3 Questions to Ask Your Son Before He Starts Dating

3 Questions to Ask Your Son Before He Starts Dating

A couple months ago, my wife and I were shocked to discover that, unbeknownst to us, our son had his first girlfriend. An eighth-grader, he had previously shown no interest whatsoever in dating. He talks about soccer and Destiny 2 and camping trips, but never girls. Yet sure enough, we scrolled through his text messages and discovered a thread we were not prepared for: an unknown number asked on behalf of a girl who sits next to him in band class what he would say if the girl who plays trumpet in the fifth chair asked him out.

He said, “Sure.”

This is how middle school relationship start. In fact, it’s apparently how they are maintained as well. Evan’s iMessage stream is a steady dose of mutual friends texting as third parties to intervene:

  • “Are you mad at her?”
  • “You should call her.”
  • “She wants to know why you didn’t call her.”
  • “She wants you to bring her some chocolate.”

As a father, I had hoped to hold my kids off from dating until they were well into their high school career, at the earliest. Middle school dating is silly and largely pointless. Nevertheless, I also recognize it as a coming-of-age ritual. He’ll learn, he’ll grow, and hopefully he won’t make too many bone-headed mistakes along the way. Most importantly, I hope he doesn't compromise himself or anyone else during this process of discovery.

While I once thought I would have hard-and-fast rules for my kids about dating, I’m now more interested in having conversations with them. At this point, I figure I'll be more effective helping them navigate relationships and situations rather than trying to prevent them altogether. This is new territory for my wife and I as parents. In an effort to help myself cope with the fact that I know nothing about parenting teenagers - and perhaps to help you if you find yourself on the same journey - I've decided to document some thoughts. Here are three important questions you can ask your middle-school son to help him know if he’s ready to start dating:

How I Found God In Kesha's High Note

How I Found God In Kesha's High Note

Kesha's back, y'all.

Now there's a sentence I never thought I would say. And it's certainly not one I ever thought I would enjoy saying. But, well, she's back...and we are all better for it.

The pop starlet has spent the last five years in record deal purgatory, essentially held captive by production mogul Dr. Luke and his record company. Accusations and denials of all kinds of abuse swirled, but in the end it was Kesha whose dreams were shattered and whose life hit rock bottom. It appeared to most that she would never again resurface, at least not in any way meaningful to the music industry.

Now here's my admission: I've never been a Kesha fan. Her pop-dance tunes, the latest of which, Tik Tok, was released some seven years ago, were nothing special. Her "bad girl," hyper-sexualized image came across as altogether too much - a sad gimmick. And probably it was.

But now, Kesha is back. Her new single – the first in half a decade – dropped last week. Entitled Praying, it's a song that shows emotional growth, personal healing, and, oh yeah, a vocal range that would leave Mariah Carey feeling a little verklempt

We often mark our lives by a series of defining moments – decisions or experiences that somehow encapsulate both the past and the future all in one present moment. For Kesha, dare I say, her defining moment comes at the 4:21 mark.

Symbiosis: How Foster Care Saved My Life

Symbiosis: How Foster Care Saved My Life

I was a bundle of nerves walking into the NICU. Our youngest child, Elysia, is ten years old, which means it had been a full decade since I had held a newborn baby. Miggy was a tiny thing, still hooked up to wires in his little plastic tub-on-wheels. Carrie The Nurse was every bit as gracious and helpful as Erica had described. I fumbled to keep the wires straight as I picked the baby up for the first time; Carrie untangled them with a smile. She walked me through a refresher course on diaper changing and explained pleasantly the way she tracks his eating habits and bowel movements. The whole thing was felt awkward and perfect.