If you are the parent of a teenager, it is likely that dating has changed a lot since you were their age. The biggest difference is how much younger boys and girls are when they first begin dating. The changes in teenage dating protocol make it necessary for you to devote a little time to familiarize yourself with the social situations presented to your teenager.
One of the biggest questions you will face as a parent is when to allow your son or daughter to go on a solo date. This situation will arise for most parents long before they are comfortable with the subject. Many experts feel that options like ‘group dating’ is much more appropriate for teens and early adolescents. Solo dates should probably be reserved for teenagers who are at least 16 years old or older.
Discussions about love
As a parent, you will naturally want to drive home points to your teen regarding sex and all the reasons it is a bad choice for teenagers. However, do not forget to discuss with your teenager how wonderful it is to love and to be loved. You will likely find your teenager has considered love and its possibilities a lot more than you imagined once they are comfortable enough to talk to you about these issues. Remember, your own love resume does not have to be perfect in order for you to impart wisdom to your teenager.
Puppy love is still love
Adults are often cynical regarding the merits of a love professed by a teenager. For the most part, adults view teenage love as a chemical malfunction that needs to be adjusted. You should not minimize or downplay the first venture into the world of love and romance by your teenager. Their feelings and relationships are important to them and it helps them to know you care also.
However, it is just as important to remember you are a parent and not only a friend to your teenager. If schoolwork or other responsibilities begin to suffer as a result of a relationship, a time-out may be necessary.
Coping through a first heartbreak
A break-up is never easy at any age. However, adults know from experience they will endure the current challenge as they have in the past. Teenagers do not have this advantage of prior life experience and can quickly feel they are in a bit of bottomless emotion they can never escape the first time they are rejected by a romantic interest.
Break-ups are devastating to the psyche of teens and in extreme situations can even be the catalysts for suicidal thoughts and attempts. It is important you know what to say and do to help your child through this time. It is also important to know what not to say.
- Acknowledge the pain your teen is feeling but assure them happiness will find them again very soon.
- Refrain from discussing your dislike for the former love interest of your teen.
- Allow your teen to grieve.
- Do not push for social interaction.
- Tell them a story about your teen years.