A Letter Every Mother Should Read to Her Son

posted on June 18, 2013 by  |  posted under Boys, Family Time  |  108 Comments

dating expectations from a mom to her son

This is my little boyfriend. He is five. I love him more than life.

Dating Expectations: A Letter Every Mom Should Read To Her Son

Someday, he will become one very lucky girl’s Prince Charming. As much as I want that lucky girl to be the perfect girl for him, I also want him to be prepared for her.

Dating Expectations: A Letter Every Mother Should Read To Her Son

I recently stumbled across this love note from Sara to her young son. I begged for her to come guest post as it is simply the best advice a mother could ever give her son concerning dating. It’s everything in my heart, magically put perfectly into words. Sara, thank you for sharing this sweet advice with us.



Dear Son,

Dating is a tricky thing and doing it right is difficult. But it is honestly, the most important thing you will ever do. Because how you date will dictate who you date. And who you date will become your wife. And who your wife is will determine your future family and so forth and so on. So date wisely.

Here are a few expectations I have for you when it comes to dating:

1. Always ask a girl on a date. Straight forward & direct. AND always ask in person. If that just isn’t possible then ask over the phone. Never, I mean never, ask a girl on a date through a text, instant message, or email.
2. Always take a girl out on a date. None of this “let’s hang out at my place & watch a movie” nonsense. I expect you to pick her up & take her somewhere. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate or immensely creative. Sometimes the best dates are simple, like a picnic in the park. You should always make sure you take her to a place you know she will feel comfortable & enjoy.
3. Open the car door for your date. Open all doors for your date.
4. Pay for your date. No questions asked. Your father & I will make sure you always have money for your dates. Do not ever split the bill.
5. Walk to the door to pick up your date. Never text from the car, or worse yet, HONK! And always walk your date to the door at the end of the night.
6. Use your good senses when it comes to kissing. Don’t kiss every girl, but don’t be afraid to kiss the right girl.
7. Listen to your date. The best dates involve getting to know the other person so take your date somewhere that will allow you to talk. Ask her questions & share insight about yourself. The purpose of dating is to find someone you could spend your future with. So the longer you date a person, the more you should get to know her.
8. Always make your intentions clear. If you aren’t clicking with a girl then end it. Don’t string her along. It may hurt her for a minute but she will appreciate your honesty. And if you are feeling a connection then let her know. A girl loves clarity. It will make the whole dating process easier if you follow this one simple rule.
9. Date around, but only seriously date one girl at a time. Once you’ve found a girl you are interested in and going exclusive with, be faithful to her. Always, always be faithful. If you decide things aren’t working out or you meet someone else you’d like to get to know, refer back to rule #8.
10. Be physical. The right way! Hold hands, put your arm around her shoulders or eventually her waist, kiss her head, put your hand on her knee, these sweet gestures speak volumes & make a woman feel cared for. Going too far physically only confuses the relationship & it can never be undone.
11. Handle her heart with care. Women are strong, but they are also delicate. Don’t ruin that. Do not be responsible for hardening a woman’s heart.
12. Get to know her family & friends and let your family & friends get to know her. Especially Me.
13. When the time comes, tell her you love her, a lot. In fact, tell her all sorts of nice things. Everyone deserves to be complimented.
14. Serve her. Not like a waiter. Perform acts of service for her; make her breakfast, take out her trash, offer her your jacket when she’s cold, you get the point.
15. Surprise her. Again, a little can go a long way. Just stick with small surprises. Bring her a case of her favorite soda, pick her flowers, or show up at her work for a surprise lunch date.
16. Never underestimate the power of the written word. As nice as it is to hear good things, it’s even better to have them written down so you can reference back to them. You should write letters or notes to your love often.
17. When the time is right & you’ve found that special someone, get down on one knee & ask her those 4 special words.

I love you now, forever and always. And know that someday, I’ll love her too.

Love, Mom

Sara started taking her boys on official dates once they hit the age of five. They have a whole lot of fun making memories, but the whole purpose is to teach them how to date.

*Stop by Sara’s blog Team Watkins for more great reads about life, love, and motherhood in Hawaii.

Ddating expectations from a mom to her son - www.howdoesshe.com


Do you have a son who is already approaching those teenage years? Here are some tips with helping them transition from child to tween:
Parenting the (in-be) tweens - www.howdoesshe.com

Sons or daughters, we need to allow them to do hard things. Here are some tips to help teach them how!

Teaching kids to do hard things

    1. June 18th, 2013 at 9:48 am
      Chrissa says:
      Today is my sons 18th birthday and I cannot wait to share this with him. I'm in tears reading it. Love that there's still goodness in the world and it is still being taught somewhere. Great post.
    2. June 18th, 2013 at 1:18 pm
      Andrea Roche says:
      Sara, you are amazing. I just LOVE this letter and will be printing it out for my own sons.
    3. June 18th, 2013 at 1:38 pm
      Bobbi says:
      I have four daughters, and I'm praying that whomever they date will have been given THIS LETTER to read at some point. I am busy trying to raise girls that will be wonderful wives, mothers, and members of society. It's nice to know there are mother's out there raising their boys to love my girls!
    4. June 18th, 2013 at 8:06 pm
      Andrea says:
      Sweet letter, and I'm glad you shared it. I might point out a contradiction in #4 and #7. Assuring your son he will always have your financial support to facilitate dating is counter to the purpose of dating as you stated. Please don't make this commitment to him. He should pay for his own dates, and should not be allowed to go "out" if he cannot do it from his own resourcefulness.(a simple picnic would be do-able for even a poor college student.) Any man not able to provide for a date is not ready for the responsibility of a wife and family, which is the only reason he should be dating (girls are not a form of entertainment.) Set the expectation early that your son should pay his own way, and he will be a better man for it.
      • August 24th, 2014 at 1:47 pm
        Olga says:
        Regarding #4, I don't believe it means that the parents will pay for all dates!! Making sure my son has enough means I will not let him overspend in things not needed, I will help him learn how to manage his resources., i will compensate him for chores and jobs around the house etc., so he can take his girl on dates, I will also make sure he has a decent part time job etc.

        I don't mean the letter writer implies she will pay for it all.
    5. June 19th, 2013 at 11:41 am
      Nicolette says:
      This is the sweetest thing! I have a little boyfriend too and I know I need to start this young. Dates with our kids are such a good idea and I want to start them. Thanks for the ideas!
    6. June 20th, 2013 at 7:33 am
      Rachel says:
      just how I feel. Much of this is good dating advise for daughters also.
    7. June 22nd, 2013 at 10:58 pm
      cristi says:
      Love this idea. I want to do something like this for my sons! Thanks for sharing!
    8. June 25th, 2013 at 8:08 am
      Mari says:
      Love it! It is refreshing! I also agree about speaking face to face and not texting! We need to learn to have conversations again. Letter writing with pen and paper is also awesome. I have had love letters written to me by my husband and after 35 years, I still have them and often refer to them. These are memories that we are creating for the future. Texting will not last the test of time! Many great ideas for dating. Have shared many of these with my sons once. Daughters also need to be aware of how to act like ladies! I hope I prepared my sons and daughters to show respect to themselves and others too.
      • June 30th, 2013 at 6:29 pm
        Sara says:
        That is the sweetest thing! You are lucky to have such romance.
    9. June 25th, 2013 at 8:12 am
      f says:
      You forgot that he will need to ask her father for his permission to propose. That is very important :)
      • June 30th, 2013 at 6:30 pm
        Sara says:
        Yes, that is a total must! Thanks for the reminder.
      • August 29th, 2014 at 9:12 pm
        tartanhead says:
        I agreed with everything until this point. It's one thing to teach my son to be courtly, courteous, and considerate, it's another to teach him to buy into sexist remnants from a time when women were the property of their fathers. I will be teaching my son to regard his intended wife as an equal, to be given the respect of asking her for her own hand - not for permission from her daddy like she can't decide these things for herself, and isn't the one who needs to be the first (and only person aside from my son) person consulted about her future with my son. You probably think it is a cute old custom - I disagree.
        • September 5th, 2014 at 1:04 pm
          Sarah says:
          It's not about tradition, the bond between a Daddy and his little girl is a precious thing and I think it's absolutely appropriate to notify the girls parents of the mans intentions. It's a respectful thing to do, just because he asks her parents first doesn't mean she still cannot make up her own mind.
          • February 26th, 2015 at 9:08 am
            Darcie says:
            I absolutely agree that boys should ALWAYS ask the father figure for permission to marry. It is absolute respect and has nothing to do with old fashioned traditions. If our kids were still expected to respect their elders....well....the juvenile halls would be a lot less crowded!!
            If a person doesn't have enough respect for an "intended's" parents, why would they have respect for anyone else?
    10. June 25th, 2013 at 8:35 am
      Brigitta says:
      This is really beautiful!
      And I agree with Rachel's comment - I think a similar note is just as important for daughters. You know, things like LET them open doors, pay, etc. Plus when reading #11, I can think of a lot of guys I know whose hearts would have benefited from kinder treatment.
    11. June 25th, 2013 at 8:38 am
      Tammy says:
      I think the idea is a great one, however, we teach our children about courting the Bible way. We don't" date" or "touch", we get to know each other through group outings or chaperoned activities. I agree that we should raise our boys to be able to love and take care of a wife and family one day, and also our girls to love a husband and kids as well. We believe that our children should be preparing for a lifelong spouse, and so they don't start" looking" until they are in college and actually old enough to take a relationship seriously.
      • July 15th, 2013 at 10:49 am
        Jen says:
        You can always modify this to fit your own family's ideals, etc.
      • August 12th, 2013 at 11:16 am
        Beke says:
        We are doing the same thing with our five boys. We are reading Josh Harris' book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" with our oldest son right now. he is 14 and this book has sparked so many wonderful conversations. I am so grateful we found this book while his heart was still wholely his.
        • September 5th, 2014 at 1:11 pm
          Sarah says:
          That book sounds great!! thanks for mentioning it!
      • August 31st, 2013 at 12:58 am
        Julie says:
        I am planning on teaching my kiddos that same concept. I don't want them to date around, and give away pieces of their hearts to each relationship, just to give "what's left" to their future wife/husband.
    12. June 25th, 2013 at 9:59 am
      TN Lizzie says:
      I love your focus on the future as you talk with your son. Communication like this now will bless you, him and his bride!

      It will be interesting to see how your perspective on dating might change as your son becomes a young man. As a mom of girls, I pray for young men who do NOT follow some of your rules. To "date around" seems like practice for divorce. I cannot count the number of times in my 21 years of marriage that things weren't working out. But Dear Husband (DH) and I are commited to - stuck on - each other.

      We think of dating like Duct Tape. Give your son a piece of duct tape, and have him stick the piece of duct tape on the sleeve of the first girl that grabs his attention. Then, when he become disinterested, move on to the next girl. Keep moving on - sticking and un-sticking his tape to the girls that interest him, one at a time.

      What happens to his tape? It will lose its stickiness, and it will even get to the point that it will refuse to stick. Relationships are this way, too.

      The relationships we have always leave a mark on us, and always take something away from us. We go through the process of sticking and unsticking our hearts - which makes it harder to attach ourselves in marriage to "that special someone." I don't want this for my girls!

      I look at the world differently now than I did 21 years ago. I wish my mama had talked to me about the dangers of playing with relationships. DH and I have made/keep making the decision to stay stuck-together.

      PLEASE do not think I am being disrespectful. Shelley, thank you for finding gems and then generously making them available to others. Sara, I love your way with words and your gentle way of sharing them with your son. You are great mothers, and I thank you on behalf of your children!
      • June 30th, 2013 at 6:48 pm
        Sara says:
        I really appreciate your opinion. I will definitely remember that metaphor & use it again. I still believe that dating around is the best option to figure out who you are & what qualities you are looking for in a significant other in most cases. But that isn't necessary for everyone. Some young people are able to handle the responsibility & commitment of serious relationships. I am trying to remain flexible to whatever needs my different boys may have. Thanks so much for sharing!
        • July 15th, 2013 at 10:53 am
          Jen says:
          I agree. A single date is usually all it takes to figure out if you do or don't want to get to know someone. At this juncture there's usually no emotional attachment, and therefore, no relationship. Stringing people along is unacceptable, but dating around allows you to experience many different personality types and decide what does or doesn't work for you.
      • December 18th, 2015 at 10:30 pm
        Alivia says:
        i would disagree. My husband and I had much dating experience prior to marrying each other. We are stuck on each other. Our previous experiences gave us the knowledge of what we wanted and didn't want on a partner. When we found each other we knew. I didn't marry until I was 30 and I'm glad I waited and experienced other relationships. It makes me more sure of my relationship now. I think that if I had married before this I would have always wondered if I was making the right choice.

        I love this letter too! I hope I am able to teach my son these excellent ideas when he gets to a proper age. Although it's never to young to teach them how to treat people.
    13. June 25th, 2013 at 10:59 am
      Erin says:
      My 2 cents to add is this.

      Do not invest your feelings if you are not old enough, or close enough to being ready to make the eternal commitment of marriage. If you aren't within 6 months of being ready to be married, it will ONLY END IN HEARTBREAK.
      • June 30th, 2013 at 11:52 am
        Wendy says:
        I completely agree with the first half of this statement, but I am floored by the 6 month deadline!
        My husband and I dated for 6 years before we got married, and I am so thankful that we gave ourselves the time to work on ourselves and our relationship skills before taking our vows. I think every couple has to evaluate their personal timelines together and take that into account before deciding what commitments to make.
        • June 30th, 2013 at 7:00 pm
          Sara says:
          I completely agree.
    14. June 25th, 2013 at 11:09 am
      dave cearley says:
      A friend posted this on my Facebook yesterday.
      Rules for Dating my Son
      We've all seen the rules for dating my daughter. A on-line friend came up with these on her own ~ for girls who think they'd like to date her son ~ with her hubby's help. I think I'll keep a copy and in 16 years or so when any girl decides she'd like to spend time with my precious boy I'll hand her these first.....

      Rule One: If you talk with foul words and dress like a floosy in shirts that are too small and pants low with thong showing, I will treat you like one. You are only allowed to wear granny panties super glued to your hind quarters.

      Rule Two: If you date my son you date only him. He has a kind heart and I will not have you make my son cry; if he does, I will make you cry. You may only date one of my sons. Ever.

      Rule Three: You must know how to cook as well as I have taught my son to cook. He is a big eater. Frozen dinners do not count.

      Rule Four: Do not be hurt when my son chooses sports over time with you. Join in and learn the game. Shopping is not a sport.

      Rule Five: Do not date my son for his money because I am his bank. Do not expect expensive gifts, he has been taught to be a savvy shopper.

      Rule Six: Don't sleep with my son; the only rubber he should be concerned about is out in the driveway and has Goodyear stamped on it.

      Rule Seven: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a pudgy, baggy-eyed, last-season, has-been. But on issues relating to my son, I am the queen of his universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth. If you do not I will ask him. Do not trifle with me.

      Rule Eight: My son has been raised not to hit a lady, so act like one and I will not have to hit you for him.

      Rule Nine: If you need more than 30 minutes to dress for a date with my son, be prepared to talk with him only during halftime and commercial breaks for identification from the local station.

      Rule Ten: My son is not a toy. He does not have Hasbro, Mattel or any other toy company tatooed on his person. Hence, he is not an object for you to play with, manipulate, and discard at your leisure. I suffered through 42 hours of labor to have him, and will unleash an unimaginable amount of anger such that the movie 300 will look like an episode of the Little House on the Prairie should you cross me.
      Posted by ~ Laurie at 1:11 PM
      • August 7th, 2013 at 2:50 pm
        Ami-jeanne Smith says:
        This post is absolutely perfect, so much emphasis is put on the man to treat women and their needs with the highest regard that we as a society have sometimes forgotten the importance in the needs of a man. I feel that it is extremely imperative that this post echo throughout the homes and families of all young daughters in our society. Time and time again I hear of girls not acting "lady-like" in both word and action to my son and his friends. Not saying my son is perfect, because he's not no one is, but I feel a good number of little ladies out there could vastly benefit from hearing these guidelines and then made to practice them. After all, practice what you preach ladies!
      • August 28th, 2013 at 9:09 pm
        Winger says:
        This! This is cool! Men and boys are the ones that have fewer advantages, fewer choices and everything to lose now days. I really don't want my sons tip toeing around to please The Princess - I want him to find the best friendship humanly possible. My husband paid for the first date - I paid the second. We've been married 38 years because we BOTH "play fair".
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:32 am
        Janimal says:
        Hopefully, I won't be giving my son a letter. I'll be teaching him these things as he grows up. Good stuff.

        As to the guy who posted the rules for dating his son, sorry Dave, but that stuff your friend posted is sexist rubbish.
        • August 29th, 2014 at 9:15 pm
          tartanhead says:
      • December 19th, 2015 at 11:20 pm
        Heyley says:
        Wow that's one of the most sexist things I've read in quite some time. Seriously. I have a son and I will never act this way towards a girl he wants to date.. It screams "I'm an insecure mom terrified of another woman taking my son from me." You may think you're the queen but when he marries, his wife will be, and she will control your access to your grandchildren and your son, so be respectful towards her and not always thinking the sun shines out your sons's you-know-what. It's never in your best interest to be rude and sexist about a girl you don't like. And if your son brings home someone who YOU don't think is a lady, stop judging the girl and start judging your parenting skills over your sons choice in women...
    15. June 25th, 2013 at 11:38 am
      Kimberly Poulter says:
      This letter made me cry!! I absolutely love it!! Thank you for posting. :)
    16. June 25th, 2013 at 11:50 am
      Rox Shinobi says:
      I have been blessed with 2 daughters (now 10 & 9) & have been blessed with a wonderful man who takes them on date nights, sometimes together & sometimes one on ones. he stresses the importance of treating someone right & expecting to be treated right.
      my son is now 8 & from watching he has learned to be courteous to a woman: he opens doors, pulls out chairs, asks me how my day went...for God's sakes he loves to vacuum & do dishes! this morning i got to thinking i should take him on dates now & talk to him about how i expect & would love for him to treat the girls he likes & how he should treat the woman he will love...This is absolutely perfect.
      thank you Sara!
    17. June 25th, 2013 at 12:58 pm
      Linda says:
      Shelley, these are some very good suggestions, and goodness knows, I have 6 grandsons who need great "advice" from a mother's heart and from a father. However, the most important thing, I feel, is for the child to have a strong Christian upbringing so they will ground the true meaning of love and commitment through a relationship with Christ. With his strong personal foundation in Christ, then Godly advice from his parents with all that you mentioned above, then we have done all that we can do as parents (grandparents in some cases)
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:35 am
        Janimal says:
        It is important to share your faith and values, but it is just as important for them to be respectful and loving to those of other faiths.

        My kids are being raised Jewish.
    18. June 25th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
      Heather says:
      As a single mom, raising my 13-year old son alone, I am so happy to finally see all the things I've ever wanted to tell him about how to treat a girl, all in one place. If only his father had followed these guidelines, they might have a good father-son relationship, and it could have saved our marriage. I hope and pray that I'm able to raise him to treat a girl much better than his father did. Thank you for the letter!
    19. June 25th, 2013 at 3:15 pm
      Karole H. says:
      I love this, I've saved it and plan on sharing it with my son who is 7 now very soon. I was also wondering if anyone has ever come across something similar for girls and dating for fathers to share with their daughters. I have a daughter who is 3 so she's not quite ready for it yet but I would like to have it for when she is :)

      thanks for sharing this.
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:37 am
        Janimal says:
        There is a book "Daddy Dates" (I bought for my husband) which is wonderful. A man "dates" his 4 daughters. He gets to connect with them in ways he didn't expect, and taught them to have the right expectations for the men they would one day date. It's cool!
    20. June 25th, 2013 at 3:58 pm
      KO says:
      Leave it to someone to try to ruin something so sweet!!
      • June 29th, 2013 at 8:17 pm
        Chelsea says:
        I don't think that ruins anything. I think that's actually a very good point. If you want your children to start dating at the age that they'll begin thinking in terms of finding a woman they want to be their wife, then it would make sense that he should also be able to pay for the date. I don't know that there's any harm in parents helping the boy pay for the date, necessarily, but it's definitely something to consider! I'm not a mom, and didn't grow up with many boys in the family, so this list is something to keep in mind should my husband and I ever have a boy. :) Very sweet.
        • June 30th, 2013 at 11:46 am
          Wendy says:
          I agree; I also think there should be a "Let the girl tell you what she wants" caveat. A date with a gentleman is only as great as the comfort level of his lady companion. If she wants to pay for her meal and open her doors, that should not be taken against her will!
          • December 1st, 2014 at 8:01 pm
            KD says:
            I absolutely agree on the caveat. I dated a guy in highschool who absolutely refused to let me pay, even when it meant multiple dates in a row to the fast food restaurant where he worked so he could get the discount. Every time I said we could go somewhere else, I would pay he just said his dad would be so upset, because that's not how he raised him. I couldn't help but think "so he raised you to put your pride over my comfort and enjoyment of the evening" ? He had the best of intentions, I don't think he realized how uncomfortable it made me, and how silly it made him look.
    21. June 25th, 2013 at 6:14 pm
      Robin says:
      My son is 9 and last year we started a journal back and forth between us. This way if there's ever anything he feels uncomfortable about saying in person, he can write it down. It also gives us something to hold on to. It gives him a record for when he's older. I think this will be a fantastic edition to the journal. I love it! Thank you for sharing!
      • June 30th, 2013 at 7:08 pm
        Sara says:
        Brilliant! I've been trying to come up with ways to improve communication with my eldest & I think this is exactly what we need. Thank you so much for sharing!
    22. June 25th, 2013 at 11:25 pm
      Stephanie says:
      I love that you tackle these topics. I've done "dates" with my son over the years too and I'll cherish them forever! Grooming our boys to be awesome men is something we owe to the parents of all girls out there!
    23. June 26th, 2013 at 2:35 am
      Belle says:
      My dear friend and I were just talking about this very subject the other day. I am so happy to see other mothers all thinking together on the same page. I am writing letters to my sons' now because I want to tell them so much and I am afraid I will forget to tell them something. I really love this. Thank you for sharing.
    24. June 26th, 2013 at 9:02 am
      Patty says:
      Pinned this for my son. This is great advice and I only wish my MIL would have taught my husband these things :(
    25. June 26th, 2013 at 12:35 pm
      Angela says:
      With tears in my eyes, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this post. I have a son, 5 years old and have wondered from time to time how on earth I'll ever manage to teach him exactly the kinds of things in this post. My troubles are over re dating. Now if only someone could point me in the right direction re the 'birds and the bees'?? ; )
    26. June 27th, 2013 at 12:54 am
      Jen says:
      Oh my goodness this brought tears to my eyes as a mother with two boys! I'll never forget my Dad taking my sister and I out on dates (individually) and telling us "when you start dating if a boy doesn't treat you this way on your first date, then there shouldn't be a second!" My son is four and he already knows "ladies first." Gentlemen are a dying breed - but it won't be because of me!!
    27. June 27th, 2013 at 6:35 am
      Michelle says:
      Now if someone could write a girl version of this...what to look for and how to conduct yourself that would be amazing!!
    28. June 27th, 2013 at 7:55 am
      Kim says:
      That is wonderful! You're right....everything I've wanted to tell my son. It's perfect timing because my son is about to turn 14. Not quite to the dating stage yet but a great time to start sharing more insight to dating with him. We have always taught him the right way but to have it in writing so he can reference back, if needed, is great. It's always been so sweet to see him hold doors for ladies, even when he was small and could barely hold it open. Thank you!
    29. June 27th, 2013 at 12:57 pm
      Michelle says:
      I would add one thing... Let her pay sometimes. It is nice as a women to be able to treat your date sometimes too. The man always paying is from back in the time that women did not work so the man had to pay but now girls can get a job just as easy as a boy can. Why should my son have to pay for every date they go on? That is his college money he is using she should pay sometimes too.
    30. June 27th, 2013 at 2:07 pm
      Liz says:
      This is beautiful. I too have little boys and have every intention in raising gentleman. I hope to save this very letter to show them when the time is right. Thanks!
    31. June 28th, 2013 at 12:08 am
      Grace says:
      OMG! This made me cry! I have a 6-year old son as well and will be reading this to him too. Thanks so much!
    32. June 30th, 2013 at 8:24 am
      jill says:
      I love this! I appreciate that she encourages him to date around because ultimately, the process of casual dating is not to find the one but to learn what characteristics you value and how to be the partner you want to be. The idea that you should only date when you are ready to marry sets one up for so much disappointment. The disappointment and heartache of dating teaches us so much about love and recovery and gives us strong skills to help us maneuver through our marriage.
    33. June 30th, 2013 at 6:28 pm
      Sara says:
      Such a good point! I'm sure that would be the better option in most situations. I was thinking of my husbands personal experience. He was a full time student & full time athlete through high school & college. He didn't have the ability to work & earn his own money. Also, his parents never gave him money. He was never able to take girls on dates & he was never able to attend school dances, including prom. He still regrets that. When we first started dating he couldn't afford to take me out. Luckily, I was able to cover the costs but he always felt uncomfortable with me picking up the bill. We plan on our boys being athletes (fingers crossed!) & focusing mainly on school & sports. So if I have to help them financially to ensure they don't miss out on important life events I'm prepared to make that commitment.
    34. July 7th, 2013 at 1:44 pm
      Stacy says:
      Thank you for posting this letter! It is truly beautiful and good words for my two boys to read someday. I can't imagine them getting to that age, but I know it will be here sooner than I am probably ready for! I pray even now about the girls that they will date and eventually marry!
    35. July 7th, 2013 at 10:51 pm
      Erica says:
      I have been "dating" my now 12 year old son since he was 7. We spend Friday evening together going to dinner or some fun activity. It's a good opportunity for him to work on his gentleman manners and sometimes he opens up and talks! We both look forward to the time together, but he doesn't like for me to call it a date anymore though!
    36. July 9th, 2013 at 10:50 pm
      Amanda says:
      I'm sorry, but you need to realise that your son is growing up in a different world to the one in which you grew up in. Women have fought for years to break down the walls of gender inequality, and here you are teaching your son that to be good at 'dating' he must by crudely sexist. Shouldn't you be teaching your son that women are just as interesting and as different to each other as men are, and therefore dating should be about what they girl wants as much as what the boy wants? If a man opened by door and forced me to have my meal paid for, I would run a mile! Teach your son that women are not passive objects of desire, but active participants in the dating relationship, and he will do much better.
      • August 14th, 2013 at 1:47 pm
        Lana says:
        I think this letter to the son was absolutely sweet. Sure there are a few things I would change for my own personal preference but those of you who think this is totally degrading because of gender equality....what about the young men and women who are raised up to date and act as the bible tells us too?? Do you not think our beliefs and values are important enough to us to make that a part of finding a spouse?? If you don't want a man to open your door for you ladies...then I'm sure you wouldn't want to be submissive to your husband as the bible teaches either. That's ok...your child shouldn't want to date a child who was raised up to do these things.....that's where the dating should stop immediately....they are incompatible in more ways than one. You can be passionate about your gender equality but why get angry when we are just as passionate about our beliefs and how we've taught our children to behave??
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:44 am
        Janimal says:
        Amanda, there were a few moments reading this where I cringed a little. But the overall sentiment of this is to teach our sons to be gentlemen, which I am on board with. I wouldn't share this letter word for word because I too, have some different ideas about teaching my children about gender equality. But the values written of here, of being caring and considerate to potential partners, is one I hope to instill in both my kids.
    37. July 10th, 2013 at 7:33 pm
      Lisa M says:
      My son just graduated High School and is 18. I kmow he will think this is corny, but I'm going to share this with him. Thank you so much for this!
    38. July 22nd, 2013 at 11:04 pm
      Carol says:
      I would beg to differ on the "never split the bill". One of the reasons my husband liked going out with me is that I would periodically pick up the tab or split the tab. He unfortunately had been in a couple of relationships where the woman dated him just for what they could get. I, on the other hand, felt the relationship to be more equitable, instead of just being on the "taking" end. At the time we were dating I was making more than he was. He has supported me while I stayed home and raised our son. I wouldn't have had it any other way! We'll be married 25 years this year! :-)
    39. July 27th, 2013 at 7:53 pm
      jenn2059 says:
      Sweet dating advice for teens that is NOT crazy religious. Thanks!
    40. July 31st, 2013 at 1:36 pm
      Violet says:
      As a young woman, I think this is an excellent letter to read to a son. However, I think telling your son to never split the bill or allow his date to pay his rather narrow-minded. I personally prefer to split bills or switch off paying - I don't expect my dates to be able to pay for everything we do, nor should they. I want to be an equal in a relationship - in money, and in love.
    41. August 1st, 2013 at 1:20 pm
      Iyana says:
      I don't have a son yet, but when the time comes, this is a definite must. I started tearing up (at work) just reading it. This is something boys must be taught to do the right way.
    42. August 4th, 2013 at 5:36 pm
      MommaO says:
      When it comes to opening doors and paying the bill - I think some are getting a bit too emotional. In a RELATIONSHIP women and men switch on and off paying for things and opening doors. When you take a LADY out for a first date or few, being a gentleman shouldn't be considered a bad thing. When did it become rude for a man to open a door for a lady? There are more important things to worry about in Women's rights than whether or not a man wants to treat a woman with respect by opening up the door for her.

      Sara, beautiful letter!
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:53 am
        Janimal says:
        I think perhaps many of us are just uncomfortable with the idea of the man always paying. While my son will be raised as a gentleman, he will also respect himself and hopefully not be interested in dating someone who expects him to always foot the bill.
    43. August 17th, 2013 at 2:29 pm
      Rams says:
      This is great.... it states how a man should treat a woman, actually should treat all women.

      There is one thing that bothered me.... that a man should pay for ALL dates, well I believe this is why we have a pay difference between men and women, it's a cultural thing. If women expect men to pay for ALL of the dates, then we should have some more money to be able to.

      Also, only a "lady" deserves this kind of treatment, meaning you're not a whore. If you want to be treated like a lady, then act like one. Don't spend your college days making out and hooking up with a 50+ men.
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:59 am
        Janimal says:
        Mmmmkay, let's add to the list something that your momma didn't teach your.....NEVER refer to a woman as a whore.
        • August 24th, 2014 at 6:07 pm
          Kaitlyn says:
          Some women earn their title honestly.
    44. September 9th, 2013 at 10:41 am
      Candace Fontyn says:
      I also have a 5 year old son, and am so conscience of raising him as a respectful and honorable boy and man. This really meant a lot to me to read, and I am excited to really take it all in as he grows. He already treats girls sweetly and is so polite. Just hope he doesn't grow up TOO soon!!! Thank you for the great read. :)
    45. September 10th, 2013 at 8:15 am
      Lindsey says:
      Also I feel it is important to make it clear my son is not a possible dates or possible girlfriends ATM or "servant". Make it very clear to BOTH girls and boys...if someone cares for you truly and has the same feelings they will treat you with as much respect and caring as you do them...nothing is one sided. If so then referee to #8 ; ] Yes be a gentleman, but she should also act like a lady. A girl/boy should never except any boy/girl to do more for her/him than she/he would be willing to do for him when needed.
    46. October 12th, 2013 at 1:35 pm
      Michelle says:
      MOMS - PLEASE DON'T "DATE" your sons!!! I know it really seems sweet and helpful to them creating positive memories but it is very emotionally harmful to them. If you want to understand why- research mother son emeshment. It will cause them very serious relationship issues and will do the complete opposite of what we as moms are trying to accomplish. Trust me- I wish it weren't true. I have an amazing little man that I would love to do everything with, but I have to put his needs first. I know that people will say that it is innocent, sweet and well intended, but bottom line is that it will cause them major dating problems and problems with long term intimate relationships and marriage.
      • August 24th, 2014 at 1:51 pm
        Kay Maynard says:
        Michelle, Seriously???? She isn't talking about romantic dates with mommy. But a child emulates what he see's. I had daddy daughter dates with my dad. He spent time with me and each of my brothers and sisters one on one. We lost him to cancer when I was 16. I am grateful for the example of what kind of man I wanted in my life as my partner and husband. I watched how my husband treated his mom and sisters and knew he could be that type of man! I think this is beautiful!
      • August 24th, 2014 at 1:53 pm
        Kay M says:
        Michelle, Seriously???? She isn't talking about romantic dates with mommy. But a child emulates what he see's. I had daddy daughter dates with my dad. He spent time with me and each of my brothers and sisters one on one. We lost him to cancer when I was 16. I am grateful for the example of what kind of man I wanted in my life as my partner and husband. I watched how my husband treated his mom and sisters and knew he could be that type of man! I think this is beautiful!
    47. October 23rd, 2013 at 11:16 am
      Noelle says:
      I beg you, please don't ever read this letter to your son! I have four sons and I will raise them so that they are confident on will know how to treat a woman (or man) with respect. They will emulate what they see. I am so thankful that my mother in law did not write a letter to my husband on how to touch me. Give your child some credit. I'm sure the author had the best intentions but let young men rise to the occasion on their own. Let them fail, but be there to pick up the pieces.
    48. November 3rd, 2013 at 7:21 pm
      Denise says:
      I love the idea of mama son dates to help them learn how to. I think this letter is fine, but it's the lifetime of modeling these things that really makes the difference.
    49. December 15th, 2013 at 10:27 pm
      Erin says:
      Very, very well said. I will be sharing this with my son too. I have been taking him on mommy and son dates since he was two and we both look forward to them. There is one thing that I would add to the rule on marriage, and that it to have enough respect for your future wife and properly ask her father for her hand in marriage. Thank you for this letter!
      • November 16th, 2014 at 12:58 pm
        Rebecca says:
        That would've been a deal-breaker for me. Asking the father's hand for permission goes back to when women were property and marriage was a transfer of property. I don't belong to my father - I'm not his to give away - and I don't belong to my husband. And no, my father didn't give me away at my wedding, either. I love my dad, and he knows it; but he also knows how I feel about outdated customs built around the idea of women as property, and he shared those feelings. In fact, given how my dad (a rather conservative man) feels about this issue, I have a feeling if my husband had asked him for permission, he would've kicked him out of the house!
    50. January 7th, 2014 at 3:33 pm
      Stacy says:
    51. March 3rd, 2014 at 11:51 am
      Jennifer says:
      I shared this with my own teen sons when they started dating. It was a great conversation starter. I also shared it with my oldest's girlfriend's mother. OMG! She was NOT happy. She wants her daughters (three and no sons) to be independent women who do NOT rely on "guys" to open doors, foot the dinner bill or offer a jacket in the rain. She has a very different view on how men can/should care for women that does not include "controlling them through acts of kindness". Needless to say, it was a very awkward conversation. My son is often confused, but sticks to the way we brought him up and STILL (nine months later) offers to pay for her, tries to open doors and be the man we taught him to be.
    52. March 14th, 2014 at 8:23 pm
      kdbug says:
      I am not a mom, I am an aunt and my nephew is my world! He is more important to me than people think. I hate thinking about how he will soon grow into a young man and start dating and get his heart broken before he finds the one. This is the sweetest thing I have read! And the mommy dates are a supper sweet idea. Thank you
    53. August 24th, 2014 at 1:44 pm
      Kay Maynard says:
      Also dear son, after she says, "Yes.". After she says "I Do", the dating has just begun. Continue to show her how she is cherished, show her she is loved and special and date your wife. Your wife will thank you, your children will thank you and your momma will thank you for being a man of honor and respect!
    54. August 26th, 2014 at 12:56 pm
      McKay says:
      Should EVERY mother read this to her son? Have you considered your son could be gay? Have you considered that many mothers might have a gay son for whom this letter will serve to isolate, alienate, and confuse? Teaching healthy courtship seems like a great idea. Including a statement that maybe, just maybe, the son to whom you write might grow up to have no interest in dating girls at all might be a kind, compassionate and responsible point to include. Never underestimate the value in teaching him that he is a valuable and wonderful person even if he grows up to find he's not attracted to the opposite sex, that even if this list turns out to be irrelevant to him his mother will still love him all the same. As a gay man I spent my childhood and adolescence in enormous silent suffering because my mother--who loved me very much--did not use inclusive language when teaching my brothers and me about things like dating. If all moms ought to read this to their sons, I can't help but invite all moms to consider doing so in a way that provides a safe space for all son's ears, the majority of whom will grow up to date girls and the silent minority who will not, and who need their mother's love and acceptance all the same.


      • August 27th, 2014 at 8:20 am
        Shelley says:
        Thank you for your insight. This was in no way written to isolate or offend. This was just a sweet general letter a mother wrote to her son. Obviously a mother would never want their child to feel the way you explained. This definitely gives a different prospective and I appreciate your comment. :)
        • August 28th, 2014 at 9:14 am
          Alec says:
          Actually I think most of your advice is applicable to same-sex dating as well. The bottom line is to be respectful, caring and use common sense with your date - that doesn't change if your son is gay. Thankfully we live in a society that is becoming more and more tolerant and understanding of our gay sons and daughters, and providing an atmosphere whey they can date and pursue relationships openly. Thanks again for this letter.
    55. September 1st, 2014 at 7:41 pm
      Denise Coutinho says:
      Thank you so much for sharing this letter.
      My son just turned 9, start showing pre teen atitudes and
      He w ill start 4th grade tomorrow.
      I will share this letter with him as our special 4th gra,de celebration and share
      With other moms too.
      Thank you
    56. September 5th, 2014 at 2:29 pm
      Robin says:
      I love this article. I'm pinning it because I think it has wonderful ideas about how to meaningfully talk to your son about these things. Am I the only one that is a little creeped out by the picture of the mom kissing her son tied with statements such as, "Dating Expectations" tagged underneath? I mean, my son kisses me on the lips several times per day, but I'm not thinking that I'm teaching him/modeling for him how to kiss future girlfriends.
    57. October 27th, 2014 at 1:57 pm
      Melinda says:
      Sara, I have e 2 sons ages 22 and 19. This brought me to tears. I wish I would have seen this when my boys were 5 or even 12. As a single mom with very little male influence, I have tried my best to I would encourage them to be the right man instead of leading them to believe they have to search for the right woman. I think one important point that I forgot to stress is that although they should treat a woman thoughtfully and respectfully,.is never to be taken for granted or advantage of. . But, other than that, this is an innocent and beautiful way for anyone to encourage their sons to date. Love this!
    58. October 28th, 2014 at 6:17 pm
      DrillerAA says:
      Actually, this advice & example should come from the father. My son, you should treat every girl that ye date with the same honor and respect that I show toward your mother. Fathers, lead by example.
    59. October 31st, 2014 at 7:14 am
      Brenda says:
      so sweet so touching
    60. November 13th, 2014 at 10:13 am
      Brooke says:
      Just stumbled upon this…
      Absolutely amazing!
      I don't have kids yet, but this is definitely a keeper!
    61. November 15th, 2014 at 3:31 am
      Rebecca says:
      I should add - I've been married for 15 years to a man who really 'gets this'. He treats me well; I treat him well; we have an equal relationship. We both work very close to the same hours for very close to the same money; we both spend very close to the same hours on unpaid labor (e.g. childcare and housekeeping). I chose him, and he chose me, in no small part because our ideas of gender roles are what they are - he is secure enough in himself that he does not need to perpetrate the Victorian-era myth of the hopeless woman by holding the door or paying for everything; and I am secure enough in myself that I don't need him to treat me like a child in order to feel like I'm protected and safe. We are both capable adults. We don't need to play games, and we never have.
      • November 15th, 2014 at 11:48 pm
        Rebecca says:
        Grrr, so annoying when my first comment was censored. Now it sounds like I kind of agree with this, and I HATE it. Seriously, if you're not going to publish this follow-up, just delete the whole thing. This letter is insulting to women. I don't need a man to hold the door for me; I don't need a man to pay for me.

        And I really don't get a few comments from people saying this is "Biblical womanhood." Where in the Bible are men commanded to hold the door for women? There are plenty of very strong, independent women in the Bible. If you think it's Biblical for men to pay for everything, you really need to re-read that Proverb about women - You know, how a good woman tills the field, weaves her cloth, etc.? She's economically independent. I bet she doesn't let her husband open the door for her, either!
    62. December 2nd, 2014 at 10:09 pm
      kofybean says:
      A real man makes his own rules, not the fanciful stuff his mom tried to bind him with as a child. The moment he gets his first girl he will quickly learn that girls aren't sugar, spice, and everything nice. Then he has two choices, make his own rules, or be a mamma's boy. This list forgets one important thing, in the real world, no woman wants to date a man clinging to his mom's leadership..
    63. December 12th, 2014 at 5:46 pm
      Janet says:
      I just linked to this letter today. I wish it was something I had read several years ago when my NOW, Senior in college, had begun dating. Even so, I can't wait to share this with him now, as so many of the points, are things he NEEDS to do. My 16 year old will benefit from it as well, although, he is not at that dating point quite yet. I just LOVED this letter.
    64. March 4th, 2015 at 11:16 am
      Amy says:
      LOVE this. As mama to two boys (5 & 3 yrs old), I know this day will come and I'm dreading when I stop being the center of their universe. I also know I want the right girl to experience how wonderful they are. The only addition I would make is to #13--don't say it if you don't mean it!
    65. April 24th, 2015 at 12:41 pm
      Roseann says:
      Ladies I need some help! My 16 yr old son is dating a 21 yr old girl. He looks a lot older then he is and I'm sure he is not being truthful to the girl about his age. I found out her age by poking around on instagram and facebook. I confronted him and now he has not spoken to me for a week! I'm sick over this I don't know what to do but I know that I do not want this relationship to continue. I want to confront the girl but I don't know if that will make things better or worse. Any thoughts / comments will be appreciated
      • April 24th, 2015 at 2:15 pm
        Katie says:
        Would you like us to pose this as a reader question on Facebook? So sorry for your stress, sounds awful! Hang in there!
        • April 24th, 2015 at 3:14 pm
          Roseann says:
          can the question be asked anonymously. I do want advice but don't want my son to find out. I guess I'm just trying to find other moms perspective on this?
          • April 24th, 2015 at 5:30 pm
            Katie says:
            Oh yes absolutely anonymous. Such a hard thing being a mom, isn't it? Hang in there!
    66. May 29th, 2015 at 12:18 am
      Ash Smith says:
      There should be a letter from dad to daughter as well on how a man should treat her and how to treat him as well! Girls need to brought up in manner that their feelings matter too and not to just sleep with someone to feel loved or accepted. If he starts being abusive or unacceptable in any way, I would hope she would know the right thing to do! A letter from daddy would be awesome to read.
    67. October 28th, 2015 at 6:58 pm
      Carmen says:
      I'm teaching my 3 sons to treat girls as equals. This list seems a little sexist to me.
    68. January 29th, 2016 at 11:23 am
      Kirsten says:
      The idea of parents "dating" their children is incredibly creepy. Spend time with your kids because you love them and enjoy their company, and teach them how to behave correctly towards EVERYONE they meet. Don't call it dating.
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