Their will be many milestones that your teen will have to face and hurdle over in their adolescent years. Dating is definitely one of those areas that will arise and you as a parent will need to ready to talk openly with your teen and assist them in this process as with any other. Your teen will not automatically know what to do, what is acceptable by you, or how you truly feel about them dating unless you talk to them openly and honestly about it. I would like to go over 5 areas that you will need to consider as a parent and then be able to address these issues/concerns with your adolescent.
First, your teen needs to understand that it is normal to want to date. It is appropriate at this age to be attracted to the opposite sex and want to explore getting to know someone. In your teen years, you surely felt the same way. It is important to not make your teen feel ashamed or different because of their feelings. Girls will likely be more vocal about wanting to date, but don’t be mistaken to think your son is not interested also. If you haven’t already, this is a good time to start pointing out the type of qualities your teen should want in a friend, which can lead to a girl/boy friend.
Secondly, remember your child does not know how to date. They only have to go by, what they have seen friends, older siblings or possibly parents do. It is important that you help them to navigate the do’s and the don’ts. These must be catered to your family values, and beliefs. It is important that if you are married that you model positive interaction with your spouse to your child, and if you are single practice “good dating” yourself. You don’t want movies, videos, and other teens setting the bar for your child.
Thirdly, When you speak with your teen on the subject of dating, be sure to present a calm and together approach. You may be nervous, but it is best to have an informed, calm conversation with your teen. During these years to come you don’t want your adolescent to pull away, but to draw near.
Fourth, your teen will need privacy. This will be a hard task for some parents, but you will need to take a step back. Be available to your teen, but try not to pry or jump to conclusions. You will need to trust that you have raised and equipped them to make some right decisions on your own. If you become to pushy and overbearing you will setup a situation where your teen may go to great lengths to fool or deceive you.
Lastly, be available. Your teen as with many others will make a bad judgement call or decision at some time or the other. Let your adolescent know that your are available for them always to talk, too listen, to pick them up from a place they never should have been. Your teen has to know that you are for them at anytime, and at all cost.
Denise Witmer Parenting Teens Guide