For many parents, having a teen that wants to start dating is a scary new chapter they would like to postpone for as long as possible. But, the reality is that dating is a normal part of life that we all have been through and at some point, our children have to go through it as well. Although we will always be concerned about the health, happiness, and safety of our children, we need to find ways to support them through this time of their life and be open to communicating with them, so we don’t lose their trust. Here are some tips on how to handle the situation.
Prepare Yourself for Teen Dating
The thought of your teen dating can bring some very intense feelings, but as mentioned before, if we want to be kept in the loop, it’s important to be supportive and have open communication. To be able to be as calm and supportive as possible, if we have these intense feelings, it’s important to first speak with a trusted person about it. Take the time to calm yourself down and discuss this new chapter of your parenting journey with someone who has been through it.
Again, as we said before, dating is a normal and healthy part of people’s lives. And for teens, dating could be anything from chatting on social media and going on group dates with their friends, to one-on-one time with the person they are interested in. Do your best to stay calm and discuss with your child how they envision dating.
Validate the Feelings of Your Child
Never forget that you were a teen once too. If now your own teenager approaches you regarding the feelings they have for someone, make sure to validate their feelings by listening to what they have to say and trying to not be judgmental.
Keep an Open Communication
Don’t shut the conversation and let them talk about the way they feel. Also, make sure to explain how important it is to you to know they are happy, but also that they are safe and protected.
Create a Plan
If possible, ask to meet the parents of the other teen. Together, you can come up with a plan and decide what you’re comfortable with. You can discuss letting them on group dates, at specific times and places. Only when you feel like your children are safe and open with you about where they go, you can let them know and allow one-on-one dates.