The smell of cologne hits your nose as you walk past his bedroom. The usual machine-gun fire of his favourite video game no longer pervades your ears. Instead, you hear your son singing a song to himself, something that hasn’t happened since you heard him practicing for his final assembly at primary school. Then his door opens and out steps this immaculately dressed young man, far different to the boy’s usual appearance of ripped jeans, shabby t-shirt, and unkempt hair.
It’s then that you realise what is going on. Your son has a girlfriend!
Your first reaction is a positive one. Perhaps now you will finally get some me-time. Your second reaction is help, my baby boy is leaving me for another woman! Still, your boy isn’t in short pants anymore, and this is one inevitability you are going to have to deal with.
Of course, your role as a mum isn’t over yet. It’s time to give your son some relationship advice; sages of wisdom such as these.
#1: She might not be the one
Some boys get their hopes pinned to ‘the one.’ They fall head over heels in love with the first girl who says ‘yes’ to their relationship advances. And while she might be the one, it might be that she isn’t, so without crushing your son’s dreams entirely, remind him to be realistic. Remind him to have fun in the relationship without getting too serious at the beginning. Let him know that he shouldn’t get overly possessive, as she might not have the same feelings that he does. By giving him a sensible perspective, he might not feel as if his world has just shattered into a thousand pieces should the relationship come to an end later.
#2: You don’t have to pay for her heart
There will be a day when money will come into the equation. You will be encouraging your son to spend some of his money on gifts for his beloved, and not only on the things he wants for himself. You will one day remind your son that your lovely bride deserves a gorgeous engagement ring when he lets you know that he intends to propose. But early on in the relationship? Money doesn’t have to come into the equation at all, and if his girlfriend expects your son to pay his way into her heart, then she is probably a gold digger in waiting. Let him know that love is about more than money then, and that such things as honesty, respect, and companionship matter more. This way, he won’t bankrupt himself trying to get his girlfriend to stick around, and he won’t bankrupt you when he later asks for hand-outs after running out of his own money.
#3: Treat her as a person and not as somebody you own
Some boys treat their girlfriends as status symbols. Walking hand in hand with them is akin to driving around in a fancy BMW or owning the smartest phone on the planet. Contrary to the other points on this list then, your son might not have many loving feelings towards his girlfriend at all. Instead, she might be a ‘thing’ to brag about and to show off to his friends. And she might be evidence that he has proven his credentials as ‘a man.’ Should you pick up on this, you need to remind your son about that word we used in our last point, respect! Let him know that his girlfriend is a human being, with feelings and emotions that need to be considered. Tell him to date her for the right reasons, and not out of any desire to ‘prove himself’ to others. And suggest that he waits for another girl to come along if he isn’t dating his current girlfriend for the right reasons.
#4: Don’t let your hormones take over
Sex doesn’t have to be an inevitability in every relationship, and this is something your son needs to hear. If he is underage, you obviously need to warn him against it, but even if he is of age, you should still remind him that he doesn’t have to engage in a sexual relationship. Let him know that there are consequences to do doing so, and becoming a father when he isn’t ready for the responsibility is just one of them. Talk to him about consent too, with reminders that both he and the girlfriend need to be on the same page when it comes to any kind of physical contact. By talking to your teenage son about sex, despite it being uncomfortable for both of you, he might then make the sensible decisions in his relationship.
So, be sure to sit down with your son and have these relationship conversations. With a little bit of wisdom imparted, your son will hopefully make a success of his relationships and will make fewer mistakes within them. You will also have greater peace of mind when he walks out of your front door to meet the girls in question.
What advice would you give your teenage son? Let us know in the comments below.