Teenagers seem to focus almost all of their energy on gaining the attention of the opposite sex. When your teenager starts showing an interest in dating, it’s best to establish boundaries and rules ahead of the game.
Groups are great
Many teenagers these days don’t actually date the way we did -- they hang out in large groups. Author Sarah Burningham, who interviewed over 2,000 teenagers for her book Boyology, says, “Group dating [has] become really popular, which is a good thing. You know it’s much more comfortable than those one-on-one dates.” Being in a larger group may discourage pairing off. There may also be an increased element of peer pressure in a group, which is something to discuss with your teen.
Nice to meet you
It’s important to meet the people your teen will be hanging out with, even if they claim to be just friends. When a friend or date comes to pick your daughter up, have them come inside for a few moments and greet them warmly. Your teen needs to see that her friends are important, and modeling kind and courteous behavior shows the friend how you expect your daughter to be treated.
Be a safety net
Make it clear to your teenager that you are always just a phone call away -- no questions asked. Your daughter needs to know that she can get out of a sticky situation on a date by simply calling you. Some parents even have a code phrase or a special text message that their teen can use to get out of a difficult situation.
When your teens start dating, it’s important for you to agree on a curfew ahead of time. As a parent, you need to know that he will be home at a reasonable time -- your teen needs to know you are expecting him.
Sex talk -- again
While you may feel that you have covered all of the birds-and-the-bees conversations, it’s time to talk about it again. Your teen will be dealing with feelings for the opposite sex that he hasn’t previously experienced. They know the mechanics of sex -- it’s time to make sure they understand the emotional, psychological and health-related aspects too.
Help your teen have a positive dating experience from the start -- it makes a big difference.