5 Tips for Navigating the Teen Dating Years

Teens: Rules for Dating

Today’s dating world brings a whole new set of challenges to life as a parent! Here are ten practical tips to help you support and guide your teen through these confusing years.

Establish Guidelines

One of the important tasks a parent must perform is establishing rules for teenagers. Families typically create dating guidelines based on several criteria such as age, maturity and religious beliefs. Most parents worry about teenagers dating because of safety issues such as driving a car at night and crime statistics. Additional concerns for parents are peer pressure to engage in activities including alcohol consumption or drug use.

Appropriate Age

Establishing an age to begin dating is the first step for most parents and teenagers. The standard age for allowing a teenager to date is usually 16. However, many parents allow teenagers to date at a younger age depending on various factors. For instance, going to a high school sporting event or stage play at the age of 14 with a group of friends can also be a dating experience. Group dating is an excellent way for teenagers to transition from always being with parents to dating one individual.

Meeting Dating Partners

In addition to establishing an appropriate dating age for a child, a parent must have a guideline about the dating partner’s age. This may require negotiating in a family meeting to come to an understanding. Parents of a 14-year-old teenager may not allow the child to date an individual who is over 16 years old. This is because the maturity level between these two ages is widely different. Expecting to meet a teenager’s dating partner is also a valuable tool to determine an individual’s responsibility and maturity levels.

Adult Supervision

Many parents only allow a teenager to go on dates to public places such as movie theaters, restaurants or school events. If a teenager wants to attend a party with a date, then a parent may want to know if there is adult supervision. Frequently, a teenager’s parents will verify there are chaperones at events by contacting the dating partner’s parents. A parent must always make sure to contact the date’s parents in a way that does not embarrass a son or daughter.

Keep Communicating

Dating is an important part of a teenager’s social development. Both parents and teenagers must continue to communicate about guidelines while being willing to make adjustments about issues such as curfew times. A teenager should always feel confident that calling a parent for assistance due to drinking alcohol or requiring a ride home is acceptable.

Found in: Family
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