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Dating Advice for My 12-Year-Old Son

My son had his 12th birthday this week. Now, 12 is a big one because it’s his last year as a tween, which means he’s only one year away from becoming a TEEN! Soon, he’ll be going through that horribly awkward time where he has a weird, wispy, sparse mustache. His voice will start sounding like Ralph Macchio from Karate Kid. And he’ll start to get that punchy hormonal attitude where he gets annoyed with me more easily and starts ending his sentences with, “GEEZ, mom!”

I hope I’m wrong about that last part, but what I’m not wrong about is that the teens are hormonal and they start to notice each other in a more-than-friends way. In fact, the other day, I overheard my son and a few friends talking about a girl they thought was cute. It was totally innocent and sweet, but it got me thinking, “Whoa, my little boy is going to be dating someday!” And though he is only 12, and FAR (hear me, son?) FAR FAR away from the dating scene still, I felt inspired to write down some advice for when he’s at an appropriate dating age (10 or 15 years down the road). Here it is, advice from your mama.

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1. Be a Gentleman

Be a gentleman. Have manners. Be kind and gracious toward her. Open the door for her. Stand up to greet her. Send her flowers “JUST BECAUSE,” which is different than, “I’m a jackass, and I’m sorry.”

2. Be Respectful

Don’t be late. Call her when you say you will. Don’t be a flake. Don’t talk smack about her to your friends when you’re fighting. Don’t disrespect her family. I’ve raised you better than that, BOY.

3. Listen

Don’t just “uh-huh … yep … OK” while nodding your head. Let the words sink in and register. Listen to her. When you do that, she will trust you more and open up to you more. Are you listening to me?

4. Don't Lie

Just don’t. Trust me. The girl always wants the truth, even if it hurts. Even if it crushes her soul. Believe me! She may be hurt but deep down she will respect you for being honest. And you will respect yourself.

5. Make Her Laugh

You make me laugh every day, so this shouldn’t be a difficult one. And make sure she makes you laugh, too. In our family, laughter is oxygen.

6. Call, Don't Text

Right now you’re texting SMH to your friends about this one, aren’t you?

Don’t have bad breath.

7. Don’t Play Games

If you like her, let her know. Ask her out. Don’t wait three days to call or act like you’re busy when you’re not. The point of running game is to make the girl feel insecure and to pique her interest through manipulating the situation, and it’s a terrible tactic, and it just shows your insecurity. But by the same token…

8. Be Cool

Don’t be a desperado. Let things unfold naturally. If the girl is not feeling you, let it be. You can’t badger someone into feeling something they don’t. Seriously, don’t be that guy.

9. Talk to Her

Communication is key. Don’t just bury the problems.

10. Don’t Be Jelly

Jealousy is a really gross trait. It shows that you are insecure, have no trust in the girl and naturally assume that she’s deceitful. Be confident in your relationship. Default to trust. Understand that if the other person is acting deceitful, there is nothing you can do, anyway. When a man is constantly asking, “Who texted you? How do you know that guy? Do you think he’s attractive?” He may as well be asking you, “Do I look fat in these Man-gina jeans?”

11. Be Real

Everyone—I don’t care who they are—can smell bullshit from a mile away.

12. Show Emotion

It’s healthy. Women love a sensitive man. But don’t get it twisted, sensitive does not mean “can’t hold it together.” Crying every time you have an argument, on a scary roller coaster or during one of those Sarah McLachlan animal commercials is not a good look.

13. Don't Be a Douche

Don’t be a know-it-all. Don’t just talk about yourself. Don’t name drop. Be happy with who you are. Don’t try to prove anything. And don’t constantly quote The Hangover or Anchorman. One, and Two.

14. Don’t Take Her for Granted

15. Don’t let her take you for granted

16. Don’t Date Lindsay Lohan

17. Don't Be Afraid to Make a Fool of Yourself for Her

18. Don’t Date a Mean Girl (Mean People Suck)

19. Don’t Date a Girl Who Doesn’t Treat You Right

Mama WILL step in on this one. Save yourself the embarrassment.

20. Don’t Date a Girl Who Doesn’t Respect Herself

21. Know That You Don’t NEED Anyone

Know that you are enough. Be with someone because you grow from knowing them.

RELATED: Social Media Has Ruined Good, Old-Fashioned Stalking

22. Don’t Worry If Something Doesn’t Work Out

Those that don’t grow with you may just fall away. And sometimes people simply come together to teach other lessons.

23. Never Let a Relationship Leave You Jaded About Love

24. Don’t Have Bad Breath

25. Don’t Talk About Your Mom Too Much

Girls are wary of a “momma’s boy.” But be sure to talk about her a fair amount.

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