0:00:00 – Speaker 1
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Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim Every Saturday at 10 am on AM630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyber parent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:38 – Speaker 3
Welcome back to our Love and Dating series. Last time, kim and I talked about conversations to have about love and dating with your middle school and elementary kids, but today we have two guests in the studio with us. They are our nextTalk leaders, our high school and college division. We have Kim Nichols Hi. And Holly Bristol Hi everybody. And they’ve got older kids. Y’all tell us the ages of your kids.
0:01:08 – Speaker 1
I have three. Mine are, let me see 11, almost 17, almost 19.
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And I have two. My oldest is 21 and my youngest is 16, almost 17.
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So y’all you got to listen up to the wisdom here, because they are in the thick of teen dating and what this looks like.
0:01:27 – Speaker 5
Well, on the other side of that, we’ve had conversations like here’s what you need to be talking about early. You’ve prepared some of us with younger kids too, so you kind of run the gamut. You’re kind of important, you’re important to us.
0:01:39 – Speaker 4
We like to think, yeah, we’re at the tip of the spear, we’re out front, it’s an exciting time.
0:01:44 – Speaker 5
It is an exciting time, but it can also be scary.
0:01:47 – Speaker 4
It’s very scary. It’s scary for a lot of parents. It begins to be scary in middle school. They begin to see their children changing, their hormones emerging. They begin to girls want to look different and boys kind of we’re looking for their body and wondering when it’s going to show up. There’s a lot of self-awareness of themselves as well as the opposite sex, and so it becomes a real interesting time in middle school and then in high school. It is full blown fun. Can I just tell you.
0:02:22 – Speaker 3
Well, and we talked about that at our last show. Like the middle school that does changing hormones. No-transcript a lot of these conversations before that, because once you interject the ranging hormones and emotions, it’s hard to get that logic Like why do you like this person? Why are you attracted to this person? It’s just, I like this person.
0:02:42 – Speaker 4
Well, and then you begin to be a little bit irrelevant to that, and it’s nothing personal. It’s just, it begins to be more of a group mentality, with their friends, with other people that they find that they deem important in the world, and that’s okay, and you have to let them, but you still have to monitor it. But you can’t take it too personally.
0:03:03 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and you know you come to a point when you’re not cool anymore. Oh yeah, and you got to get in as much conversation as you can before that.
0:03:11 – Speaker 1
That’s in middle school and they don’t even understand what’s going on within their own bodies and the hormones and the changes and all of that. They don’t get why they’re suddenly yelling at you for no apparent reason. So you really can’t take it personally, because they don’t get it either.
0:03:25 – Speaker 4
They don’t and they get so frustrated because all of these things are happening to them biologically. Yes, that you know and you’re kind of looking at them like all of a sudden you’re a crazy person and they’re looking at you like all of a sudden you’re horrible. So it’s you know, that’s. You just have to really maintain your cool and not go back to that age. That’s the first and foremost thing is you cannot reduce yourself to a 13 year old or a 14 year old to when they engage you, and you have to stay calm and stay your age, whether you’re in your 30s, 40s or, like me, in your 50s, and just stay right there.
0:03:58 – Speaker 5
Which is easier to do? Not the staying at your age, but going to their age is easier.
0:04:03 – Speaker 4
Yes, it’s so much easier to engage at that age. We know how to do that and it’s like wait, wait, wait. I have some wisdom on you, I have some life on you. I’m going to stay here and be calm for a minute. It’s hard to do, but so important.
0:04:16 – Speaker 5
My husband being in the middle school world, he always says they turn into aliens during that time. They truly are from another planet and you have to parent them, not as aliens you still have to treat them as kids and that’s why it’s hard. So you know, setting up these conversations ahead of time, yes, what does that look?
0:04:33 – Speaker 4
like the conversations like in elementary school or middle school. Well, to you, what would be most?
0:04:37 – Speaker 5
important before they get to middle school. What do you guys think would be most important to talk with your kids?
0:04:44 – Speaker 1
Setting up an atmosphere of honesty was really big in our family.
From early early age, when they were all in elementary school, I told them oh, you can come and ask me absolutely anything, even if it feels weird or uncomfortable or inappropriate to say the word, or ask me about a situation that happened at school or whatever Something you saw on television, I would tell them I will always shoot you straight, I will always be honest with you and when you get to a point where you’re like, okay, that’s enough, mom, I don’t want to hear anymore, I’ll stop, we’ll press pause and you can come back and ask me again later. But I think that’s been huge in our family for just establishing that open communication, because they all felt very relaxed and comfortable asking me or my husband about anything.
0:05:27 – Speaker 3
And, I’m sure, team dating, even though it’s complicated and messy and there’s lots of conversation. Setting up that boundary made it much easier. Setting up that open atmosphere of you can ask me anything makes it way more doable and you can actually not have as much fear about it because you’re like, okay, if this happens on a date, they’re going to come ask me about it.
0:05:47 – Speaker 4
Well, and most likely they’re going to almost test the waters a little bit when they get to middle school and they’re going to ask you about their friends. That’s going to be the first thing they’re going to do. They’re going to say so and so did this. What do you think about that? And they’re going to see. Are you still being honest with them? Are you still being calm? Are you going to lose your crackers over something they’ve brought to you? They’re going to test that water and they’re going to do that continually as they grow older. So always be prepared that when they start talking about their other friends and you know these friends stay calm, answer the questions honestly, forthrightly, make it a safe place. You’re not going to run. Tell their friends parents, unless you see, the child is in danger.
0:06:27 – Speaker 3
I mean if it’s suicide or cyberbullying, something like that of course.
0:06:32 – Speaker 4
Well, even in dating. But you just need to say, yeah, I’m going to tell you the truth, I’m going to tell you what I think.
0:06:38 – Speaker 3
Well, and you know, what I’ve found too is a middle school mom is don’t respond in judgment because they shut down. They will shut down and do the opposite. So you can be honest with them, you know, you can say I don’t think your friends making good choices and this is why, but I still love her and you should still be nice to her and you should still be kind to her or whatever, but just not responding in that. Well, I don’t want you hanging out with that kid anymore. That shuts them down.
0:07:02 – Speaker 4
Well, and this generation of kids is so weird about you’re being judgy.
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Mom, you’re being so judgy, so we have to.
0:07:13 – Speaker 1
That word. Yeah, we’re under a microscope as parents. They’re watching us to see if we’re going to be judgmental in any way about anyone. So when they’re testing the waters asking about their friends scenario to see if you’re going to judge or shame that kid for what the choices they make, or even them If they’re struggling with the same thing that their friend may be struggling with.
0:07:37 – Speaker 3
I mean they’re testing you, like Holly said.
0:07:39 – Speaker 4
I thought that was really good they want to see where you’re at, and it also gives you, it makes you stop and reflect as an adult. Ok, what do I believe? Where am I? And you really have to start asking yourself some hard questions, and that’s one of the things that Kim and I find when we’re talking to or teaching parents is most of the issues with dating and stuff is our parental fears. That is huge, it’s a parent’s fears, and so you have to deal with your own fears before, honestly, you can kind of let your kid go out there and take on the world.
So let’s talk about some of those fears that you all have them across with, because there’s probably a lot of them right.
0:08:22 – Speaker 1
There are a lot of them. I mean, I’m thinking about all the ones in my head, same here. And what’s the first one that you think?
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Something that will like life changing Most parents. The biggest thing that they’re afraid of, the biggest thing, the most huge number one flashing lights in their mind is if I let this child start dating, they’re going to have sex.
You’ve made that leap? Why did you make that leap? Why did you make that leap? You have to ask yourself. And within that sex category there are all of the things the pregnancy which is limiting their future STDs. They’re not valuing themselves, their quote, unquote, purity is lost, their reputation or embarrassment, but we just say sex, sex, sex.
0:09:06 – Speaker 3
Which can also go into bullying. And you know, girls throw around the slut word a lot.
0:09:11 – Speaker 5
I mean, if you you know what I mean, so do boys.
0:09:13 – Speaker 3
Yeah, boys too, but you know that bullying ties into that all of that.
0:09:19 – Speaker 4
But that’s the biggest thing that parents are afraid of is it’s not the vulnerability, it’s not the getting hurt, it’s parents. The number one fear is their child is going to have sex. Number one. Don’t assume that. Don’t assume that that’s most of the time. That is not, especially girls. That’s not where girls are going. They’re romantic.
0:09:38 – Speaker 3
They’re romantic brains. They want love letters and roses, right.
0:09:45 – Speaker 1
And the sweet attention and the nice yeah as adults we see that from our experience how life changing having sex could be for them. That’s why it’s such a fear for us as an adult.
You’re thinking of the STDs, the pregnancy. This could change your world. How do we keep them safe from doing that? Well, not by shutting down the dating part of it, shutting down relationships, helicoptering, monitoring everything they do. You’ve got to talk about it open communication, no judgment, and let them go out there and experience the dating relationship thing while you’re communicating with them, so it doesn’t turn into a life altering situation.
0:10:26 – Speaker 4
And one of the things that Kim and I say and we literally almost preach this is what you have to understand is, when you’re preparing your children for that relationship, love kind of world is that your whole life is relationships and your whole life are close relationships, and so it starts with friendships and then it goes into these personal relationships with your partner. You’re teaching a life skill that is going to literally be with them until they die. That’s so true, their whole life, and so that’s why they’re so important and it’s why we talk about it a whole lot, because this isn’t just a career or just your schooling or something like that. This is your whole life, and so it’s important to start talking about it and talk about it early.
0:11:15 – Speaker 3
Well, and you can, even before they’re dating, you can have conversations about friendships changing friendships.
It starts there, because those conversations will bring you in. And the other thing I liked what you said, kim, is the helicopter parenting, and I fell into that category before I realized that open communication was the answer. And I will tell you, now that I’m talking to my kids about everything, there’s a lot less fear involved Because I think, ok, anything that happens, anything they’re exposed to any new word, they’re going to come home and ask me and then we get to have a conversation about it, which is amazing, like that is. I know we say it all the time, but that is the first line of defense to keeping our kids safe about from everything.
0:11:59 – Speaker 5
Yeah, you know, one of the things that my husband and I talk about when we’re talking about the littles in this category younger kids is this is a great opportunity for you to let them express how they’re feeling about a situation first, so they learn to process what they’re seeing and hearing. So when one of my kids comes home and says so, and so did this today, what do you think about that? Because they’re testing you from a young age.
0:12:20 – Speaker 2
Yes, Also this goes into that relationship building and communication building.
0:12:25 – Speaker 5
So our first word, our first thing we always say is well, how do you feel about it? Because I want to know where they’re going and what’s going on in their mind, and then I can address that and then share my own opinions and then I say what do you think about what mommy said? Because I want to hear if they say, oh, I think that’s scary mom, or whatever. So that’s part of that relationship building and preparing them for the middle school conversations is starting that when they’re young, processing with them.
0:12:52 – Speaker 4
And it’s very important that, should they make a choice maybe that you wouldn’t want them to make later on, that they can come to you and you can deal with that as an adult, because if your child comes to you and they’ve made a decision that maybe you wouldn’t want them to have made, but they have, and they come and talk to you, you’re not going to again lose your crackers. Yes, you’re going to be able to talk about it. Yes, walk them through it.
Walk them, walk yourself through it, but do it as a family. Do it as a, do it as as kind as you can with some, you know, strictness. There’s some, you know you have to know that there’s some boundaries. Of course there are consequences and they know those, trust me, they’re taught those school. But you need to be there if something doesn’t go as you, as a parent, have planned. And that happens, doesn’t it, kim? It?
0:13:42 – Speaker 1
happens a lot.
0:13:44 – Speaker 4
That’s more than than you really know. It happens.
0:13:47 – Speaker 1
Yeah, and it’s important to handle it in that calm way where you’re processing it as a family, as much as that’s a life altering thing that may occur can flip your family on its head. Oh yeah, you’ve got to be able to process through it and talk about it and communicate about it so that you can handle it in a way that it’s going to be life altering, but it doesn’t have to be disastrous, it doesn’t have to be life-ending, it doesn’t? Have to change their life in a negative way.
0:14:14 – Speaker 3
Well, and here’s I love what you point out there, because so many kids today they have parents who lay guidelines like this is how it is, this is what you do, don’t cross this line. And they do cross the line and then they become suicidal. Like this literally keeps them safe. And when you can talk to them at a very early age, when you develop this kind of open communication and you say, look, this is what the Bible says, this is what we believe, but I’m going to love you no matter what.
0:14:42 – Speaker 4
Like maybe not even suicidal, but just destructive, or going into addictions anything. Just you’re doing behaviors that are not going to benefit you and that will run again. But there’s a whole rainbow there of many things and the spectrum, as we say, but it can lead them to like, okay, well, I just don’t want to deal, so I’m going to shut down, and here’s how I’m going to do it. Yeah, so true.
0:15:11 – Speaker 3
That’s what we want to avoid. Yes, If you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 10 am on AM 630, the Word nextTalk Radio is listener supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through your donations To support our organizations. Go to nextTalk.org and click on give.
0:15:34 – Speaker 5
Today we have special guests, very special guests.
0:15:37 – Speaker 3
They’ve taught us a lot.
0:15:39 – Speaker 5
They’re a high school and college division of nextTalk. Holly Bristol and Kim Nichols are here. Just really wise women, beautiful women smart women.
0:15:48 – Speaker 3
They’re our heads up mamas, that’s what we call them. They tell us what’s coming up. They’ll be like have this conversation now, because you can’t wait till high school.
0:15:55 – Speaker 5
And after we cry, in the closet we come out and we do it. We have the conversation we’re talking today about dating and the many facets that go with that. We’ve talked about our fears, which is a big one, because that’s the place we operate from with these difficult things sometimes. So I have a question for you, before we move on about fears as you’re figuring out why am I feeling this way? Why am I fearful and looking through your own junk? What do you think about? Share that with your kid.
0:16:25 – Speaker 4
Sometimes, if it’s appropriate. Number one thing that teenagers don’t want to hear is well, back in my day or in my experience. Can I just say dads are the worst Dads, you know.
0:16:38 – Speaker 5
When I was a whippersnapper. They just really do.
0:16:42 – Speaker 4
As a mom you learn pretty quick because you get shut down pretty quick, like things are like so different.
0:16:47 – Speaker 3
You see them tuning out.
0:16:49 – Speaker 4
Now and then it’s okay to say in my experience or to throw that in, but be very careful, because I want to tell you what you experienced, even if it was just 15 or 20 years ago, is very different than what our kiddos are dealing with. Please know that. Yeah.
0:17:07 – Speaker 3
Well, I love the advice you gave me one on one one time when my daughter was going through something and contacted Holly. I’m like this is how I handled it. This is what I did and I shared an experience from my background with my daughter, which I thought was helpful, and she was like you’re making it about you. I need you to make it about your daughter first. There’ll be a time for that, where you can share your personal experience. But that was such great advice because I jumped into. Well, I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone and I understood, but she just needed a minute for me to like be there for her before I launched into anything else, and that took like a week before we could actually get into the teachable moment, because she just needed me to be there with her in that moment.
0:17:45 – Speaker 4
They just needed to hear. But it’s not about you, mom and Dad. I’m really sorry. And I hate to break that to you, but it’s not about you. And adolescence is such a myopic, self-centered time that is normal. Please let them be normal. They’re focusing on themselves. They’re growing up. They have enough coming at them. They don’t need your stuff too. Yeah so true.
0:18:08 – Speaker 1
Holly and I talk a lot about empathy being one of your greatest tools as a parent. But from a standpoint of what did you learn from your experiences Maybe not sharing your whole story with them, but sharing what you’ve learned from it that might help them in their experience that they’re having right now, I think empathy can be huge and just validating that what they’re going through isn’t, they’re not you know they’re normal.
0:18:33 – Speaker 3
Yeah, they’re not weird.
0:18:35 – Speaker 1
This is perfectly normal what you’re feeling and everything that you’re, how you’re handling this to validate their emotions, but not going to a long when I was a kid story and tell your stuff, but more use your just for tips and advice, use your experiences and what you’ve learned and on the other end of that, being dismissive.
0:18:56 – Speaker 5
You know that would be the opposite of that. Yes, and it’s so easy, Do not be the misgivest, you don’t forget.
0:19:01 – Speaker 3
Yeah, like it’s not a big deal, you were dating him for two weeks. What’s the big deal?
0:19:05 – Speaker 5
Yes, I see a lot of parents doing that. I saw a woman in the Sam’s Club line the other day in public dismissing her child’s feelings or her middle schooler, I would say and it just broke my heart because you could see her tune out immediately and go someplace else.
0:19:20 – Speaker 4
Yeah, they’ll find someone else to listen to them. Yes, and a lot of times not get exceptional wisdom or advice, because it’s probably another 14-year-old.
0:19:30 – Speaker 5
Exactly, yeah, and you know those wise 14-year-olds my goodness love hearing from them.
0:19:37 – Speaker 4
A lot of them are very great kids, don’t get me wrong. But that wisdom they have, it don’t have a lot under their belt yet, so please don’t be dismissive. You can help them put it in the right place sometimes, but kind do it with some kindness, Even if they’re making you crazy, mama. Just you know be kind.
0:19:56 – Speaker 5
And what are some, you know, thinking about distraction when we’re talking about dating Tell us what you mean by that About distraction, how dating can be a distraction.
0:20:04 – Speaker 4
A lot of parents are worried that if their child is going to start dating, or they like someone, or the whole thing it’s going to be distracting from their academics or their extracurriculars.
0:20:14 – Speaker 2
It’s going to take over.
0:20:15 – Speaker 4
It’s going to be another thing and you’ve heard people say, oh well, she’s just boy crazy or he just can’t stop thinking about girls. It’s a thing and it’s like, okay, you need to. That’s one of those times where you help put them in its right place and its right priority. In that moment Now, if your son or daughter has been dating someone and they’ve just broken up after maybe, you know, six months or so, and it’s been a pretty, you know, for them, that’s a long time Six months when you’re 15 is a long time, so and they’re upset about it.
This is distracting you. Well, then, walk them through it so they can get well and heal and find some lessons.
0:20:59 – Speaker 3
But that’s what I mean by distraction, get back into it, right. Well, and I think, too, what you went back to earlier, that you’re teaching them a life skill having a relationship, you know, future, marriage. That’s a skill that you have to balance. You have a marriage and you have family and you have a job, and you have to balance it all so you’re teaching this early.
0:21:17 – Speaker 4
It’s another life skill in how to Handle all of this together and one of the things that Kim and I teach, and we We’ve met all kinds of moms who and dads who you know they parent a lot of different ways and that’s awesome. Yeah, you parent for your family. Yeah, your dynamic, however, it works for you guys. But one thing we now and then we come across parents who say well, we’re not going to let our children date until college. Yeah, we, neither one feel that way. This is our personal choice.
Yeah because we feel like it’s like training wheels, mm-hmm, and they need some experience and some things. While they’re under your roof, before they go to college or military or the workforce, have them in your home, help them learn how to have a healthy relationship. It doesn’t mean they have to marry this person or it has to be this right or a romance or anything.
You know, your life doesn’t have to be a hallmark movie, but just trying to date, going on some coffee dates, a dance or two. You know, whatever your, whatever you do have at your school or whatever, yeah but having that experience of just being with someone else, the whole process, how it works, you know the beginning, middle and end hell that you know, literally, a date has steps, yeah, and so how you react to that?
and trust me, guys need that as much as girls do, probably more so. In some ways, we don’t focus on our young men as much and we need to mama’s yeah, we need to please we said that in the last show.
0:22:45 – Speaker 3
It’s an equal responsibility here between the girls and the boys. The Bible is very clear on that in that equal responsibility, and we got to step it up on for both of them for sure you know, raise me up some gentlemen, please.
0:22:57 – Speaker 4
0:23:03 – Speaker 5
So you know, being parents of younger ones, I’m already thinking like what does that look like for me in their life, when they’re older, when they’re dating? What’s my responsibility to them to help them learn how to date well? I?
0:23:16 – Speaker 4
Think your responsibility is to teach them about character and what they look for in that, in that character of that other person. We teach them about open communication with the person they’re dating.
0:23:27 – Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s so good. Lots of that’s gonna carry on into their marriage because I didn’t learn that skill until I got married. You know, having to learn that open communication it’s bumpy. I mean it’s really bumpy. It was a bumpy first five years for us, yeah you learn a lot respect.
0:23:45 – Speaker 1
I think you have to take the temperature, holly and I say, of their relationship a lot While they’re dating, even if they’re not in a serious dating relationship, they’re just kind of seeing this person every now and then or going out with a group asking a lot of questions what do you like about him or her? What’s your favorite thing that you guys do together? When you guys disagree, how do you handle it?
0:24:06 – Speaker 3
Oh, that’s a good one, you get angry and have a fight.
0:24:08 – Speaker 1
Does do they name call? Do you? Do you put your hands on each other and anger in any way? I mean you’re Finding out how they work together, not just a yes or no question. It’s great, did you have fun? But asking some questions about that really get them thinking about how they feel about that person and how that person makes them feel.
0:24:27 – Speaker 4
I think is important, and the parent and that opens it up to when your children begin to date very seriously, which can often happen in their junior senior year of high school. You can often begin to see serious Relationships and then, on an ecology especially, you need to have that open communication because that’s when some really serious parenting comes in. It’s really serious which we’re not going to talk about those today, but just know everything You’re doing middle school and then in high school You’re preparing to have those conversations and walk your, your son or your daughter, through the real serious relationships, the adult relationships.
0:25:02 – Speaker 3
So we don’t have enough time with you. There’s so many questions we get asked a lot like how to talk to them about hormones, what if my kid wants a date somebody who’s not a Christian, you know, like all this stuff. How do we teach our kids to say no when they are asked out on a date? Don’t want to go like all these things. So we want you guys to do another show with us. We’re gonna have that on the next show and we’re gonna answer some of those most frequently asked questions. Tune in. Holly and Kim are gonna be back with us.
0:25:29 – Speaker 5
Thank you guys, thank you.
0:25:31 – Speaker 2
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am On Am 6 30 the word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at nextTalk. Or are you ready for the next time?
Transcribed by https://podium.page