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Last Updated on August 30, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster
When my kids were little, I never thought I would have to worry about teen dating tips. They were going to be little forever, right? Unfortunately, no. Those rambunctious little toddlers grow quickly into mouthy teenagers who think parents are completely clueless. I now have two teenagers and very soon I suspect one or the other will come home to tell me they are interested in dating someone. Since sticking them in a convent/monastery for the rest of their lives isn't really an option, I decided to start looking into a few teen dating tips. Not for THEM...but for ME! How am I ever going to survive their teenage dating years with my sanity intact? If you are worried about this as much as I am, here are a few teen dating tips I have found that might help.
Teen Dating Tips for Parental Survival
Get to know their new love interest: Offer to drive them to the movies or invite them over for dinner. It's important that you know the person who has captured your child's heart, even if the relationship only lasts a short time. Be kind and respectful when you meet them. Don't look at them with suspicion and tell your husband to grab the shotgun. Dating is a natural aspect of growing up and there is no reason to threaten their love interest with bodily harm! You will only succeed in driving a wedge between you and your teenager.
Set the ground rules at the beginning: Every parent will have different rules when it comes to teenage dating. Are they allowed in the bedroom? Are they allowed to close the bedroom door? Do they have to stick to 'group dates' until a certain age or can they go places alone as a couple? Make sure they know from the very beginning what you expect from them.
Don't be naive: Okay, do you remember when you were a teenager? Raging hormones and hiding in corners to make out with your significant other? Yeah...those hormones are raging in your teenager. I may offend a few people here but don't be naive about their physical relationship. Explain why sex should be something special and that unless you can accept the consequences, they shouldn't be doing it. Then, talk to them about birth control. Teen dating tips should include a talk about how to put on a condom and the horrors of sexually transmitted diseases. Teenagers are hormonal and make incredibly stupid decisions at times. Don't let a mistake ruin their entire life.
Keep on eye on their online lives: So much of our teen's lives are online now it is frightening. Let your teenager know that you can and will check their digital lives if you suspect there is a problem. Online dating apps like Grindr and Tinder DO have underage kids on there. Teens are sexting each other and sending nude photos. And things that are put online will STAY online for their whole lives.
Talk to them about aspects of a healthy relationship: Most parents will talk to their teenager about sex but rarely do they talk about healthy relationships outside the bedroom. When you offer your child a few teen dating tips, make sure you emphasise things like treating each other with respect and not being jealous of other friends they may have. They won't know these things if you don't tell them.
Recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship: Abusers, stalkers, and control freaks can start VERY young in life. As a parent, you should be aware of warning signs in your teen's dating life that may signify a problem. If you suspect that your teen may be in an abusive relationship, get them to talk to a licensed professional who may be able to help. Here are some clues that your teen's relationship may be in trouble.
- Constant visits and phone calls
- Having to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Signs of physical abuse
- Signs of depression
Be supportive: Make sure your child knows that they can come to you with whatever questions or concerns they may have about dating. Keep the lines of communication open as much as possible. Respect their privacy when you can but let them know that you are watching them. Sometimes, just the thought of a parent walking in at the wrong moment will keep them on the straight and narrow!
It's not easy to see my kids growing up. I look at them every day and wonder where in the world the time has gone. I miss pigtails and My Little Pony and watching my son gather up the courage to go down the slide by himself. The idea of them dating and falling in love and having sex and getting their hearts broken just horrifies me. But, no matter how far I try to bury my head in the sand, I cannot stop the march of time. All I can do is let them go and pray they stay safe on their way to finding true love! For more teen dating tips check out a mom's guide to teen dating on WebMD.
Have any other teen dating tips to share?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.