“Hooking Up” Versus a Relationship
Let your daughter know that there are distinct differences between entering into a meaningful relationship versus a casual “hookup.” The hookup, a now-common phenomenon, is an impulse action that does not lead to a serious loving relationship and often is a sign of poor self-esteem and lack of confidence. It also negatively affects her reputation. A relationship, however, is a meaningful venture in which both parties feel valued and cared for.
These days hooking up (a quick sexual involvement that may only last one night and is between strangers or mere acquaintances) gets much attention on college campuses. Since whatever scenes play out at the universities can filter down to high schools, your daughter may already have seen some examples of kids in her grade hooking up. They have definitely been talking about it. So do not be surprised when your girl mentions the phenomenon. Tell her that is nothing new. Similar happenings used to be called a one-night stand, and is an extremely unwise practice. Not only does a girl who hooks up not know anything about her partner — and his sexual history — but she also proves her lack of intelligence by assuming sex is nothing more than a snap of her fingers. That assumption could not be more wrong.
By buying into the notion that sex in high school is no more than a passing whim, a girl demeans herself by becoming depersonalized. Her ambitions will certainly take a hit: She cannot be ruled by teenage sexual gratification and by her wish to give her best in what should matter most to her at this stage of her development: grades, sports and hobbies, and friends.
According to a report by Planned Parenthood, about 10 percent of all teenage girls — one in every ten — become pregnant before age twenty. Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney General reports that 38 percent of all date-rape victims are girls between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.
In short, hooking up is the exact opposite of what your daughter wants and needs. She needs to build relationships. To do that with a boy, she needs time to get to know him. A slow pace in warming up to a boy is her best course of action.
Your daughter may feel a sudden spark for a guy, but a good relationship needs more than that. Your daughter needs to get to know as much as possible about him, all his likes and dislikes, and what makes him tick.
After your girl has met a boy she is interested in, maybe through a mutual friend, at a sports event, her volunteer work, or at her place of worship, she needs to start building a solid foundation with him to see if they have more in common than just the initial connection. Here are a few ideas:
Learn about each other's favorite things and activities, and do them together.
Talk about their future plans — colleges they might like to attend and jobs they might like to have someday, and the good deeds they would like to do.
Discuss their dreams — their dream vacations, dream cars, dream homes, and dream future families of their own.
Meet each other's families and spend time with each other's friends and siblings.
Debate heatedly or coolly any topic that comes up — from school issues to politics.
As a parent, invite your daughter's boyfriend to family events. As a mother, teach her not to squash any of his chivalrous attempts. As a father, show her, by your example, how a man treats a woman well, so your girl will expect to be treated well by a boy. Tell her she is always in charge in a relationship, so she will be empowered to set the necessary limits.