About Teenage Dating

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Dating is a natural part of growing up, but watching your teen go out on his first date can be difficult for you. Today's teenage romance may not be similar to the types of interactions that you had as a teenager. In fact, you may not even know that your teen is dating. There is perhaps no time when it is more essential for you to keep the lines of communication open with your teen.

Dating is a natural part of growing up, but watching your teen go out on his first date can be difficult for you. Today's teenage romance may not be similar to the types of interactions that you had as a teenager. In fact, you may not even know that your teen is dating. There is perhaps no time when it is more essential for you to keep the lines of communication open with your teen.

Benefits of Dating

Dating allows your teenager to learn about and experience romantic relationships, which will lay the groundwork for a long-term partnership later in life. It may be a casual date, where the kids are just getting to know each other, or it may be more serious, with the teenagers considering–or having–sex. Either way, dating teaches your teen how to have a mature, adult relationship, which includes communication, compromise and responsibility.

Set Rules

Depending on your teen's age, you may want to establish some rules for dating. For example, you may want to meet the guy she's going out with before she goes on her first date. You may set a curfew, or you may require her to contact you at a certain point. Set these rules before the dating starts so that she knows what to expect.

The Talk

As your teen starts dating, there's a good chance that he's also thinking about sex, even if he's not going to do it tonight. It's important to talk about sex, your values about sex and practicing safe sex–long before he needs to hear the speech. Treat boys and girls equally when discussing these topics. Don't tell your daughter that she should wait for marriage while giving your son a package of condoms. Sex is an important decision for both sexes and could have consequences for both.

Group Dates

Dating isn't always one-on-one. If your teen is going out in groups that include both boys and girls, there's a good chance that the kids are pairing off. Group dating can offer more security, but there can also be peer pressure involved. Talk to your teen about how she can resist peer pressure so that she doesn't have to do something that she doesn't want to do.

Supervision

Teens who do not have supervision after school are more likely to be having sex. If your teen comes home alone, you may want to ask a neighbor to check on him or require him to call you periodically to make sure that he's not having sex in your home if you don't want him to be.

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