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Top Talker:
What Do You Think Of
“Rules For Dating My Son/Daughter”?

You’ve probably seen these two pictures making the rounds on social media. When you click on the pictures, you probably think, “Okay, this seems cool. I do have rules when it comes to my kids dating.” The parents who don’t have rules may as well invite Trouble over, start feeding it, and give it a room in the basement. Rules can make a household run smoothly, right?

Yep.

Until you read these rules. On the surface, they seem pretty cute. They sound like how any parent feels when it comes to their children. Our kids are precious commodities to each one of us and our lives serve to protect theirs. Our daughters are princesses and our sons are gentlemen.

However, these rules are creepy. Both lists suggest that the parents are full of rage. They imply bodily harm to anyone who dares to date Precious Child. They reference what will happen to the girl or boy who engages in any type of sexual activity with Precious Child.

Related: Ask The Good Enough Guy: Dating And Desperation

One of the problems with both lists is that they put the onus of responsibility on the significant other and they don’t bother to look at Precious Child. Is it possible that PC is the one initiating sexual activity? Could PC be the one lying to his/her parent? Perhaps PC is the one who shouldn’t be trusted.

The idea of “mama’s boys” and “daddy’s girls” is really cute—when kids are little. Not so much when they’re on the cusp of adulthood. Mama’s boys and daddy’s girls can’t participate in functional, adult relationships because the parent is always an invisible part of it. There’s always the dynamic of PC needing mommy and daddy to swoop down and take care of his or her problems.

Where is the respect for either party in these rules? Surely, the parents who think these rules are brilliant are raising their sons and daughters to make good choices in partners. If PC chooses questionable people to date, that is a product of one of two things: a failure of parenting or PC making his or her own choices. Either way, the problem isn’t the significant other.

When I was in college, I dated someone my father found so reprehensible, he wouldn’t allow him in the house. My father had very good reasons for not liking this guy, but he dealt directly with me. That’s something that’s missing in these rules—the need for parents to talk to their own children about their life choices. My father could have threatened the guy (I’m sure he wanted to), but what good would have come out of that? I picked him.

Don’t even get me started on jail. Both sets of rules reference it as in, “I know how to avoid it.” Yeah, we all do. It’s called “not breaking the law.”

Related: Our Story Begins: Dad’s Dating AND Raising Kids? Yep.. And Here’s Why.

These rules are great for parents who want their children to live in their basements while their peers are holding down jobs and having children of their own. I get that this is supposed to be a joke. Believe me, I have a sense of humor that ranges from sophomoric to highbrow. But these rules speak to an ugly side of parenting and the results aren’t so funny.

That’s my take. What do you think? Are these rules just harmless fun or something else? Share your thoughts below.

 picmonkey alexis

Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is managing editor of Good Enough Mother. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5. You can email her at alexis [at] goodenoughmother [dot] com.