31 tips for the girls dating my teenage sons

Yes, my sons are bucking the national trend. They eschew hookups and sexting for real dates and in-person conversations. At least until college, anyway. This is what I’d like their girlfriends to know.

  1. Condoms are in the closet at the top of the stairs. Help yourself.
  2. When he compliments your appearance, intellect or ability to tell a good joke, say “thank you” rather than talk yourself down. Just. Thank you.
  3. Stop playing with your hair and stop saying “literally.”
  4. Don’t assume you know what they mean. If confused, ask.
  5. Be kind. Model the behavior you seek in others.
  6. Don’t routinely insult your mom, dad, cousins and friends. Don’t be rude or make fun of others on a regular basis. He will wonder when he’s next.
  7. Don’t ask questions when you don’t want to know the answer. Like “what are you thinking about?” You will be forced to sit through a ten-minute dissertation on Top Ten Coaches in the NFL. “Does this make me look fat?” Get out your phone and take a selfie. Then you can see for yourself that it does.
  8. Trust your good judgment. You’re together because you’re good people and because you like each other. Remember this two hours into misinterpreting a text message, his quiet moments or an off-hand comment. Remember this when you think he’s out to get you. He’s not.
  9. If his comment can be interpreted positively or negatively, go with the positive. See above.
  10. Most of your conversations should be in person or while talking on the phone. Anything else is a recipe for disaster.
  11. Scratch their backs and you’ll get what you want. Seriously. Scratch their backs. It works better than nagging.
  12. Stop telling your friends everything. None of them can keep a secret.
  13. Yes, my sons are smart. But just because they grasp the geopolitical situation in Syria does not mean they understand your hints. Stop with all the hints. If you want something, try the direct approach. (And see #1.)
  14. If you’re upset, please be honest and succinct. The first time they ask.
  15. Be realistic. Relationships don’t always last forever, no one owns anyone else, he is not your property, you are not his property and cheating isn’t a thing when you’re this young. You should be meeting as many people as possible.
  16. Have fun.
  17. Give each other room to grow.
  18. Don’t compare.
  19. I’m hoping I did a good job and my sons have no desire to put their dicks in crazy. So, please, get your shit together and stop the drama.
  20. Treat him well and you and I are good.
  21. Do not depend on him, or any man, for your financial, emotional or psychological well-being. He should complement, rather than complete you.
  22. Be with him because you want him, not because you believe you need him.
  23. Read a science book. It’s important to know that guys have little control over how their penis works – from puberty to about age 80.
  24. Figure out what you like and then tell him. It’s really that easy.
  25. Give him some space. And take some for yourself, too.
  26. Would be great if you didn’t say “I’m fine” when you’re not.
  27. Leave his cell phone, email inbox, innermost thoughts and porn collection alone. Remember, you own no one. The upside? No one owns you either.
  28. When my boys were toddlers, and banged on their high chairs, I told them to stop. “Just say you need attention,” I said, “and we’ll talk for a little while.” Whenever you feel the need to act bitchy, bratty, catty or crazy, just say, “I need attention.” The results are so much more pleasant.
  29. Laugh. A lot.
  30. If you’re getting relationship ideas from songs or movies, pleases stop because you’re doing it wrong.
  31. They know how to cook a meal, do laundry and iron clothes. You’re welcome.

This advice is good for women past the teenage years, too. That’s right. I’ve seen Tinder.