If you’re like most parents, you’ve probably said the phrase,”You can’t date until you’re 30,” to your pre-teen or teenager. While parents would like their kids to wait as long as possible to get involved in the dating scene, the reality is that kids are connecting in school, during after-school activities and online. They are forming relationships and becoming infatuated with their friends. Dating can be a troubling time for teens and their parents, but when you communicate dating rules early, teens learn what’s expected and the consequences if the rules aren’t followed.
Face it. Your teen is growing up, which means he needs a little more freedom to explore his likes and dislikes, and to develop his personality. Dating is an integral part of teens’ lives, as they learn how to communicate with the opposite sex. When creating dating rules, be reasonable. Dr. Phil notes that when it comes to dating, parents should avoid being too restrictive, because it may backfire, causing teens to rebel. Create realistic rules for both you and your teen.
While asking a teen to wait until the age of 30 to date is unreasonable, it’s a good idea to come up with an age you think is suitable for your child to go on group dates and solo dates. A “Good Housekeeping Magazine” reprint on the WebMD website notes that children as young as 12 and 14 begin pairing off, but don’t get involved in serious relationship until their later teen years. Along with setting a dating age, explain and outline an appropriate age range for their dates. Set a minimum age and maximum age.
Don’t Miss Curfew
Your teen likely has a curfew in place, but it’s important to reiterate the time you expect her home on date nights. Put a consequence in place that shows your teen that it’s not acceptable to come into the house a minute after the curfew you agree upon.
The Power of Groups
When teens are getting to know each other, especially during the early teen years, group dates are ideal. Not only do they take the pressure of teens to interact in a one-on-one setting, they have teens form bonds and create new friendships and are safer.
Help your teen come up with date ideas that are both safe and fun. The Teenager’s Guide to the Real World Online suggests public activities like ice skating, bowling, going to the movies, concerts, getting ice cream, hiking, museums and picnics.
Your teen should let you know where he and his date are going for the evening. It’s also a good idea to have your teen call you when he arrives to his destination to let you know he arrived safely.
- teen romance image by .shock from Fotolia.com