Everyone with children knows how frustrating it can be to teach children to clean their room, eat their vegetables, do their homework, instill good values and morals, etc. It isn’t until they are fully grown adults that we start to see the fruits of our efforts. What most of us don’t realize is how much children learn by observation as much as anything else. What are they observing us do in our dating lives? Are they watching us make great relationship decisions?
I was having a conversation with a dear friend recently about our own personal relationships. We were comparing notes and discussing the similar issues we have experienced. We share similar family values in that we never bring new relationships into the family until there is relative certainty that these are relationships that have potential to last. This is done for several reasons. First, we need to protect children from potential sexual predators and verbal, emotional and physical abuse. Next, children (especially younger children) can develop attachments quite quickly. If you are introducing them into your new relationship too soon, they are subject to going through many of the same emotions you have if the relationship ends. A simple rule of thumb I use and suggest is to date for at least 6 months before introducing the new person in your life to your children.
More importantly though, are they learning through observation what a healthy relationship looks like? Are they learning how they should be treated and how they should treat other people by watching you? Are they observing healthy boundaries in your relationship? Or, are they seeing inappropriate, unhealthy and unsatisfying relationships? Through our conversation, my friend made the profound observation that if a relationship is not extraordinary, we are teaching our children that it’s okay to settle for less than everything we want in a relationship. This is never okay!
As adults, we need to learn to walk away from mediocre, unhealthy and toxic relationships. This will do several things in our lives. First, it allows us to be free to search for healthy relationships. Second, it protects our children from potentially emotionally, physically and sexually abusive relationships. Finally, it teaches our children to value themselves as people and not settle for less than they deserve in a relationship. If you display a healthy self-esteem, it will be easier for your children to do the same when it comes time for them to date.
If you have made poor decisions in the past, now is a great time to change. Make the great decisions for yourself today that you would like to see your children make in their own lives. If you are unclear on what changes you need to make, I can help you. Learning just two or three simple techniques will help you clearly see whether the person you are dating is the right one for you in 30 days or less.
Simply click on the link below which will take you to my website and you can explore some of the options available such as my book Dating Backward, workshops and classes, and personal coaching. Or, simply drop me a note and we can schedule some time to talk.
Over the past 30 years, Rick Soetebier has been a student of self and relationship improvement. He is an astute observer of people and relationship issues. Over time and through a relationship and marriage that ended after 25 years, Rick started to develop some of the fundamental principles that are found in his book, Dating Backward: A practical guide to dating and finding your soul mate. You can benefit from his observations, education, research and personal experience by letting him help you make better relationship decisions. Date consciously and settle for nothing less than extraordinary in your next relationship.