Hey M,

I’m old enough to date but my mom says no. I think she’s just being mean because she has arthritis and is taking it out on me. Tell her to loosen up.

14 and ready to party.

Dear 14,

While I am not in an objective position to say whether you are in fact ready to date or not, your tone suggests that you are in fact not.

Dating is not a trivial matter – you need to be aware and properly weigh the responsibilities and considerations that come with courting someone.

You might display that you are ready to date by showing your mother a little bit of empathy. Arthritis or any other chronic disease is not something that you should not take lightly. Many times, she has to suffer the pain and complications of having arthritis in silence. Once you consider that sometimes it takes every ounce of energy she has just to get out of bed in the morning, you might finally find yourself in a position where you can also respect someone that you are dating.

Once you can understand someone’s needs in that kind of capacity you will have earned admittance to one of life’s most enjoyable (yet potentially heartbreaking) rites of passage. That is when the “party” begins.

Be safe, and good luck.


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