The cheesy little gossip column on my MSN home page posted the following little article, I presume just for fun. For me, it was a troubling indicator of the careless attitude of many dads today. Here's what it said...
The Hollywood action man and his ex-wife Demi Moore are parents to three girls, 22-year-old Rumer, 19-year-old Scout and Tallulah Belle, 16.
Willis always dreamed of the day when he could intimidate their suitors, but admits his daughters are in charge when it comes to their love lives.
He says, "I thought I'd get the opportunity to throw these kids around, slamming them up against the wall and crushing them. But my children dispelled that notion. They said, 'No Dad, stop embarrassing us' and the next thing you know they're all in the pool whooping it up.
"I am so archaic when it comes to that. I'd like to think of myself as old-fashioned but there's no place for it with my three girls. They just say I don't understand what the dating world is like."
So, let me get this straight: because the dad is a clueless moron who doesn't know "what the dating world is like," his role is to get out of the way? A scary proposition, indeed.
Granted, his plan to "throw these kids around" is misguided. The old joke about the dad cleaning his guns when the boy comes to pick up his daughter is just that: a joke. And a bad one, at that. Dads who take a tough guy approach are just as bad as dads who take a passive approach. One results in unhealthy teen relationships away from home; the other results in unhealthy teen relationships under the nose of the dad. Both are dangerous.
The truth is that dads SHOULD know what the dating world is like. And they should be concerned...and they should be involved. Dating teenagers desperately need direction and accountability. If not, the potential for emotional, spiritual, and sexual train wrecks are just too great.
I have so much to say on this topic. If I rush it here, I'm afraid I won't be articulate and clear. Be on the lookout in the coming few weeks for an extended "series" on the subject of teen dating. The stakes are high and most parents are asleep at the wheel.
I'll get back to you on this one...