Start Rules of dating for teens

Rules of dating for teens

As a parent, stay on top of the feelings and things being discussed.

Parents may joke that it’s an experience they want their child to have -- just not until somewhere around the age of 30. A 6th grade girl may say, "Jacob is my boyfriend," but what does that mean?

Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York.

I escaped it for 17 years of parenthood, but the odds were always stacked against me.

I have two beautiful and intelligent daughters, and eventually a boy smart enough to see it was going to come calling. My daughter and her boyfriend spend almost every free moment they have in our house.

Instead, if they answer your questions or seem eager to date, you can steer the conversation toward reassuring them that these feelings are normal. Are they just trying to keep up with their friends?

Are they confident and able to take care of themselves? Do they look physically more mature than they are, emotionally?

The hardest task is not to project my experiences on these two when they are not doing anything wrong. In this case as I’ve explained, that’s not an issue with my daughter and her boyfriend. Chances are high that this relationship will eventually come to an end. Trust them until it’s proven they can’t be trusted.

What should we expect from our teenagers when they start dating? When two people connect in such a way, it’s difficult to not get carried away with what’s going on. She’s naturally beautiful and reaches a stunning level when she wants to. She wants people to like the “weird” things about her. Accept each other as is, and in the process, you’ll learn good things from each other. When proper respect has been observed the entire time, that moment will be a lot easier and far less messy. Uncalled for intervention might result in exactly what you’re trying to prevent.

“Of course it will probably be uncomfortable for both of you,” Anthony says.

“But if he’s so uncomfortable that he gets angry or shuts down or otherwise just can’t continue the conversation, that’s a big sign that he’s not ready for this.” If so, assure your child that there’s no hurry to start dating.

Families typically create dating guidelines based on several criteria such as age, maturity and religious beliefs.