Inside: Must-Have teen dating advice for parents to share a little wisdom without being overbearing.
Raising a child comes with so many learning curves. It feels like just as you are starting to understand them, they go and change on you, and you have to start at square one. I think one of the most challenging times is when they are teens.
Dealing with teens is a separate kind of beast. It’s filled with big emotions, confusion, and boundary-pushing. But the good news is…it’s normal. The best that you can do is try and prepare yourself as best as you can, and ride out the wave. Having a teen, you know how much more independence they have at this age, so it can be hard to navigate how to parent this budding adult.
There are so many little things to touch upon, too many for this one article, so today, we are going to focus on one thing in particular. I have gathered the best teen dating advice for parents to help you be the best parent you can be. Let’s jump in.
Important Teen Dating Advice for Parents
I wanted to start out this list with the super imperative stuff. All of these dos and don’ts are very important, but this first list is the foundation that you can build upon. Take a look at these.
1. DO: Have a discussion about consent
2. DON’T: Avoid the uncomfortable topics
3. DO: Talk to them about boundaries and what they are comfortable with – Boundaries are one of the most powerful things that you can teach your child. That, and that they deserve to have those boundaries respected.
4. DON’T: Be too strict
5. DO: Teach them some ways to enforce those boundaries. – Enforcing the boundaries is a whole other ball game. So you can walk your teen through a few phrases they can use to fall back on if it ever arises.
6. DON’T: Ignore any signs of changes in your child. – You should be very cautious of any negative changes in your child that might be a result of abuse.
7. DO: Let them know they deserve respect, and they should be respectful.
8. DON’T: Let your child spend the night with their partner. – There are lines that should not be blurred when you teen is still under your roof. Until they are 18, they are not allowed to spend the night with their partner. Obviously, this won’t stop them as they get older, but at least you are enforcing your role and creating balance.
9. DO: Establish ground rules.
10. DON’T: Go back on your ground rules. – Be firm, even when this is extremely hard to do.
Teen Dating Advice for Parents
I know that it can be very uncomfortable when you are just stepping into this stage, but lean into that. Your child is because of their own person. They deserve to find love, get their heart broken, and LEARN. Just like you did, so give them the space to be able to do that.
11. DO: Meet the person they are dating – Whether that is on the first date or when it gets a little more serious is up to you, but you need to meet the person they are dating.
12. DON’T: Be rude or intimidating to their date. – This is not a 1980s teen movie. Being rude to their date for the sole purpose of intimidation will only push your child away and make him want to keep things from you.
13. DO: Ask them how the first date went.
14. DON’T: Intrude too much, but keep the communication open.
15. DO: Make sure you know where your teen will be.
16. DON’T: Let them leave without telling you where they are.
17. Do: Have the Safe Sex Talk. – You are not going to be able to stop your teen from having sex. This is uncomfortable, I know. But whether it be when they are 17 or when they are in college, they are going to experience it at some point. It is important that you teach them safe sex before then so they can be prepared.
18. DON’T: Villainize sex. – As I said above, you will not be able to stop them from having sex. You want to be someone they can come to about questions, concerns, and experiences. So villainizing sex only puts a wall between you and them when they are in need of help.
Best Advice for Teen Parents
And lastly, these might be some of the most uncomfortable truths about parenting a teen who is dating. But just because they are hard does not mean they don’t matter. Take a look at these, and write them down if you want to.
19. Do: Inform them about the dangers of sending inappropriate photos. – Many teens these days will be pressured into sending inappropriate photos. This is ILLEGAL and dangerous and should never be done. Discuss this.
20. DON’T: Ignore your gut instinct
21. DO: Inform them about the dangers of meeting people online. – This online world is a new frontier to navigate, so you should talk to them about ways that they can navigate the online world safely.
22. DON’T: Take their phone away – I am not talking about this as a general punishment, but rather as a way to get them to stop talking to the person they are dating.
23. Do: Discuss the different ways abuse can look like.
24. DON’T: Bad mouth their date.
25. Do: Establish open communication – Having an open space for communication that feels safe is the best way to make sure that your teen is safe. Otherwise, you have no idea what is going on, and your teen may not feel comfortable coming to you when they need help.
26. DON’T: Shame your child. – This is already a very confusing time, do not make it even more complicated by shaming your child for dating. Whether it be a judgment about them going on a date or if they have questions about sex. Be open and honest, and come from a place of compassion.
27. Do: Trust your child. – It can be so hard to let go of the reigns because that means you won’t be able to protect your teen as well, but it is a necessary part of life. They need to be able to learn to navigate the world, their emotions, and people on their own. Just be there for them when they need you, and give them the best advice you can.
Navigating your teen entering the dating scene as a parent can be very tricky, but it is not impossible. It is a very normal and natural part of life that we must go through, and it is important that you do your best to maintain your role as a parent while also allowing room for individuality.
I hope this teen dating advice for parents: Do’s and Don’ts were helpful for you. These are just a few of the things that I wish my parents would have done for me when I was this age. It would have saved me a whole lot of heartache, and I know that is what you want for your teens as well.
If you want to keep these teen parenting tips rolling, you are in the right place. Let’s go over tips for parenting a teen with anxiety next.