Dating is the start of a new chapter in a teen’s life, opening them to a whole new set of emotions and experiences. Sometimes, these emotions and experiences can be overwhelming if they’re not mentally strong enough or prepared for them. That is why it is extremely important for you, the parents, to play your part in ensuring that they’re ready for a change this big. With proper guidance, dating can be a great opportunity for kids to learn a lot about the opposite gender and also about romantic relationships. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can guide your teen in the area of dating.
Have The Talk
Most of the parents confuse “the talk” with sex talk. While it is also important, what’s more important is to teach kids how to develop and maintain a good relationship. Parents need to work on this missing link. Most of the teens consider dating a time pass, whereas that is not the case. You should tell teens that the main purpose of dating is to have fun and see if there’s any emotional compatibility between them. It is also important to talk about their dating intentions. You must make teens realize that there is much more to dating than having a physical relationship.
Encourage Group Dates
Discourage teens to start dating at an early age. Child experts recommend setting age restrictions when it comes to dating as kids may end up doing something they would regret afterwards. Never encourage teens to start solo dating, Instead, ask them to go on group dates for at least a year. It is for their own safety.
Meet The Date
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to know who your kids are hanging out with. The same holds true for the person they’re dating. While your youngster may argue that it’s not of your business, the fact of the matter is that your kid’s safety, both physical and emotional, is very much your business. Therefore, insist on meeting their date. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long meeting. Just interact with them long enough to judge if they seem okay and genuinely interested in your teen.
Supervise, Not Pry
It is natural for any parent to feel worried about their kids, especially when they are dating someone they do not know much about. But this does not mean that you become a helicopter parent. Supervising kids is fine, as long as you are respecting their privacy. Avoid snooping around or pestering them with questions about their date. Just try to relax and show some faith in your kids.
Respect Teen’s Feelings
Most parents are not ready for their kids to fall in love or start a relationship, but that’s just how life is. If your kids say that they are in love and that they want to have a serious relationship with the person they are dating, then respect their feelings instead of saying things like “you don’t know anything about love”, “you are not ready to be having a relationship” etc., as it can not only offend them or leave them heartbroken, but also shatter their confidence. Although it’s your responsibility to keep them from rushing things, simply asking them to stop is absolutely unfair on your part, and unlikely to do your teen any good.