Dating 101: The Teen Edition
In your eyes, they're still just babies -- but those babies have grown up! Rather than have a meltdown when your teen comes home and utters the question, 'can I go on a date?' be prepared with our guide to navigating this tricky time in life. It'll ease not only your anxieties, but your teen's anxieties too.
Establishing an open line of communication is paramount -- especially during this age in your child's life. Encourage him to be open and honest with you and let him know that any question he may have is welcome. Be honest with your child regarding your expectations of him and also discuss important values in your family.
While the idea of your teen dating in general may be uncomfortable, one way to ease some stress is to set some boundaries. Curfews, chaperones and letting her know what kind of dates are or aren't okay, will let everyone know where the line is. Be prepared to outline any consequences should she cross these boundaries and any potential ways she can earn your trust for fewer boundaries in the future.
Discuss his/her responsibilities
Let your teen know that letting them date is a privilege. Dating costs money, and it also takes up valuable time that's otherwise been allocated toward school, work or other extracurricular activities. Is your teen truly prepared to juggle all this? Be sure to emphasize that should grades, household chores or other responsibilities fall by the wayside, dating privileges may be taken away.
At any age, a fresh relationship is new and exciting. But when it comes to inexperienced youth, there's plenty of room for bad decisions. Take this opportunity to talk to your teen about what makes a healthy relationship, what he/she should expect from his/her partner and in return, what he/she should give. Emphasize that the line of communication with you is always open in case your teen ever feels the need to discuss an uncomfortable situation that may arise.
There's no way around it, so be prepared to talk about sex. While it may feel a bit awkward realize, it's uncomfortable for your child, too, so try to be as casual as you can and lead the conversation. It's always best to address the subject openly and honestly -- and sooner rather than later.
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