Tips for Teen Dating

Talking to the children when they are small accustoms them to discussions about many things. These obviously need to be age appropriate but children learn so much by observation that they often have clear ideas about right and wrong. To be able to have such talks also means the parents have to have thought out their beliefs and ideas and be able to express them clearly. At the same time parents being able to admit that they don’t have all this answers ensures the teen knows they are being honest with them. This is especially true about dating. 

The opportunity to raise subjects with children is often best done before the need arises. Eliciting their ideas abut dating can lead to some useful discussions. This way there are no emotional charges which can derail a healthy talk, which interferes with hearing a message or being able to express curiosity or frustration. A show on television might trigger some questions, what has happened in a friend or neighbor’s family is another starting point. The essence is to keep lines of communication open and not heavy. Too many ‘don’ts’ make the youngsters wonder why the insistence, especially if there are no reasons given. 

Parents want to keep their child safe. This involves teaching them about self respect and helping them to know how to protect themselves and not get into situations where they might be in danger. There are times when this happens even with preparation and then the child needs to know what actions to take. 

Walking alone in the dark is dangerous. A mobile call to parents or friends to be picked up is safer. At the start of dating, going out with others means they are less likely to get into situations where they are being pressured for sex. 

Ensuring the teen knows about rape, sexual diseases and abusive relationships and how to counter them is important. Rape can happen to anyone without provocation. There should be no shame attached to the teen. Medical and police help should be sought and they need to know they will have their parents full support. How to practice safe sex should be part of their education. Knowledge protects and information about reproduction and it’s consequences are more likely to keep a teen safe than ignorance. Even in the heat of turbulent hormones, pressure from someone else, curiosity and desire, this understanding will be part of the way to keep the teen secure. 

Abusive relationships are tricky to protect against. People who practice them can hide their tendency until it is too late. However a date who is rough and too physical is obvious. The subtle use of decrying another can also be confusing. If good lines of communication are held between parents and the teen, the child can check whether this is normal or not. Helping them to trust their intuition about negative treatment is useful. 

The teen years are ones of changing body shape, physical increase in size, hormonal demands, expectations and changes in the teen perceptions of childhood and adulthood.  This is confusing. This is not an easy stage for parents and being able to, at least address, any of the puzzles the teen comes up with is a way of helping them to keep safe. The counter aspect of this is that teens cannot conceive that parents have any concept of what pressures they are experiencing.  They are too young and lacking in experience to believe they are not the first all this has happened to. Here a parental sense of humor is vital. 

Talking from an early age, not being shy about discussing ‘difficult’ subjects and being a solid example of behavior are a starting point to give teen hints about dating.