk her down when other people she knew would have advised her to walk.

I have told my kids to pay attention to how a boy treats his mother, how his father or stepfather treats his mother or significant other. Same family dynamics for a girl's family. While people can reject the models they are shown by parents, this is often quite difficult to do so better to find someone that comes from a happy, respectful home. For my daughter, whether a boy seems good around children because he is more likely to be a helpful, engaged, hands-on father should a relationship ever progress that far.

I have taught all three that they should wait until they are mature enough to have sex but only they can decide when that is right for them. I hope that they all have sex because it is part of a loving relationship and a progression of their feelings. For my daughter, that she wants to, not because she feels pressured, is afraid he will leave her or to make him happy rather than because she really wants to. For my boys, I have told them that they really should do more than listen for a no, try to make sure that it is really what the girl wants. I will skin both of them alive if I ever find out they are banging multiple women just to be adding notches to the bedpost. My daughter believes that until she is ready to have a baby, she shouldn't have sex because there is nothing that is 100% guaranteed no matter how careful one is. My boys similarly have seen their 30-year-old brother produce 7 kids with an idiot for a wife and their cousins having babies or siring them when they are 17 or 18. By 23, one of their cousins already had three kids with an ex-husband that had spent more time during their marriage in prison for DUI than out; oh, and she got married at 16, sigh.

I have talked to them about marriage and the many questions I did not ask myself about children, money, conflict resolution, faith, planning for the future, and other things that people have problems with in relationships. We have also discussed the number of good relationships we know about, which as you said, are very few and far between. I wish you had spoken with those people because I think that while they are happy, things are not happy all the time and most couples have experienced significant rough patches along the way and probably love each other more for getting through it.

We have also talked about the stupidity in remaining in relationships because you have invested too much time to leave, or because you choose to see the good qualities and ignore what is clearly staring you in the face. We have discussed why relationships I have been in have ended, why I think I married their father who turned out to be an exceedingly poor husband and father, the latter a surprise given how he behaved with and about my stepson. We have discussed why if things are rocky in the beginning, it is better to end them because the likelihood that things will get better rather than worse is very slim. I think they get the balance required to really try to make a relationship work without wasting energy on something that never had a prayer to begin with.

All three of my kids are leery of relationships because they have seen one heck of a lot of bad but they have all learned things from watching other people, particularly my boys about the way men can choose to behave differently from what they have seen from their father. My daughter also has her own opinions and will manage her dating/love life differently from the way I have but she also values my opinion and I think all three of my children will likely talk with me as they already do relative to relationships. They seem to be making good choices, even my youngest who was dating someone we all wanted to see go away, I made sure he stayed involved in sports, with his friends, and he fairly quickly broke up with her because she was treating him poorly.

I think the more information you give your children, honest information that includes both the realities of the problems as well as the hope that love can last a lifetime if you choose wisely, they will navigate dating and marriage as successfully as one could hope. There are no guarantees, I have seen people do a Jekyll/Hyde thing after marriage and there are certainly marriages that are good but crumble under personal tragedy but I think again with the right partner, happiness forever is possible. but I would also caution my children that even in good marriages, people can grow apart and perhaps who they thought was the right one, really wasn't the one to be with them forever and that is okay too.

I think if I had some over-arching advice to give them it is that if they make decent choices, even when relationships do not work, the pain is not excruciating when you can honestly just say that you were not suited, when there has not been significant ugliness, jealousy, and all of the other things that propel two loving people to a stance of hate. I think even when a marriage ends in divorce and when children are involved, there are such things as amicable divorces and positive co-parenting and again, if you choose the right person, he/she will think of the children and remember the love that you once did share and act accordingly.

What would really break my heart is if they found themselves adopting the attitude of a cynic and staying on the sidelines because they are afraid or don't believe that a happy healthy relationship is possible. I would rather see them hurt I think than for them to harden their hearts.


No matter what has happened to me in life, I will not influence my children in their personal lives when it comes to dating. That is after they turn 18 and presumed to have magically acquired enough intelligence and skills to handle theirs lives as required. Of course I will offer some guidance, but will hover in the background until I get the SOS flag.

Given that psychologists/neurologists indicate that the person's cognitive development is not complete until 25 and that it is much harder to deal with a problem than help to prevent it, I would have to say I totally disagree with this position unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying. I don't consider my life experience as somehow coloring how they might behave because we have discussed exactly what I knew about their dad, what I didn't know, what I chose to overlook and what I didn't really understand, so I don't really have to tell them anything.

I won't "tell" my kids they should or shouldn't do anything but depending on their age and their potential response, I will make comments that hopefully lead them in the right direction. I could not stand the girl my youngest was seeing but I also felt that forbidding it would result in him potentially doing it behind my back and his not telling me in the future when he does have a girlfriend and I expect my boys to bring a girl home just as I expect my daughter's dates to meet me. Many people were appalled because the kid was 10, the girlfriend 13 but I felt it was better for him to keep seeing her under my supervision than to lose the opportunity for future input in this area. For an older kid, what guidance I would give would probably depend on the kid and how intense the feelings are. Even if you know from the get go that someone is a huge mistake, if the kid is gaga, they aren't going to listen so you try to help put the brakes on things and pray that the cracks start showing up pretty quickly; they usually do.
 Capitano_Blaugh
Joined: 3/18/2008
Msg: 15
What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/8/2009 7:08:39 AM

Given that psychologists/neurologists indicate that the person's cognitive development is not complete until 25 and that it is much harder to deal with a problem than help to prevent it...


I think this is a really important bit.

While I realize that my kids will do whatever the hell they are going to do despite my incredible wisdom and sage advice, I do, and will continue to, stress getting all their ducks in a row before they consider getting into any sort of serious relationship. The later, the better as far as I'm concerned...

... details like never living with your S.O. and getting an iron-clad pre-nup if all else fails will come later...

 ohwhynot46
Joined: 6/28/2009
Msg: 16
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/8/2009 9:24:33 PM
OMG! I'm sooooo happy to see you here, slingdad (even if you don't know who I am!!) and OP, I was happy to see this topic brought up, as I really struggle with this. I have to say, though, that I adhere to the notion that your children do what they see you do, rather than listen to what you say. Having two daughters near dating age, I feel pressure to be the ultimate role model! I admit I deal by never letting them come in contact with anyone I date, and as a result, don't date much!

When we speak about it, I tend to speak in "mommyisms", and tell them to pick the one who tells you you're beautiful rather than the one who tells you you're hot, I tell them to choose the guy who calls you back after you've hung up on him. I tell them things of a more personal nature about the relationship between their father and me, about how people change, and how sometimes things just happen, despite YOU. I believe that the relationship between you and you is the most important, and if I can guide them to a place where they are happy with themselves, they'll be able to deal with their interpersonal relationships in a healthy way.

The truth is, you never really know how much you've taught your kids. You have to do what feels right for you.
 ItsMargo
Joined: 4/24/2007
Msg: 17
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/8/2009 10:38:04 PM
My daughter told me a while back that she had been watching me carefully and figured she wasn't going to make the same mistakes I had cuz she is much smarter than me.

She may even be right.

We talk. We talk a lot and I look for the "Montessori moments".

When she was a little kid, I told her to try food and, if she didn't like it, remember that her taste buds would change over the years and to try it again from time to time. She recently told me she's noticed 'the food rule' applies to people too.

I've told her no one is perfect; we all have our flaws and our greatness and as near as I can tell, the secret to life is to give space to their flaws and enjoy their greatness.

I've used hockey as life - you get sent to the box for a transgression, and sometimes it's a bad call and sometimes it's good, but either way, you hit 'reset', shake it off and go back at it.

From our talks, I'd say she has a pretty clear idea of who she is right now, understands that who she is now isn't necessarily going to be where she'll be at 25 when her brain finishes with the white matter (yep we talked about that too) - and she seems to see other people fairly clearly as well. She's got pretty good communication skills and, for a teen, is great at identifying and solving problems.

I figure if she has the basis to navigate the speed bumps in life she's as prepared as I can have her.
 freetime2bme
Joined: 1/16/2006
Msg: 18
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/9/2009 4:46:37 AM
What do you teach your kids about relationships?

Guys (Dad included) would rather be in a relationship with someone who looks really good in a swim suit then someone who only looks average in a swim suit. Girls do too. You don't need to be in a serious relationship to be happy. Karma, the golden rule, what goes around comes around; if you treat people right even if a relationship ends you can still be friends.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 19
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/9/2009 8:49:02 AM

I have to say, though, that I adhere to the notion that your children do what they see you do, rather than listen to what you say. Having two daughters near dating age, I feel pressure to be the ultimate role model! I admit I deal by never letting them come in contact with anyone I date, and as a result, don't date much!

And as a result, provide them with no model good or bad.
 ohwhynot46
Joined: 6/28/2009
Msg: 20
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What do you teach your kids about relationships?
Posted: 9/12/2009 8:25:21 PM
While I might agree that I have gone a bit overboard as far as not being comfortable with my girls seeing me date, I disagree that, by not doing so, I provide them no role model at all! They see, on a daily basis, that loving oneself, being happy & feeling complete is possible, without "needing" someone else. They see that they can make it on their own. They see that one does not ever have to settle, just so they won't be alone.

Besides, there is so much more to modeling life for your children than the dating aspect. There are many relationships we model for our children. The value we place on our relationship with ourselves and our children is just as important, don't you think?
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