The Process by Which Elders Give Advice to Minors About Dating
The concept of courtship and dating has been transformed in the face of youth culture and the generation gap that exists between the young people of today and their parents. With this change, there is also a shift with regard to the advice that elders give the youth on the topic of dating. Not only does the advice vary from generation to generation, but it also varies from culture to culture. In this paper I will discuss the process by which elders give advice to minors in the realm of Panamanian culture.
There are 4 relationships that must be considered when examining the speech act of advice giving for the specific topic of dating. These relationships include, but are not limited to the following:
a) Mothers to daughters
b) Mothers to sons
c) Fathers to daughters
d) Fathers to sons
MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
Dating is considered a rite of passage, a way of carrying out the preservation of family, and it ensures that generations will follow through. Though dating should be fun, elders view it as a serious matter because it is a vehicle through which the formal institution of marriage is established and it provides continuity for race through child bearing.
With the advent of puberty, girls send out signals to their mothers indicating that they might be ready to date. Depending on the age of the child, the mother will set the limits and
speak about patterns, customs, habits and the right time to begin dating. The conversation usually takes place in an informal type setting based on the need. The tone of the conversation varies according to the circumstances surrounding the exchange.
The initiation of the advice giving process usually takes the occurrence of an event to trigger the conversation. It is hardly a planned, mapped out or timed event. For instance, the mother might hear a rumor that her daughter is attracted to some young man or that she has kissed him, or the daughter might express her wish to date. Each one of these circumstances might trigger a distinct approach from mother to daughter. For the first circumstance where it was rumored that the daughter displayed interest in a young man or kissed this young man, the tone could be chastising, scolding, and judgmental. Whereas if the daughter directly indicated her desire to date, the tone could be in a more conversational manner. It would be warning, guidance and model oriented. If the mother and the daughter do not agree on the issue of dating there will be emotional outbursts on both the part of the mother and the daughter.
MOTHERS AND SONS
In every culture there is a stark differentiation between males and females. In my culture as in many others, men are viewed as the stronger sex and are viewed as having unbreakable hearts. Young men are not lectured by their mothers the way they lecture their daughters. In our culture, just because the boys do not get pregnant, there...