Reality star Nikkole Paulun makes her son take her out on dates, and it’s causing quite the controversy.
Nikkole Paulun, who appeared on a season of MTV’s 16 And Pregnant, is getting viral attention for a Facebook post in which she talks about making her son take her out on dates so he can learn “how to treat a lady.” In the caption of a photo she shared over the weekend, Paulun writes that her six-year-old takes her out to dinner, opens doors for her, pulls her chair out, and pays for their dinner using his allowance money.
“Once a month my 6 year old son takes me out on a dinner date. He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, talks about his day & asks me how mine was, pays the bill with money he earned by doing chores, and even tips the waiter/waitress. By doing this I am teaching him how to treat a lady & how to take her on a proper date. How to show that he respects the woman he loves (right now that would be mommy). We put our phone and iPad away (except to take this photo) and sit and talk to each other about our days, things we want to do, etc. I’m teaching him proper table manners and that it’s rude to sit on your phone on a date with your mom or with anyone else. He learns the value of money and how to manage it. He learns how to do math as we add up what we want and make sure we have 15% of it to leave for a tip. Yes he is young but I believe this is something he should learn now. It’s never too early to teach your child how to properly respect others, especially women. Too many men these days have no idea how to treat women or how to take them on a nice date. It’s nice to know my son won’t be one of them.”
Since the (since deleted) post went up, it’s been shared almost 500,000 times and received close to three million likes. Thousands of people have left comments debating whether or not Paulun’s method of teaching “respect” is the right way to go about it, and many seem to think she’s got it all wrong. Some have called her mother-son dates “creepy” while others question whether or not she’d do the same for her daughter. Wrote one commenter:
“While this is a lovely idea, I don’t like the idea that you make your son spend money he earns by doing chores on taking you for dinner. I get the idea behind it, but it’s a little unfair to suggest that unless you make him do that then he’ll turn out to be a bad guy when it comes to women.”
As much as I respect what Paulun is trying to do, forcing your kids to take you on dates really isn’t a necessary part of teaching them how to be decent people. There are millions of people in the world who grow up never having been on a “date” with their mom or dad, yet somehow they still figure out how to be decent and how to navigate romantic relationships. Kindness and respect aren’t limited to romantic partnerships, and there are much more important things to teach a small child than how to be a good boyfriend or girlfriend.
If we want our kids to learn how to interact with people in a respectful and rewarding way, the best thing we can do is treat them as equals and show them they’re valuable just by being who they are. A woman isn’t deserving of respect because she’s your girlfriend; she’s deserving of respect because she’s a person. That same philosophy goes for any romantic partner, friend, parent, coworker, or other person with whom you interact.
Kids learn by example, but we can set a good example for our kids just by fostering a nurturing and mutually respectful parent-child relationship with them. My son doesn’t need to treat me like his girlfriend in order to understand that everyone should be treated with dignity and care.