What to do when your teen starts datingWritten by Brad Lewis and Candice Watters
What's inside this article
Uh, oh. Your daughter just turned 16, the age you and her mom agreed would signify the start of dating. Now you're wondering if maybe you should have set the benchmark at 30. What should you do?
Before the date
Remind your teen what dating is for: to find a suitable marriage partner. Since marriage is still five years away – at a minimum – now's a good time for her to guard her heart. Explain that adolescents rarely fall in love. Oh it may feel like love, but true love is an act of the will, not the emotions. What he might be feeling is the rush of hormones, the excitement of knowing someone finds him attractive, the electricity of physical touch.
- Love, the kind that makes for long-lasting marriages, is a decision to treat the beloved with kindness, respect and integrity, even when the emotions aren't there to support you.
- Discuss how habits she establishes now will set the course for future relationships, including the one with "Mr. Right." Healthy physical and emotional boundaries will keep foggy thinking at bay. Too often teens allow the pleasure of the moment to obscure the reality of the rest of their life. Just one false move, especially sexually, could undermine all of your daughter's dreams for her future.
- Encourage group activities. Trouble is far less likely to occur in large groups. So your son's found that special someone. He can still enjoy her sense of humour and beautiful curly hair in the company of friends. Plus, the date is likely to be more fun and less pressure at a time when self-image is fragile.
- Assure her that you're never more than a phone call away. Even if her intentions are pure, her date's may not be. Equip her with a cell phone and encourage her to use it if things get out of hand. The speed dial function can be handy if the nice boy you met in the living room turns out to be a walking hormone when he's out of your presence.
During the date
After the date
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