If you are like most parents, you cringe at the thought of having to give teenage dating advice to your child. Because parents remember what it was like to be a teenager, including dealing with raging hormones, the effects of peer pressure and the desire to feel accepted, parents often wonder if their teenager will make wise choices when it comes to dating. How can you give appropriate teenage dating advice?
Establish a trustworthy relationship with your teenager that consists of open communication. Make yourself available to your child when she needs or wants to talk and give your full, undivided attention to her. Your teenager should feel confident that she can come to you if she feels threatened, pressured or overwhelmed with dating. Tell your teenager that she can call you while on a date if she feels unsafe.
2. Be Realistic
While parents must set boundaries and limits for their teenage children, these boundaries must be realistic. Establishing clear, realistic limits will enable your teenager to follow the set rules. Sit down with your teenager and create understandable rules, such as curfew, permissible dating spots, etc.
3. Be Helpful Rather than Dictating and Hurtful
While some rules must be established and followed in the parenting process, help your teenager with her dating problems instead of being hurtful. While it might be hard to watch your teenager go through a bad breakup or become saddened due to a cheating partner, this is how your child will learn. Comfort your teenager, but let her make mistakes she can learn from.
4. Have the Sex Talk
To avoid sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy and a sense of regret, talk to your child about sex and how she will know if it's the right time. Stress the importance of waiting until marriage for sexual intercourse. Teenagers often engage in sexual activity to feel loved and included, as peer pressure develops.
It is important to teach young men and women that having sex comes with big responsibilities that they likely are not ready for. In addition, it is necessary to teach teenagers the importance of respect. They should know that if their date says "No" to a proposition for sex, it means no and continuing to pressure or force constitutes rape.
5. Continue Talking Long after the First Discussion
Once you have had discussions about sex, dating, relationships, respect, etc., don't drop the ball there. Continue to emphasize these lessons throughout your teenager's dating years, freely discussing topics as the need arises.
6. Be a Good Role Model
Because children and teenagers are observational learners, you should feel certain that your teenager is learning about relationships by watching you. With that in mind, stand back and scrutinize your relationships and how you treat members of the opposite sex, especially your spouse or partner. Teenage boys or girls that come from abusive homes are more likely to become an abuser themselves. Similarly, teenagers that come from loving and supportive homes are more likely to show that same love and respect in their own relationships.