Parent guide to teenage dating
The group eats dinner together, poses for pictures together and attends the dance together. ’”What to watch for: Officially, it’s OK for kids who aren’t part of a large friend group to go with just a date or with another couple, and it’s OK for kids to go “stag.” Unofficially, there are unwritten rules that your teen knows might discourage him from attending even if he wants to.
Of course, kids who already have relationships — and even some still in the talking phase — will go with that special person, but still as part of a group. If that’s the case, the only thing you can do is offer support and perhaps plan a trip or outing for that night.
Try to be open to discussing it, rather than lecturing them.
You want them to listen to your opinion, yet at the same time feel they are making up their own mind.
Dating is a time of social experimentation for teens.
It’s a time to test out which type of partners appeal to them, and how they can negotiate a romantic relationship.
These first relationships usually don’t go beyond chatting, posing for pictures later posted on social media and requests to attend coed group outings.
What to watch for: It’s time to have the “values and expectations” talk if you haven’t already.
This is a prime opportunity to find out what they find appropriate and desirable in a romantic partner, says Crystal Reardon, director of counseling for Wake County Public School System. You have to respect your children’s feelings but also want to help keep them safe.”What to watch for: Girls usually don’t want to bring someone they’re just talking to home to their parents, say both Megan and Jennifer, so be prepared for some flak if you insist.“You never want the guy to think you’re going, ‘Oh, we’re dating, so I want you to meet them,’” Megan says.
On the other hand, she adds, “if you’re really dating, at some point you absolutely do want your parents to meet him.”Events are a Group Experience Your teen doesn’t have to be dating or talking to anyone to have a date to the prom, winter formal or Sadie Hawkins dance.
Teens also learn how to be both assertive and compromising, how to be giving to another and how to expect the same in return. Show them how you compromise, stick up for yourself, give and expect respect and argue but love your spouse. Tell girls that they do not need to have sex to keep a guy. Many kids are having these forms of sex because they tell themselves it’s not really sex. Then tell them about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
All of this is a sort of practice session in order to find “Mr.” or “Miss Right.” Unfortunately, too often teens start dating with no preparatory talks from their parents and then they can get into trouble. You hope they will wait to have sex, but if they don’t, it’s best that they protect themselves.
We’re learning this at the same time our children are navigating through it.”What follows is a teen dating primer to help your child — and you — forge the valley between child and young adult.