The Rules Are Stupid
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The rules of relationship have nothing to do with farm animals and dairy products. If you go with the ‘wisdom’ of that book a while back, The Rules had everything to do with playing head games, not being yourself, being a tease and keeping the mystery. CoupleDumb is here to say, WRONG! These rules are an affront to healthy relationships! If this is the stuff you are teaching your kids, they will be miserable. Yes, we are saying ‘The Rules’ are stupid!
‘The Rules’ can be split up as the ‘Don’ts’ and ‘Pretends’. When you are discussing relationships with your kids, what do you tell them? Wait, we are assuming that you even discuss relationships with your children. Do you? Now that we’ve mentioned it, will you? O.K., assuming that you speak to your kids about relationships, what do you tell them? Pretend to be someone else? Fake it? Nothing ruins relationships, and this includes platonic and familial relationships, like pretending and prevarications. The very basis of any relationship is trust. How can you trust someone who is disingenuous?
I know we have slipped in lots of question marks so we will get down to the straight stuff here. We are parents of an 18 year old girl. Does she have a lot of (romantic) relationship experience? Nope. But, as an incoming freshman who will be away from Mom and Dad within a few months, she is trained. Since our little girl noticed boys (which would be somewhere around pre-school) we have maintained a constant conversation on relationships. Now, we need to be very clear here. We are not talking about sex or marriage. We are talking about how the connection. We are talking about how to keep your integrity while still obtaining every benefit from a relationship.
We know we are blessed to have had our first kid have Asperger’s. We can tell you that as parents of a kid with a Spectrum Disorder, you learn to see things a little differently. You learn to break down even the easiest interactions so that she can understand it. You see, as parents, we tend to assume that our kids know even the simplest of things. For example, we have a rule in our family that when someone visits or we visit someone, there needs to be a proper greeting (ie. Kiss, hug, hello, handshake). Many parents think kids learn this by osmosis when this is a trainable moment. For our daughter, we needed to explain the formality of it. We needed to say that this is good manners and considered to be behavior that well behaved people engage in. The purpose of certain behaviors we consider ‘normal’ is part of civility whereas there are certain things done in relationships which are just CRAZY!
For example, ‘The Rule’ states that a woman should never ask a man out or to dance. This idea of a woman waiting for a man to make a move went out a million years ago. This practice is cruel and unusual for men. Why? All the pressure and risk is on him. This also goes for any other area of life where a man is supposed to make the first move. Ladies, if you want something, go after it. This is what we teach our daughter; you can stay at home and wait for him or you can ask him out. If he does not jump at the chance, move on. We are raising a young woman who is responsible for her own happiness and is not depending on some guy to rescue her. That idea went out with fairy godmothers and pumpkins that turn into carriages.
So Mom and Dad, you need to decide, are you going to raise an old fashioned kid or a responsible one? Speaking from our experience, we say teach them to be feisty. We say teach them to affectionate and honest and loving and have boundaries and vulnerable and decisive and risk-takers and courageous. But above all else, teach them to be responsible for their own happiness.