At a certain age, all teens being to have the desire to date. Whether they want to date someone from their school, someone from your neighborhood, or someone they met at an event, it’s important for you as parents to help them navigate these sometimes uncertain and dangerous waters. So if you have a teenager who you suspect is about to start entering the dating scene, here are some ways you can prepare both your teen and yourself for this new phase in life.
Create Dating Rules Together
Your child’s ability to date should been seen somewhat as a privilege. With this in mind, Peg Rosen, a contributor to Understood.org, recommends talking openly with your teen about what rules your family is going to follow with regards to dating. By creating the house rules for dating along with your teen, you’ll both be able to express any of your questions or concerns with each other and come up with solutions that will work for both sides. Having an open attitude toward dating right from the get-go may even help your child feel comfortable talking to you about certain things that come up during their dating experiences.
Teach What A Healthy Relationship Is
In many instances, dating someone won’t necessarily mean that your teen is in a relationship with that person. Casually dating and seriously dating often come from different types of relationships. Knowing this, it’s important that you’re able to teach your teen what a healthy dating relationship is and what it isn’t. The Child Development Institute recommends sharing with your teen that a healthy relationship is one where both parties respect and support one another. Because this isn’t what teens see when they watch TV or movies or see relationships through social media or the news, it’s up to you to help them define what constitutes being in a healthy relationship and being in an unhealthy relationship for dating teens.
Be Careful When Talking About Their Significant Other
If and when your teen does start consistently dating one person, Shane G. Owens, a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, recommends being care about how to talk about that significant other with your teen. Because many relationships that start in teenage years don’t last very long, Owens recommends not being too happy or unhappy with the person your teen decides to date. Especially if there’s something serious to be concerned about, Owens advises being very careful about how to discuss issues relating to the significant other with your teen. While young love can be fickle, it can also be strong, and you don’t want to jeopardize your relationship with your child just because you said something either too complimentary or critical about the person they’re with.
If you have a teen who’s about to start dating, use the tips mentioned above to help this transition be an easy one for everyone involved.