Most of us didn’t start dating in grade school, at least we didn’t date in the conventional sense.
Yes, there may have been the occasional kiss on the cheek, the innocent game of doctor, or the “going out” with a guy or girl that involved constantly ignoring each other until you sent a friend to instigate the breakup on your behalf. But, most of us didn’t get interested in true dating until high school or later.
But, even though grade school and, specifically, kindergarten aren’t places where we learned how to be romantic, or the importance of fidelity, they still served as places where we learned a thing or two about dating, as well as how to repair a broken relationship.
We learned all we’ve ever needed to know without realizing it!
1. Honesty Rules, Lying Drools
Relationships are no places for lying. There are a few reasons for this, the most important one being that when people lie, others get hurt. The other factor is that the truth is like so many men who know fashion: it always comes out.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Mean
Kids have a unique ability to say whatever is on their mind: of course, they get away with it because they are cute. But, once that cuteness has worn off, we must hold our tongues much more often. Still, a relationship is no place for tongue holding (do other things with your tongue instead): you should be upfront with your partner, unafraid to express your wants, your desires, and your vulnerabilities.
3. Glue is Important, Even If It’s Not a Food Group
Literal glue might not be all that important to those in a relationship, unless you have a fetish for having sex on top of collages, but proverbial glue is highly important. There has to be something, some factor, that holds two people together. This can be something as simple as a hobby or an interest, but it’s much better if it’s something that is at your very soul, such as values or direction in life.
4. Confidence is Attractive
Kids in kindergarten are beyond confident: they all genuinely believe they will be the next U.S President, the next Peyton Manning, or the next Katniss (or they believe they’ll be all three). It’s rare to find an adult with this kind of self-assurance, but confidence is still attractive. This isn’t to say you need to be arrogant or unrealistic, but give yourself a break, realize we are all imperfect, and capitalize on your strengths. Trust me, you have lots of them.
5. Always Share and Take Turns
Of all the lessons that we learn in kindergarten, sharing and taking turns is the one that is pretty much shoved down our throats like stale cafeteria food. In a relationship, sharing and taking turns retains this kind of importance. Relationships are two way streets with lots of give and take: support, acceptance, understanding, and giving all go both ways. If they only go one way, you’ll drive right into a dead end.
6. I Comes Before U
I comes before U in the alphabet (that’s right, I ACED kindergarten), and, in some ways, it does in relationships as well. This isn’t to say that you should always put yourself ahead of your partner; instead it’s to say that people in a relationship need to concentrate on I before they concentrate on U. They need to work on their individual hang-ups, the demons from their past, and the problems that they are bringing to the table. People must repair themselves or risk remaining broken.
7. We All Have Cooties:
We may not have the cooties we had in kindergarten – the one-eyed, fuzzy creatures living in the hair of the opposite sex and only limited by a child’s imagination – but we still have cooties nonetheless: everyone has some sort of flaw. The whole point of love, however, is to look past the cooties and get to the goodies.
Although our kindergarten selves had no idea what they were preparing for, we have to give them credit. If we just kept the skills we learned when we were kids, maybe we would have more confident and less complicated relationships. Relationships where we can enjoy ourselves and each other uninhibited. Who would have thought as a child we knew more about dating than as an adult!?
Are you looking in all the wrong places for your special someone?
A few years ago, my then-current boyfriend asked me if I would ever hit on him at a bar. Meaning, if we were both single, would I approach him. I laughed a little, turned my nose up some too, and told him that I wouldn’t pick up guys at a bar. (I actually met this boyfriend online.)
And it got me thinking about where I would actually pick up a guy if I was single. A few ideas ran through my mind, such as the library, a college class, hiking trail, coffee shop or maybe the grocery store. But the bar? No way.
Does that mean that I would automatically dismiss every guy that approaches me at a bar? Not exactly. What I wouldn’t do is go into a bar hoping to find romance.
It’s all about knowing yourself and honing in on what you love to do, because a compatible man or woman will most likely be at the same places that you hang out. In college, I was involved in many of the bar scenes, but it wasn’t really my thing. Not to say I didn’t meet a few friendly guys, but there was nothing long term crossing my path.
So I answered my then-current boyfriends question and told him where I’d rather pick up guys.
Bars are normally for one night stands and fun flings, and if you’re looking for a long term relationship, the bar is not where you want to be.
Imagine your perfect mate. Now imagine that you’re already in a long term relationship with them and living together. What would the two of you do on the weekends for fun? Are you going to some local concerts? Staying in and watching Netflix? Or maybe heading out to dinner in your best attire? Whatever comes to mind, that’s probably where you need to be looking for your mate. If you’re a homebody, try some online dating. If you love going out, grab some girlfriends and make it happen.
When you let your true self shine, you attract others that love your qualities. Think about your current lifestyle. Are you spending too much time at home when you really wish you could spend more time out socializing? Are you letting your girlfriends drag you out to the bar every night when it really just bores you to tears? Are you unhappy with your job and you’ve been thinking of going back to school?
What are you doing right now that isn’t the real you?
How much time are you spending on yourself, making sure that your needs are taken care of? There have been times in my life where I have been so focused on finding my other half that I neglected myself entirely. I spent too much time looking in all the wrong places, while my other half was right where I needed to be.
So go out there and be yourself, do what you love, and you’ll find the people that match you on a soul level.
Your teenage daughter has been spending tons of time on her phone, talking to someone you and have no idea who it is.
Shortly afterwards, say a week or so later, she says she has a date. And you start to panic, questions loom over, how are you feeling about this?
Are you ready for this chapter of your life?
Isn’t it too soon?
Except, with these questions, you are asking yourself and not asking her! Granted, watching your teen start that dating phase in their lives can be such an emotional roller coaster.
It is more of you, the parent, panicking over so many things about dating than your teen him/ herself.
Nothing can ever stop some things in nature from taking place, but the advantage is, you can prepare, psychologically and mentally, when your little baby feels all grown up and they want to experience different phases of life and they start liking other people romantically.
Here are a few ways to prepare yourself and the kids for dating.
One way to ease the transition from childhood to teenage-hood and later on dating, yes….sounds a little cliché but it’s the only way, is to communicate.
Parents who have great relationships with their kids did not just come overnight, it came as a result of a lot of work on the communication bit.
If you have a daughter, you could for instance, start talking to her about changes she will see in her body.
You can talk about menstruation, wearing of bras, hairs growing here and there. If you have a boy, take interest in what he likes when you talk about, try to talk to him about his growth spurt and what he will be experiencing.
This is supposed to remove the awkwardness that comes with such topics and your kid will feel a little freer with you.
Everyone wants to have a cool parent who they feel they can talk to about almost anything!
Try to be social with their new love interest
When you see that your kid is starting to take romantic interest in someone, you could ask them if they’d like to invite your friend over.
This is a great ice breaker, because you get to see who your child is spending so much time talking to and also, once your teen sees that you have acknowledged their new love interest’s existence, they will feel more at ease to talk to you about them every so often.
The birds and the bees……and the disease.
It also goes without saying that once your teen starts dating it is a good thing to have the birds and the bees talk.
Not everyone likes this one, I’m not sure anyone likes this at all, but safety is important and it is good that you teach your teen the importance of safety.
They may not feel comfortable at first, but they will later on realize that you, their parent, are looking out for their safety, their health and their future.
This is one of the most important ways on how to prepare yourself and the kids for dating.
Another way to introduce yourself and your teen into dating is by having chaperoned dates.
This is however, highly dependent on how old your kid is. If s/he is 17, chaperoning may not be essential, but if they are still young, about 14 or 15, then you can take this into consideration.
This sounds a bit off, but it’s a great way to keep an eye on your teen. Granted, they will feel like you don’t trust them, that you are intruding in their privacy, but explain to them that you are taking a step at a time, and that afterwards, they can be able to go on dates on their own.
You will also have time to get comfortable with the idea of your teen dating and consequently trusting them enough to be on their own.
Another extremely effective way on how to prepare yourself and the kids for dating, especially in this time and age, is to use social media.
You can use the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to show them good and bad examples of relationships.
Kids attach a lot of learning to social media and TV, so these can be good teaching tools if used correctly. On the flip side, they can aid you as the parent to learn modern ways of dating.
Granted, the what hasn’t changed from your time, but the how certainly has. It would be a great bonus to learn how to walk your child and yourself through modern dating.
Lastly but not least, let them know that their school grades still matter. They should also put as much effort on their school work as they usually have and not to get too distracted with their relationship.
What can you tell us?
Share your experience.
Do you want to be happy? If you’re like most people, you do, and you read every article you come across that promises the easiest, best, most effective way to find happiness, and provides an exact recipe or template that will work for everyone.
The truth, darling, is that there is no cookie-cutter approach to finding happiness because each of us in this world is unique. Likewise, there is no overnight success formula to improve our relationships, and there’s no magic pill that, when taken, will give us the power to shed the masks we wear in order to seem perfect.
What I’m trying to say, darling, is that the key to becoming the amazing creatures we were born to be doesn’t come from a bottle, even though so many of us wish that it did.
Here’s a piece of my story:
From the outside, most people believed my marriage was picture perfect. We had the house, the two beautiful kids (even if they were rowdy, they were smart), and a big beautiful show dog. I was thinner than I had been in a decade and my (then) husband had recently lost 200 pounds. We worked, went to the gym, and celebrated the birthdays of our (gym) friends over lunch. In truth, the only time we really spent together was midnight to 6 am while we slept. And trust me, no matter how much I begged, there was no sex or any level of affection.
In addition to counting every calorie that passed over my lips, I constantly did everything I could to numb the ache of loneliness and the gut knowledge that I wasn’t on the right path. I drank more calories than I ate in a typical day and thrived on the only excitement in my life: work.
I SPENT MOST OF MY ENERGY WALKING ON EGGSHELLS AND TRYING TO AVOID MIRRORS.
Being a mother was harder than I imagined and my husband regularly told me what a shitty job I was doing because the girls weren’t being served gourmet meals in a spotless house. I was also a failure at being a mother because the girls didn’t get perfect conduct grades, which obviously was a reflection of their terrible fate at having me as their mother.
In the few quiet moments between the kids going to bed and the time he got home, I got tiny inklings of a voice that told me that I deserved a different life.
THAT I WAS WORTH BEING LOVED. THAT I DESERVED TO BE HAPPY. THAT THERE WAS MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I began a ten-year personal journey that began with one decision: I chose to stop going through the motions of a “perfect” life, and take control of who I really was, and what I wanted to create in the world.
As I made the transformation from Unhappy Wife, to Divorcee in Flux, to the person I am today, I learned that I didn’t have to be perfect in order to live a life that I loved. I learned how to see the beauty in everyday living, and not just exist, but really thrive.
I LEARNED THAT NOT ONLY DO I – AS ALL WOMEN DO – HAVE AN INNER SEX KITTEN, BUT THAT SHE HAS A MIGHTY ROAR.
I also learned that I wanted to help other women facilitate their own journeys, their own transformations. I knew it had to include universal truths, but also allow for the vagaries of life and human nature. It was a tall order – a scary goal – to create this sort of offering to the world, but I knew it was possible.
I KNEW IT, BECAUSE I HAD LIVED IT.
Little by little, life shifted. I would take a couple of baby steps in the direction that my heart called and often a step back. I began to learn that I didn’t have to live by the rules of others if it didn’t sit well within my own soul.
Today, I live with my partner JB in our home in Ohio. We have a lovely little life that’s supportive and nurturing. I am certainly loved and always desired. I am always learning new things and growing more and more into who I am meant to be in this world. To be totally honest: when I was a little girl and imagined what being a grown-up was like? This daily life is better than those dreams.
My daughters each are following their path and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about motherhood, I know I’ve succeeded. My daughters are independent, strong willed, and have created lives that suit them. They are also brave, funny, and love their lives.
I went from being a miserable bitch and feeling like I was this dumpy discarded person that no one wanted into the best version of what I dreamed I could be. A woman that is confident in her own skin. A woman that is joyful and happy. A woman that knows that life will continue to get better.
I unleashed my inner sex kitten to discover the person I was born to be. A bright and shiny woman deserving of being loved, belonging, and worth her own love and affection.