I have a friend that was driving to Santa Barbara for the first time and asked me for any tips I might have. I warned her about rush hour traffic in L.A and how to steer clear of all the construction. I recommended that she try to avoid the chaos; it would make her trip much more enjoyable and safe. She was happy for the warning.
That same friend is divorced and dating. Many of her friends are warning her about the chaos on her chosen “road to happiness” and she just won’t listen. She is determined to take the sketchy route in spite of the warning and we are all watching her head straight for disaster.
So what is the difference? Why is she so safe, responsible and levelheaded with driving but reckless with dating? Human nature?
My friend is a grown woman who has experienced the painful, negative impact of divorce and knows what the consequences of her actions have been. Still, she does not want or appreciate unsolicited warnings about her behavior. She holds up her hand to stop any warnings that might happen to slip into a conversation about her dating. Sound familiar?
So let me ask you this, should her friends mind their own business? Should we all just stand there with a tissue and a shoulder when she lands in a heap on our doorstep despite the multiple attempts to warn her?
No matter how old you are, there are certain warnings to heed when you drive and when you date. If you choose not to obey the speed limit, ignore boundary lines and disregard warnings, you are likely to have an accident. And in dating, there is no insurance for that.
We are in the midst of a teen dating crisis with teenagers aren’t paying attention to the warnings. Teenagers date recklessly and deal with the consequences later. Or maybe their parents are the ones who will pay the price instead.
This is not the time to sit back and watch as our teens make up their own rules about dating and parents take a backseat and don’t warn their kids about destructive behaviors. When we teach them to drive, we sit right there next to them and teach them how to drive safely and responsibly. It doesn’t matter what your car looks like, your economic status, your years of experience, your race or religion – EVERYONE is required to drive safely. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were motivated to date safely?
Look, there is a reason there are warnings about recklessness; we might get hurt. And, even if we can be trusted to act appropriately, the other guy might just decide to jump the line and cause an accident that will destroy the future plans we may have had.
It makes no sense to me that so many parents are so adamant about warning their kids concerning the cost of reckless driving but are in denial when their uneducated teenagers head out for the evening with their BF or GF. Which is more dangerous: uneducated driving or uneducated dating?
My final warning:
When you personally experience someone’s reckless driving behaviors, do you speak up? One time may not be enough and if it continues, their license can be revoked, or worse. Be bold and speak up about reckless dating behaviors; you could be saving a life.
***For a comprehensive, self-paced, online education for you and your teenager, CLICK HERE to get started.