Mom advises parents to suggest the 'rule of 12' to their children when they are about to start dating in their teenage years.
The one thing most teen and tween parents dread is the conversation about dating. It is evident that at that age, they are going to jump into this part of their life and test the waters. Gwenna Laithlan—who goes by @mommacusses on TikTok—understood this issue at hand and made a video to help parents going through this situation. She calls them "Rules of 12" because they are related to the number 12. She mentions clearly that just because these rules have worked for her family, does not mean they will work for others. They need to go through their own journey and experiences to find what works for them.
The mother captioned the video, "You have to have this conversation. But it doesn't have to be weird." She is implying that by following certain guidelines, parents can communicate their message without awkwardness. The video begins with a disclaimer from the mother's side: "I did not come up with these in my own gray matter. Parents who have come before me taught me these tips. And now I'm just passing them on to you." Thereafter, she gets into the first rule.
"Rule 1: Your age should be within 12 months in either direction." Laithlan further explains this rule by sharing that in those young years, the emotional maturity between the partners needs to be in tandem. This can only happen when they are close in age. As people grow up, this gap closes. She gives her own example, stating that she shares a two-and-a-half-year difference with her partner. It worked only because they met in her late 20s and he was in his early 30s. By that time, the "developmental and maturity gap" had closed off between both parties. This is unattainable in the teen years.
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The second rule was, "You should give yourselves 12 weeks together before considering physical intimacy." She makes it evidently clear what she means by "intimacy." The mother is not referring to public display of affection, hand holding, hugging, or even kissing; she is referring to sex. Her explanation is that one should properly know the other person for a significant amount of time before introducing the complexities of physical relationships into the dynamic. Therefore, she requests the teens to give it 12 weeks before they choose to proceed in their relationship. And if they choose to do so, her reaction is, "Alright, well, be safe."
The comment section was in agreement with these rules. @madibold shared her honest opinion about the rules and wrote, "I think 12 months is a tiny bit strict, especially in like 11th/12th grade but it’s definitely a starting point." @laelliea believes that it varies as per the situation and commented, "My husband and I met when I was 25 and he was 30 and it worked. However, my ex-husband and I met when I was 18 and he was 23; didn’t work. Both 5 years and 1/2." @nicoleavila6 wrote about the rules put in place by their mother, "My mom's rule was that if you're not comfortable enough to talk to them about birth control (like really talk to them), you shouldn't sleep with them.