Help!! My Teen Wants to Begin Dating
Author: Aurelia Williams
Ah, dating. It’s a part of every teen’s life. It’s also a source of stress for most parents when their child reaches this pivotal point. It doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are a few tips to help you keep the fear at bay when your teenager starts dating.
Age: More than a Number: Just because it seems like every other parent on the planet is letting their teen date, doesn’t mean you have to. Especially if your teen isn’t ready. Keep an eye out for signs that your teen is really ready to date. Dating shouldn’t be based on age alone. Take into consideration maturity and not just physical maturity. Emotional and mental maturity is more important when your teen starts dating.
Open Communication: Keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your teen and be honest about your feelings. Listen to their feelings as well. You might be surprised to find that they are just as scared as you are. Also, don’t immediately go off the deep end the first time you hear the phrase “Check her out!” or “He’s hot!” Be there for your teen when they experience the good and the bad of their dating experiences.
Groups Dates: If you are uncomfortable letting your teen go on a one on one date, try letting them go with a group the first few times. Even if the group is split up in pairs, it still allows your teen to feel like he/she fits in, but you’ll have the safety of knowing that it’s not just your teen against one other if something were to go wrong. Public places, such as bowling alleys or miniature golf courses are a great option for group dates. Take a little time to get to know who your teen is hanging out with.
Respect all Around: Teach your teen to respect the opposite sex long before they begin dating. Remember, they can’t respect someone else before they respect themselves. Make sure your teen truly respects him/her before allowing them to date.
Rules: Set rules before your teen begins dating and stick with them. The days of courting and getting permission may be gone, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to know who your teen is with, where they are going, how they are getting there, and when they’ll be home. Set a curfew that you feel comfortable with and keep in mind any laws in your area when doing so. Just because your town’s curfew may be midnight, doesn’t mean your teen should stay out that late if you aren’t comfortable with it. However, an 8 o’clock curfew won’t go over well at all and will likely lead to rebellion from your teen at some point. Find a happy medium that you are both comfortable with.
Need more free tips on parenting teenagers? Parenting My Teen Podcast discusses this and other teen issues parents face. You can also pick up the Parenting My Teen Oath while you're there.