When your child starts dating, they’re going to want to have their own opinions about the relationship. This is why it’s important for parents to set rules about dating and how they expect their children to behave.
Although they’ll probably hate you for it, your teen will benefit from having regular conversations about dating-even if they don’t want to date yet.
There is no magic age that a child is ready for one-on-one dating. It’s a choice that should be made on an individual basis, depending on maturity level and whether or not a teen can fully comprehend the ramifications of their decisions.
If your teen is going to start dating, it’s a good idea to discuss their expectations and values with them before they begin. This can help them set boundaries that will protect them and keep their relationships healthy.
For a fun, inexpensive date that will show your teen how much you care about them, try taking them on a photo scavenger hunt. It’s a great way to see how well they can work together! Or, take them bowling for a fun and playful date. It’s okay if there are a few tiffs or confusion every now and then, but be sure to watch out for dramatic shifts in their mood and behavior. This could be a sign that they’re not feeling comfortable or safe in their relationship.
As teens begin dating, it’s normal for them to want to spend time with other couples. This is a great opportunity to talk about friendships and dating, as well as explore sexual interests with their peers.
Group dates can be a great way for teens to explore their interests, have fun and make memories without the pressure of a one-on-one date. It’s also a good time to discuss how to handle a disagreement or problem with a friend.
If you have a teen who wants to go rock climbing but doesn’t have the money for a gym, search online for local recreation centers that may offer a similar experience at half the price. Or, if your teen loves to eat, set up a foodie date with a double by writing down a list of fast food restaurants or cheap eats and putting them in a hat for a draw. The first couple to finish their list wins a meal and a photo op!
As teens explore their relationships, they may go online to message a crush or meet up with friends. This could be on social media, dating apps or other sites. Parents need to understand that these environments can have their own unique challenges.
Across platforms, teens are most likely to post about their family and emotions, with older girls more likely than younger boys to talk about their relationships. Parents should talk to their kids about social media and make clear guidelines. Parents should also consider their child’s maturity level when deciding if their child is ready for dating. Each child is different, and shows varying levels of maturity throughout their teen years. The bottom line is that it’s best for teens to experiment with healthy friendships, rather than romantic relationships, until they are developmentally able to handle the ups and downs of a relationship.
During this age and stage, your children will experience increased awareness of their body changes and sexual development. Their questions and thoughts may be more open and candid. This is a great time to teach them about healthy boundaries and respectful behavior in relationships.
Depending on your child’s past experiences, their physical maturity and mental maturity, they may be ready for one-on-one dating. This is the time to set ground rules about dating and make sure they are clear with their date about expectations, responsibilities and sex.
Teens at this age are often confused about sexuality. They will likely want to know more about sex and their bodies, especially their genitals. They will probably be experimenting with masturbation. In addition, they will be exploring sex with opposite gender friends and peer groups. In fact, Add Health data suggests that over half of sexually active teens report having casual sex partners outside their dating relationship.