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Richard O. Jones

Many parents are uneasy talking to their teen about dating. However that was not my experience as a widower and single father with four daughters during the 1980s and 90s while residing in Los Angeles.  Fortunately, my three of my daughters made it through high school and college without much distraction. However, my oldest daughter had a legal abortion while a high school senior, which was over and done with before I even heard about it. This caused me to become more strict and attentive to her three younger sisters. With the oldest, I was a little loose because I wanted to be a cool dad. At twelve or thirteen she was allowed to have boys over.

By the age of 14-years-old, I allowed her to date. By the time she was fifteen, she was the victim of a date rape. This taught be a lesson. I began to restrict her dating, which resulted in her sneaking out to date. Ultimately, she had an early pregnancy and received a non-parental consent abortion through the public health department. Eventually, she finished high, experienced two years of college and is a productive 36-year-old single woman today.

My younger daughters, who are from four to seven years younger than their oldest sister, received a different set of dating guidelines from me. None of my three younger daughters had the difficulties of their big sister. They all finished college with a Master's Degree. The youngest is married with two children and the other two are single professional women with no children.

I told my younger daughters that dating should be reserved until they were at least finished high school. The reason for this logic is because dating is a precursor to premarital sex at most and the flirtation with temptation at the least. The purpose of going to high school is to become educated. Dating is a distraction from your educational objective. When many teenager daughters become interested in dating, they did so with group dating. That is to say a group of friends went out together. These type dates are safer and not focused on personal intimate relationships. When girls become obsessed with personal dating they spend as much or more time in the mirror and worries over hair and make-up as they do on their academics. This is a major distraction.

The only boys that were allowed to visit my younger three girls through the week were for academic study groups. I insisted on seeing the boys report cards and/or weekly progress report to make sure that he was a good student academically and could benefit my daughter by working with the study group. Sometimes I would quiz the boys on certain subjects to test their intelligence and seriousness regarding school. When academic impostors were detected they were asked to leave my house.

Email: richardojones1@verizon.net