The moment you realize your child is old enough to start dating can be pretty disturbing, no matter what kind of parent you are. Because of your experiences, you’ll probably fear that they’ll make the same mistakes you did. You know what heartbreak feels like and how easy it is to get in over your head. This article lists five tips on how you can handle teen romance more easily.
How Teen Dating Has Changed
Before we get into anything specific, it’s essential to explain how teen dating works nowadays. Namely, the major difference is the internet, social media, and the ever-present smartphones. But the general idea is still the same. Both boys and girls want to experience romantic love, no matter what they tell you.
However, their inability to lay off their phones is what makes them so hard to control. And no, no one’s saying that you should intrude on their privacy; it’s just that every parent wants to know that their child is safe from predators or any other problems real life has in store for us. After all, they’re young and gullible, and therefore, prone to emotional distress.
Teen Romance Is Normal
It’s no secret that some teens start dating before others. Still, most of them think about it and have romantic expectations. Some are just more vocal and like to express their desires openly, while others keep it to themselves. Nevertheless, throughout their high school and college years, they’ll probably date a lot.
Once you realize that your child is beginning to show interest in romance, it’s the perfect time to start talking about love and sex. You should level their expectations and openly explain how things work. Of course, leveling their expectations doesn’t mean destroying their hopes and dreams but rather keeping them realistic. You should always be supportive, regardless of their sexuality or love interest.
Dating Builds Relationship Skills
Entering the world of romantic relationships is as scary for teens as it is for their parents. The thing is, you risk rejection, which is a big deal for most people, especially during the formative years. But you also learn how to be a partner and what dating really means. It’s like being thrown into a new world without any previous knowledge of it.
Dating is all about skills such as communication, thoughtfulness, and intimacy. Yet, some young adults might have unrealistic expectations about being in love. Their ideas might come from romantic movies, books, and pop culture in general. As such, you must talk to them while not ruining their hopes of a happy love life. You need to give them a chance to develop the aforementioned skills that they’ll use later on in life.
Your Teen Needs ‘The Talk’
One of the most common problems parents experience with their children is their inability to be frank about things while also being supportive. During their formative years, this will involve talking about sex. Yup, that talk. It can be pretty awkward even between two fully grown adults, not just with young people. It’s just how it is.
You need to find a way to explain how things work and talk about safety and their expectations. But all of this will fail if you let peer pressure interfere. Teens talk about sexual topics all the time, and what your son or daughter gathers from their friends is likely to be wrong. As such, you should interfere and separate right from wrong.
Privacy Is Essential
As a parent, you’re always walking a fine line between disturbing your child’s privacy and being completely unaware of what they’re doing. Both are extremes, and you should find a way to balance them out. Every teen needs to have their five minutes alone, just like you and other adults do. Still, it’s okay to keep an eye out for them.
This means that listening to their phone conversations, reading their texts, and similar things are a no-go. You don’t want to be that kind of parent. But you can follow them on social media and view their posts — without commenting, of course. Keep tabs on what you can, allowing them to have a private life just as you did (hopefully).
Your Teen Needs Guidance
It’s easy to assume that rules are bad. Being too strict is surely going to make your child unhappy. But sometimes, such things are necessary if you want to avoid problematic behavior. You mustn’t expect that they’re going to learn everything they need to know from movies, books, and their friends.
Your child needs your guidance to mature in a healthy way. This means that you can provide them with rules, such as when they’re allowed to go out and how long they can stay. Guide them and explain that, for example, if someone asks them for a nude photo, they should say no and explain why. Also, talk about consent and how it’s wrong to force someone into doing something that they don’t want to.