I know I have shared with you before the importance of not blinking when you are a parent, but I myself have made this mistake yet again. I blinked and now the boy who made me a Mom over 16 years ago is in his junior year of high school and has also entered the teenage dating stage.
Ever since my son took a date to his school’s homecoming dance last year, some people have asked me how I felt about it. First, let me ask you, is there ever really a way to prepare for any stage of parenting? The answer (in my opinion) is no.
Now that we have a few “dates” under our belt, I think I am ready to share my thoughts on the teen dating stage.
What is a good age for a teenager to date?
I think the question of what is a good age for a teenager to date can have a different answer depending on who you ask. As I looked more into this question I saw that the American Academy of Pediatrics seems to think that 15 is the magical age at which kids start to pair up and date.
My answer to this question is that it all depends on your particular child, their maturity and emotional level, and also the rules you set for dating within your home. Every kid is unique, even if they are the same age, so don’t even try to compare.
Teenage Dating Tips:
Even though there is really no way to tell you how to actually prepare for the teenage dating stage, I have some tips to offer that I hope will help you navigate through this interesting part of parenthood.
1. Keep the lines of communication between you and your teen WIDE OPEN.
Make sure your teen knows they can talk to you about whatever is on their mind (both good and bad).
I have told my son if he feels embarrassed by talking to me about something he won’t hurt my feelings by having a conversation with his Dad first.
I am of the opinion that the more people your child feels loved by and safe to communicate with, the better off and more confident they will be.
2. Be honest when talking to or answering questions from your teen about sex.
Remember that in this age of information they probably already know or have heard certain things and they are just looking for you to talk honestly with them.
If they feel like they are ready to date, then there is no need to be embarrassed when it comes to talking about all of the things that can come with dating.
3. Meet and get to know the teen and even their parents before your son or daughter goes out on a date.
I love doing this, even when it comes to my son’s friends, so I know and can feel comfortable about who he is spending his time with.
One of my favorite things to say to my kids each day before they leave the house is to surround themselves with good, and this is especially true when it comes dating.
Teens need to understand that it is not ok to be pressured or pressure someone else when dating or in a relationship.
4. Get involved with online communities that focus on providing information for parents of teens.
Stay informed, get advice, communicate with an online community and more thanks to teen-focused parenting sites such as Responsibility.org and the Center For Parent and Teen Communication.
I also make sure to keep involved in my teen’s school’s parent Facebook page so I can be informed and instantly alerted to any issues that may arise (because we all know that our kids don’t always tell us each and every detail).
5. Discuss the potential dangers of social media and technology.
Establish solid rules when it comes to your teen and safe cellphone/social media usage. Talk openly and honestly with your teen, especially when it comes to things like technology usage, cyberbullying and sexting.
Take time every so often to do digital cleanses of your teen’s cellphone/ electronics. What your teen may think is a private photo, email or text, can become public very quickly and could cause irreparable damage to their reputation.
6. Let your teen know you are there to guide them while also giving them some privacy.
This can be tough to do at times because we want so badly to be a staple in their lives, but we also need to give our teens room to grow, make mistakes and learn.
How should you prepare for the teenage dating stage?
Provide guidance and date ideas for teens that can help your teen navigate situations and understand how to form positive, successful relationships as they get older, form new friendships and let more people into their lives.
The teenage stage can feel bittersweet and there are definitely so many more things I want my teen to know. You often feel like you are grasping on to pieces of your child while looking on in awe at the adult they are growing into right in front of your eyes.
All I can really tell you to do is hold on tight and enjoy every second of the ride.