Do you remember the day that you walked up to your parents and asked them if you were old enough to start dating? Oh, how the memories come rushing back. Now that you’re the parent, it’s time to use those memories and create a few tips for when your teenager starts to date. It may feel that the time comes out of nowhere, but trust in the fact that if your child is in their teens, they’re more than likely already thinking about going on their first, and possibly multiple, dates!
It may seem like forever ago but I think back to the day when I was a teenager and suddenly realized that boys, or girls, truly existed. You know the moment…You had a friend that you’d spent the last several years of your life hanging out with, and you suddenly realized that you may like them a bit more than a friend.
4 Helpful Parenting Tips for when your Teenager Starts Dating
As with any situation involving your children, communication is key is being able to focus and make the best decisions. When your teenager comes to you and tells you that they want to start dating, don’t overreact. You don’t know what “dating” means technically in their mind, so it’s always good to take it slow and figure out exactly what they are thinking so then you can plan accordingly. (In all reality, dating in their mind can even mean a “group” date with friends just going to the movies…you never know!)
Always have a minimum age in mind for when your teenager is allowed to start dating.
Children tend to know when and how to catch parents off guard rather easily, so it’s important to be as ready as possible when the dating conversation rears its head. If your teenager isn’t allowed to start dating until they are 16, then you need to know that, believe that, support that and communicate that to your teenager as well. Explain it in a way that isn’t limiting, but rather as more of a collaborative “house rule” that applies that every child who lives under your roof. That way, when your child comes up to you and asks if they can go on a date, you don’t just immediately say “no” without having any sort of backing or resource.
Create house rules that must be followed.
Once your child reaches that agreed upon dating age, the next part is to have a set of house rules that have to be followed. This is where it can vary depending on households, but some house rules to consider can include that you have to meet the boy or girl face to face before the date begins, that they have to come up to the door of the house and pick up your child for the date, and that you need to have met their parents in advance as well. Depending on what you feel comfortable with or feel is necessary will cause these house rules to vary, but it’s important to have some and then enforce them once your teen starts dating.
Talk to your teenager about the importance of not being forced to do anything that they don’t want to do.
Whether you want to admit it or not, your teenager child has entered the years of puberty, peer pressure, and sexual exploration. Instead of sweeping those uncomfortable situations under the rug, it’s better to just address them head on and talk to your child about them. Even though your teenage child may act like that are annoyed by you, deep down they will remember what you say and appreciate the fact that you care!
Set a curfew and remind them as they walk out the door.
You know the old saying…right? Curfews were made to be broken. But, when it comes to the dating life of your teenager, curfews have to be set and reminded to your teenager as they are leaving the house. It’s amazing how quickly the time can be forgotten when out having fun! If you communicate a dating curfew, your child can and will adhere to it!
Don’t stress about the teenage dating years! They are actually quite fun and are a great time for your teenager as well. As long as you take the time to communicate with them, be patient with them as they figure out everything that comes along with dating, and be there for them when they need you or have a question, the teenage dating years will be a breeze!
It may be difficult to watch your teenager begin their dating life, but just remember that you were once there as well, and your parents were going through the exact same emotions. Once the decision has been made to start dating, it’s time for your parental instincts to take over and help guide them to make the best possible dating choices for themselves.
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