Friends, 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 14 years ago is in high school and has also entered the teenage dating stage.
Yes, you read that correctly, I have a teen who feels as though he is ready to “date”.
I used quotation marks around the word date because I have often joked with my son that taking someone out on a date would mean he has a job where he makes his own money to use and also his own means of transportation (which currently he has neither).
Ever since my son took a date to his school’s recent homecoming dance, some people have asked me how I felt about it. Now that we have a few “dates” under our belt, I think I am ready to share with other parents how to prepare for the teenage dating stage.
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.
I say no because each stage of parenting comes with its own set of trials and tribulations, which makes it virtually impossible to prepare. Also, every kid is unique, even if they are the same age, so don’t even try to compare. Each time I find myself attempting to compare my child to another, I am reminded of my wise Mom friend Jennifer’s post about loving the child you have not the one you wish you had.
Even though there is really no way to tell you how to prepare for the teenage dating stage, I have some tips to offer that I hope will help.
• 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 or my husband first. I am of the opinion that the more people your child feels loved by and safe to communicate with the better.
• 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.
• 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.
• Get involved with online communities that focus on providing information for parents of teens.
• Make sure to discuss the potential dangers of social media and technology.
Establish solid rules when it comes to your teen and safe cellphone/social media usage.
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.
• 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 that can help your teen navigate relationships and understand how to form positive, successful relationships as they get older.
The teenage stage can feel bittersweet, as 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 you can do is hold on tight and enjoy every second of the ride.
*This post contains affiliate links, but all parenting tips and opinions are my own.