How would you feel if your Asian daughter came home with a white boy? Or worse still, you found out accidentally that she was dating one behind your back?
I was boy crazy when I was growing up. That’s not to say lots of boys liked me or that I had lots of boyfriends (because as the only Asian girl in my class I simply didn’t- most of them stayed away from me; but that’s another blog post). But I pretty much had a new crush every month.
As I got older dating certainly became an issue. My parents were very strict and traditional. Absolutely no boys no way, I couldn’t even mention a boy’s name without arousing suspicion. This is of course not untrue of a lot of Asian households still today. And it’s the classic recipe for teen rebellion.
I pulled every trick in the book when it came to dating boys. It’s not something I’m proud of; it’s just the way it was. I hope as a parent to a daughter that I can be a bit more savvy when she’s at an age when boys are an issue.
For many parents the main question is should they let their kids date at all. Perhaps you’re thinking that you will arrange their marriage. But let’s be clear on this: if two youngsters are attracted to each other- despite their religion, caste, whatever, they will more than likely find a way to be together, even if it’s holding hands at school and surreptitiously sneaking a kiss (which is why single sex high schools are a good idea!)
We cannot afford to be naive enough to think we won’t need to talk to our kids about dating until they are in their 20’s. It’s no secret that today our children are becoming aware of the opposite sex and their own sexuality at an earlier age.So how do we deal with that?
We need to make sure we foster an atmosphere at home where our teens (and kids) feel they can talk about sensitive subjects- that no subject is taboo and there is no judgement for them if they bring them up. Having said that, right from day one with our kids, yes literally from when they are babies, we need to be clear about the value system in the home. We can’t simply preach at them, we need to model the values we as parents proclaim so that one day that will filter down into every decision they make- including dating and pre-marital sex.
Would I be upset if my daughter one day came home with a white guy? Well this question is laughable for me because as most of my readers know, my husband is white. I think the bigger question for me is how would I react if she came home with another Asian guy? That might seem weird, but given my own experiences growing up, I think alarm bells would ring if my daughter was getting herself into the kind of family setting I grew up in, albeit as a potential daughter-in-law. But to be perfectly honest, I want her to make her own choices and I hope very much as her mum that I can support her for them.
But that’s an issue for another day. For now I’m hoping that as parents we can lay the ground work with her. I want my daughter to above all to have self-respect and value herself. She doesn’t need the love of a man to be validated. As you’ll see from a previous post, I try to make sure she has some positive role models in her life. And above all I hope eventually she’ll meet a man who is kind to her and adores her for who she is.
In the meantime parents, be on the look-out. Just as the baby years went by so fast, so too will issues like dating, sex and marriage be on the table all too soon. Laying a healthy foundation for you & your teen to talk about them is a good starting point.