General Question

jca's avatar

Do you think it's a good idea for a mother of a teenage son to advise the son not to date girls, and just concentrate on school?

Asked by jca (36043points) September 30th, 2010

A very good friend of mine told me she told her 17 year old son that he should not date girls, he should just concentrate on his schooling. To me it seems controlling, however, I am just curious if other people think what she told him is good advice?

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48 Answers

Seek's avatar

This kind of parenting is begging for a teen pregnancy.

I mean, I’m all about encouraging the kid to focus on school but ordering them not to date is asking for rebellion.

cockswain's avatar

Only if the boy already has one or two children.

kenmc's avatar

He’ll probably try to date more.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It depends entirely on the individual son – how is he doing in school (probably much better advice if he’s getting D’s and F’s than if he’s getting A’s), does he socialize well, is there a certain girl she’s trying to keep him away from, etc.

Also, is she flat-out forbidding dating, or simply saying that school/homework require x number of hours a day, and a healthy relationship with a girlfriend will take y hours a day, and x + y>24?

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think it’s good advice, but it’s about as practical as thinking you can tell mold not to grow on bread. In most teenagers, hormones rule and parents are considered to be stupid.. I can’t imagine many teenagers would listen.

Not only that, but if the whole ‘Catholic schoolgirls gone wild” phenomenon hasn’t proved anything by now, repressing your children’s sexuality just leads to copious fornication and wild behavior when they go out in the world.

DeanV's avatar

I don’t think that’s a good idea at all. You have to put the foot in the water at least, otherwise most people would lack balance in their life.

To me, it sounds like when parents take don’t let their children eat candy and the kid grows up to be a 300 pound diabetic.

Mista_Reflexivity's avatar

Yes; it’s the best advice.

wundayatta's avatar

I mighty encourage my son to focus on his studies more if his dating was keeping him from doing the work he could do. However, I think that learning social skills is a very important part of life, and to keep a child isolated could lead to some serious problems. It might also cause a serious break in his relationship with his parents.

But that’s a relatively recent idea. Not so long ago, people thought nothing of controlling their children’s lives—even into their twenties and thirties (very rarely). Some other cultures—many Asian ones—also believe that children owe much more to their parents and that parents should make their kids do what they think is right.

So these ideas can come from different cultures. Native-born Americans might find this peculiar, but it is common in other cultures, I think.

cockswain's avatar

I really can’t concentrate on schooling if I’m worrying about not getting laid often enough. And I’m 34. A 17 year old obsesses on it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s good advice, as far as advice goes. It’s going to backfire as a commandment, though.

She’d have better luck if she subtly rewards him for not dating, and simply withholds comment when he does.

lillycoyote's avatar

I suppose advising and forbidding are two different things. Advising is not controlling, I don’t think. It is only advising. Forbidding is not only controlling, but likely to get you nowhere.

Blueroses's avatar

It’s the old “don’t think about elephants” phenomenon. The more forbidden, the more enticing it becomes. I think there are probably good ways to have that conversation with a teenager if the parent has encouraged open communication, but just saying “don’t think about girls” is likely to backfire.

DominicX's avatar

Doesn’t seem like the best idea to me, as @lillycoyote else said, you could advise them not to date right now and focus on school, but outright forbidding them is probably asking for rebellion. I totally understand where the parents are coming from, but I mean, my reaction is somewhat “meh” when I hear this because a person can date someone without their parents knowing. My boyfriend and I were going out for several months without his parents knowing, not because they forbade it but because he hadn’t come out to them yet. And this kid is going to be an adult soon and can easily wait until then (and the parents will have to realize that their control over him lessens when he goes off to college)...

ChocolateReigns's avatar

The only thing that’s going to make him, or any teenager for that matter, focus on school and not dating, is themselves making a decision.
I’m a 9th grade girl, and I’ve made the decision on my own to not date until I’m at least a senior, probably not until college. My mom has voiced her opinion that I she thinks dating at my age isn’t the smartest idea (which I happen to agree with). I think the best idea is to voice your opinion, and make yourself available to discuss it.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If a 17 year old male does not get laid, he will grow up thinking there is something wrong with him. there are a few outcomes that i can see from this kind of advice/order, and none of them are good.

1— he grows up well educated, but finds he is always uncomfortable around females, never really meets someone and eventually dies alone.

2— he flips out withing a month or two and becomes a run away.

3— he does as his mother says, and as soon as he gets away from her he throws everything away and spends day and night at strip clubs and chasing girls, producing child after child after child.

4— he eventually loses his mind after a lifetime of no or little sex, and as he now has less social skills with females, he goes out and rapes someone.

17 is as good as 18, the mother has no business telling him what to do. specially not when it comes to who he chooses to give his feelings to.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s typically good advice in general, to put more effort into education and career first before relationships, but that doesn’t work for adults so it’s not going to work for a teen.

ShanEnri's avatar

Same advise I gave my 15 year old and he has improved his school work by 90%! It’s not controlling, sometimes teens just need to be reminded that there are more important things in the world than girls/guys!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Blackberry But that’s not necessarily true when you become older. When you’re older, you do get to decide your priorities, and many would rather find a partner and have children than have a fabulous career. You also can’t wait forever, since eventually, menopause comes along. But when you’re a teen, you can wait till you go off to college. I’ve known tons of people, myself included, who didn’t date during high school and picked it up just fine a couple years later.

YARNLADY's avatar

You make it sound like one day the mother woke up and turned to her 17 year old son and said “don’t date girls, concentrate on school”. I really doubt that is the way it happened.

Wise parents help their children recognize the long term importance of education over allowing dating to interfere.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

She may advise all she likes, it won’t actually help, so to speak. I know, as a teenager, I was able to concentrate on school and on dating.

SundayKittens's avatar

Encourage it, sure. Enforce it, hellz no. Unless they own a creepy motel somewhere off the interstate and tend to it from their big house across the way, then it is a whole different issue.

Kraigmo's avatar

There’s no way any normal teen boy will ever follow that advice on purpose.
They may follow it by coincidence, but never because you asked.

And everyone’s needs are different, but in my opinion, it’s not good advice. I think its healthy to start having relationships soon as possible once a person is 16, 17, or 18.

Developing a mature heart and social life early is just as important as anything school teaches.

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lillycoyote's avatar

As others have mentioned and as I believe, it is probably very good advice, at 17 there is more than enough time to focus on education and then on romance, it is simply good advice that may fall on deaf ears. On the the other hand, I I don’t have children so I am no expert, but it seems like by the age of 17 your child already has some sense as to whether or not he should throw away the chance for an education on some romance, on some girl, boy or whatever. I would think at 17 they either know how to balance it or they don’t. If not, then your advice could be very valuable in helping them understand and make good choices.

krose1223's avatar

I would never ORDER my son not to date, because that’s exactly what was done to me… And well… I got pregnant at 17. No I don’t blame my mom for lack of common sense, but I do wish I could have talked to her more about dating… Speaking from experience here, I know kids are going to date even if the parents say no. I think it is better to know they are doing it, and allow it, that way they will feel comfortable going to the parents for any advice/problems. What if a kid is in an abusive relationship but scared to do anything about it because she doesn’t want her parents to find out she has a boyfriend? Things like that happened a lot at my high school… Things like that happened to me. (Not abuse, but things I should have gone to my mom about but didn’t.)
I plan on being very open with my kids and I really hope they are open with me. I would love for them not to date because that is what I regret most about highschool! My best year in highschool was the one year I was NOT in a serious relationship, and I don’t think that is a coincidence.
I will tell my kids how I feel about dating in high school but I expect them to have little boyfriends and girlfriends here and there. I think it’s good to have those innocent relationships to prepare for the real ones that hopefully happen after highschool… and maybe if I cross my fingers college. :) Ha yeah right.

kissmesoftly's avatar

Being a nineteen year old girl, I can safely say nothing terrible will happen. His balls wont drop off if he doesn’t get any “tail” and plenty of young men don’t have a girlfriend. Concentrating on schoolwork IS good advice, and he should understand that while in school, there are important things to worry about, and having a girlfriend (woman are a lot of time and brainpower) could complicate. Not to say that dating is a bad thing, the boy really should just go with what life throws at him instead of chasing girls around the schoolyard.

Nullo's avatar

It depends on the kid. He may not be wholly girl-crazy in the first place.
I, for instance, was quite timid reserved, and my high school social life consisted of chess club meetings once a week, right after school. I had no girlfriend whatsoever until I was in college.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@krose1223 That’s my issue with any kind of absolute forbidding – it cuts off any form of communication about that topic, and often discourages communication on other topics.

@Nullo And do you feel that it was ok that you waited that long?

jerv's avatar

My wife told me not to hit the ground after I fell off a ladder, but do you think I listened?

My mother never gave me that restriction and I didn’t bother with the womenfolk until well after I graduated high school. In fact, she didn’t forbid me from anything, though she advised me against smoking, drinking, drugs, and alcohol. Now, had she actually gone so far as to forbid any of that stuff outright, I would’ve been a drunken, chain-smoking crackhead womamizer just to rebel.

I honestly think that the reason I turned out decent was because of the lack of restrictions. And as @papayalily says, restrictions shut down communications, but my mother and I could/can talk about anything.

@Nullo I didn’t have a social life or a girlfriend until I hit the fleet at age 20 either. That is the price you pay for being a gaming geek.

Discobitch's avatar

It is a terrible idea. No other opinions possible.

rooeytoo's avatar

Isn’t advising kids who are still living under your roof what parents are supposed to do? If he decides to ignore your advice and date anyhow are the parents allowed to set curfews or is that too controlling as well.

How about letting him have the family car, is his mother allowed to tell him he can’t have it for a date?

It sounds as if most advocate letting kids run their own lives and not interfering because if you do, the kid will rebel and do it anyhow. Strange way to raise a kid I think.

Discobitch's avatar

The only correct way, if you ask me.

Kids are not your kids.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Not really. While the mother’s intentions were probably geared towards wanting her son to think more of his grades and possibly college, socializing with the opposite sex is an important skill to learn, especially during raging hormone years.

Think about it, if a parent can have a secure enough relationship with their kid to guide, advise and support their teen as the teen learns through trial and error than that will make for a more mature and responsible adult. Steering, secluding and forbiding turns loose a young adult ill prepared to form relationships which causes insecurity, confusion and big mistakes… like marrying because of pregnancy instead of love.

rts486's avatar

I agree with @poisonedantidote. Teenagers need to learn how to socialize, or when they finally do start dating, they’ll be behind the power curve. He’ll be in his early twenties, dating somebody else in their early twenties, but he’ll have the dating mentality of a 17 year old.

Blackberry's avatar

@papayalily Of yes of course, we all don’t get our dream job.

wundayatta's avatar

I think @poisonedantidote is right. Take me for example. I didn’t get laid until I was 20 and I went crazy. Bipolar crazy. I’m sure having gotten laid for the first time at such a late age was the cause.

If she wants to save her son from a life in mental hospitals, she should get him a hooker, now!


Discobitch's avatar

Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@wundayatta you forgot the sarcasm tilde ~

I missed out until I was 22, and I only went crazy after the divorce. (I married the girl who was my first—and only, at that point—but made up for lost time later.)

wundayatta's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I did consider the tilde (so it wasn’t forgotten) but I kinda sorta figured the “Yeesh!” was better than a tilde.

See, @CyanoticWasp? @poisonedantidote‘s theory is looking better all the time!~


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mattbrowne's avatar

No. It’s a very bad idea. If teenagers become interested in dating, talking about the question how dating and success at school can coexist will make a lot of sense. Taking responsibility is what teenagers have to learn, not the unquestioned implementation of parental advice.

lonelydragon's avatar

It should be encouraged, but not demanded. This situation is the classic example of the Romeo and Juliet effect. In the words of Harry Brignull, “when a barrier is placed between a person and their desires, those desires become intensified.” The boy will think about girls a lot more than he would have if Mom had wisely left the subject alone (or approached it in a different way). Perhaps Mom was trying to be encouraging, especially if her son hasn’t been successful in the world of dating, but if he follows her advice, he’ll miss a valuable learning opportunity. It’s natural for teens to begin experimenting with dating. That’s how they learn to relate to the opposite sex. If this boy is awkward with girls, then not dating will only make the problem worse.

@mattbrowne Exactly. If he does internalize the lesson of unquestioning obedience, then he will not be able to make the transition from teen to adult. Parents will not always be there to give guidance, so young people need to learn to guide themselves.

mama_Panda's avatar

Definitely bad advice. . entirely too controlling.. there’s more to life than studies, and socialization is a big part of life, we are social beings! does the mom want grandkids?! hello!? if he doesn’t start dating and getting to know women/what he wants in a future mate soon, he’ll be missing out on a lot.. &-you can date and NOT have sex.. so telling him not to date at all is most likely going to backfire…

CARidilla's avatar

I think that both sexes should think about their career goals rather than dating. At 17, kids have a whole lifetime to date and to find out about the opposite sex.
I think if the mother in the article gives too many demands, then the boy could be the 45 yr old nerd that never had a romantic relationship and lives in momma’s basement.

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