Is Your Teenager Dating? These Tips Help You Guide Them And Their Relationships
For many parents, raising a teenager is the most daunting part of parenthood. Discipline is hard and almost impossible to maintain. You wonder when to set rules and when to give freedom, when to bend and when to stay firm. Most parents of teens have some fears about when their children will begin dating. While it is a big step in the maturity department, it calls for a lot of caution. Your teenager might be able to date, but he's still a teenager. One who will need lots of guidance, because even with adults, relationships are not exactly a walk in the park. You, dear parent, will need to guide your teen on dating and relationships, step after step. This article contains step by step counsel for how to guide your teen on dating and relationships.
How To Guide Your Teen Through Dating
Everything about teen parenting is complicated and awkward, especially communicating. But it is key and everything is hinged on it. Explain to your teen what a good relationship is. You might think your teen already knows how to date, but they probably don’t. Most of their knowledge is filtered from the media that’s meant to be entertaining, not realistic. Your child needs to understand what it means to be in a loving and supporting relationship. The line of communication must never be shut between you and your teen child. They must feel that they can talk to you about anything and everything.
- Set A Good Example
Much of parenting is about setting a good example anyway, and more so in relationships. Your teenager's first example of a loving and supportive relationship should be the one between you and your significant other. It is difficult to teach your child to love and respect others without first modeling the same love and respect.
- Insist On A Slow Start
Try to do what you can to discourage early, frequent, and steady dating at least until age 18. Early, frequent, and steady dating is one of the single biggest risk factors for teenage sexual activity. Encourage your teenagers to hold the line for as long as possible.
- Teach your teen to date responsibly
Ensure that your teenager avoids pornography, sexually stimulating TV shows, videos, and movies when dating. Also, be sure to talk about inappropriate internet and texting behaviors. Teach your teens to recognize manipulative language and reject such lines as, "If you really love me, you'll do this for me," or "You know we both want to, so don't act like such a prude." Also teach teens the dangers of using this type of language and behavior while dating.
- Offer your Support
Let your teen know you support them in the dating process. Tell your teen you can drop off or pick up him or her, lend a compassionate and supportive ear when necessary, or accompany them for a drink or two to get to know their date. However you intend to support your teen, make sure he or she knows that you are available.
- Always meet and greet
Request that you meet the person dating your teenager each time before they go out. Invite your teen’s date to come in and chat with you about plans, where they’ll be going, curfew times, and driving rules. This will establish the message that you are watching.
- Have realistic talks about sex
While it may be tempting to skip this conversation, it’s in everyone’s best interests to talk to your teen about sex. Ask yourself whether you want your teen to hear this information from you or someone else. We suggest turning the topic into a discussion rather than a presentation. Be sure to get your teen’s point of view and let your teen hear all sides from you. Discuss the pros and cons of sex honestly. Talk about questions of ethics, values, and responsibilities associated with your personal or religious beliefs.
- Have them date in groups
Encourage your teenager to hang out in groups. Or, talk with your teen about planning dates with a buddy or friend. Not only can double dates be double the fun, they also provide a helpful and safe partner for your teen, should one of them find themselves in a difficult or uncomfortable situation while on the date.Support and help is available if you’re having challenges on how to guide your teen on dating, relationships and sexuality. In addition to our advice, there are several resources online to help you start a constructive conversation. Teaching your kids what it means to be in a healthy relationship is simply too important of a message to leave to chance and may even save his or her life someday.
Also read: 10 Obscure Apps Parents need to be aware of