How-to Talk to your Teen about Dating and Relationship
About Dating and Relationship: Can you still remember the moment when you started to fall in love? It was during your teenage when you felt so excited about dating someone and your hormones couldn’t contain it.
Your first love and relationship made your heart beat so fast. You felt excited every time you were with your partner. For sure, you still cherish those moments until today because it was and is an important part of your life.
Time really flies, right? Your adorable little children grew up so fast and now they are teens. They are now in high school and exploring life on their own.
Your teenagers now have their own social life with their friends, classmates, and relatives. And, in just a matter of years, they may be entering a relationship.
Just like what happened during your time, your teenager will experience it soon too. They will fall in love with someone and try to date each other.
They will be in a relationship and it is something that is normal.
But there are things that your teenager must be aware of before getting into a relationship.
You must have a talk with your teenager before they start to date someone and be in a relationship.
Talking with them about dating is very important to avoid any problems at some point in the future. But how can you talk to your teens about dating and relationship? And what are the topics that you must discuss with them?
In this blog, I will help you find some ways to talk with your teenager about dating and relationship.
- Why do you need to talk about dating and relationship?
- 15 Important points to discuss with your teenager about dating and relationship?
- 5 ways to talk to your teenager about dating and relationship?
- 5 Dating risks you should make your teen aware of
- 4 Dating Violence your Teen should Know about
- 10 Safety dating practice to follow
Why do you need to talk about dating and relationship talk with your teen?
Dating and being in a relationship is a normal in a teenager’s life. Everyone will experience it at some point in their life. That is why, it is very important to talk about this to your teenager. Because it is an event that they will definitely encounter.
As a parent, you could prepare them and make them ready. Dating and relationship is a serious matter especially for teenagers because, with just one wrong move from your teenager there is a chance to that it leads your teen to face really serious consequences.
Poor education about dating and relationship can cause teenage pregnancy which can really affect the life of a teenager. It will cause them to deal with a lot of pressure and things that a normal teenager does not need to deal with.
Talking about dating and relationship to your teenager is important because, you can educate them about the things that they should and should not do. You are making them aware about dating and relationship and you are opening their mind for possibilities.
15 Important points to discuss with your teenager about dating and relationship
So, before having a conversation with your teenager about dating and relationship, it is important to understand the essential topics that you must discuss with your teenager.
Prepare yourself about important topics that you want to talk about. In this way, you have can have a clear objective in mind.
I have outlined few things (I tried to limit it to 15 points) that I believe and have told my teenage kids.
- Love is to be enjoyed but it should not be blind.
- Your happiness does not depend only on you holding a girl/guy in your arms.
- Genuine relationships do not demand you to change. It celebrates your uniqueness. And finds solutions to handle your irritants.
- Love with your heart and brain. Watch how the other person is behaving with people who have less privilege than them. Are they taking their responsibilities seriously? (At teenage it is mostly schoolwork and school activities)
- Do not get into a relationship expecting to become a knight in shining armor, most of the time the damsel in distress tends to stay forever in distress. Be extra careful if they are energy vampires.
- Be in a relationship that feels good for both of you, personally and in person. Not one that feels good in selfies and Instagram.
- Do things to get ‘likes’ from your partner. Not from the world of social media.
- A good relationship gives you wings. It does not chain you to the ground. Don’t be clingy and needy 24/7.
- A good relationship will encourage you to be a better person. It will give you freedom to have healthy amount of time for yourself, your family, and your friends.
- Be yourself in the relationship. And give it time before taking further decisions and moving deeper into the relationship. Let the relationship weather time and seasons. Different situations bring out different dimensions of the person. Do not be in a hurry.
- If there are red flags waving in your kid’s heads about the relationship they are in, take notice and do not ignore. These flags tend to show up time and again in the long run.
- If most your friends or close ones are raising an alert on your new love interest, pause and take notice.
- It is ok to break up if the relationship is not that of mutual respect.
- Remember the person you are dating is also a human and has their own feelings and pride. Do not take it for granted and lead the relationship if you are not fully vested into it.
- Teen love is a beautiful phase and can give a lot of nice memories to cherish. But a relationship meant for the long run is far different from what is portrayed in the movies or novels or fairytales.
5 Dating Risks that you must make your teen aware of
You must let your teenager know of the basic dating risks they need to watch out for…
Unrealistic dating expectations:
With all the fairy tales talking about love at first sight and happily ever after, it is quite possible that our teenagers grew up thinking of dating and romance in a way which is far from reality.
And when these and reality does not match and does not live up to their expectation it can lead to a lot of tension in your teen.
So, talk to teen about your experiences, your dating goof ups, your idea of dating vs reality (The good bad and ugly).
Make sure that you set realistic expectations to your teen.
So, it helps when your teen has their bubble burst on what they expected a relationship to be when reality hits. Your teen will not face a crisis when you have already taught your teen how to face challenges in life.
If you like to know more read article on How to Prepare your Teenager Face Challenges in Life
Indulging in sex
For a parent the child is always too young to date or have sex and it is understandably so, I feel the same about all my children even though the elder one is going to touch 20 years of age.
Not all kids mature at the same pace. Some children who are much more protected at home with less exposure to the world can still be immature when it comes to the ways of the world.
So, they are much more prone to risks than one that is matured to face dating relationship challenges.
It is crucial that you talk to your teens about your take on indulging in sexual activities. Also, it is extremely important to teach them about consent and the consequences of indulging in sexual activities. Both girls and boys should be educated on safe sex.
So, intervene where you should in case you feel your teenager is vulnerable and not yet ready to handle this.
It helps if you have built an emotional connection with your teenager. So that your teenager is much more receptive to listen to you when you pull in the breaks.
If you like to know how to bond with your teenager better do read article How-To Easily build Emotional Connection with your Teenager
Dating partners beyond your League
It is usually the case when a teenager starts dating, their partners are usually those who are around their age. Usually people that they have met in their school or hobby classes.
However, there are times when teenagers bump into someone beyond their league. It can be someone much older to them, who are wiser in the ways of the world than them, or someone who is already in a relationship or married.
While I am not saying that all these relationships are bad, it is not as innocent as dating someone who is around your age and has similar maturity levels.
There is a good chance that such a partner is working and has more access to money at their disposal than your teenager. And your teenager can get enticed by this newfound attention that they are getting from an adult.
Parents, educate your child to be weary of such relationships. In many cases it is just sexual pleasures with a minor than anything else emotional or long term.
Getting entangled in an unhealthy relationship
Teach your teen about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Teach them how to spot the difference between them.
- Give them confidence that they can walk out of an unhealthy relationship any time.
- Nobody has the rights to forcing them into a relationship.
- And nobody can force them to stay in a relationship that they do not want to stay in.
- No matter how much it hurts it is always better to walk out of an unhealthy relationship than to proceed further into it.
Tell them that your love and support is always there, and it will be unconditional and non-judgmental. This will give them the courage that they need, to walk out of such a relationship.
Help your teen build self-confidence so that they’re able to tackle situations like these. If you like to know more about how to build self confidence in teenagers do read article How to develop self-confidence in your teenager
This is one of the serious menaces that hits our children these days. Teenagers can cave in to peer pressures and want to get into the scene of dating and relationship just because all their friends are doing this.
It can also be because their peers are also encouraging them or pushing them to have a partner even if your teenager is not ready for it.
Sometimes teenagers who don’t succumb to the pressures are also ridiculed or isolated. So, just to get back into the social circles your teenager can get themselves to date and take risks even when their heart is not into this.
Teach your teenager how to face peer pressures and how to overcome them. Our article on 5 Effective ways to deal with Peer Pressure can give you some guidance on this matter.
4 Dating Violence your Teen should Know about
Do tell your teen that almost 8% of the relationships have violence in it. And 1 of 3 people have reported to be emotionally abused by the person they are dating.
Drill it down into your teen that any type of violence is not acceptable. ANY TYPE mild or severe should be a red flag for your teen.
Your teen needs to be made aware of these violences.
Explain to them the following
Physical violence is when someone physically hurts or attempts to physically hurt your teenager.
Emotional violence is when someone is emotionally hurting your teenager.
This can be through blackmail, or a controlling behaviour or putting your teenager’s self-esteem or self-worth down.
There are times when the partner your teenager is dating might try to isolate your teenager from other friends and family. This also constitutes to emotional violence.
Is something when teenager’s partner is requesting for sexual favours even when your teenager is refusing or is uncomfortable to indulge in it.
Sexual violence is anything sexual in nature. Be it forcing them to watch porn, to kissing, groping or full on sex. Any unwanted advances which are sexual in nature is part of sexual violence.
Cyberbullying and Stalking
Cyberstalking is when emails are hacked, or your kid undergoes harassment on social media. Any threat over the internet that make your teen feel violated, constitute to stalking and dating violence.
Other types of risks are stalking where your teenager is repeatedly followed and intimidated to the extent that they feel scared and unsafe.
5 ways you talk to your teenager about dating and relationship
Now here comes the question how to talk to your teenager about dating and relationship. Do not worry here are the ways to have a natural conversation about dating and relationship with your teenager.
Ask them about their social life
The best way to start a conversation about dating and relationship of your teenager is by asking them questions about their social life.
Ask them naturally about their social life or circle of friends and wait for your teenager to speak up. For sure, your teenagers want to share something about their social life they are just waiting to be asked.
If the conversation goes right, then gradually lead the topic into dating.
Ask them if they already like someone or someone is into them. In this way, your teenager can have the opportunity to open this topic because most of the teenagers are shy to share this with their parents. They are embarrassed to share it with parents because it is something new to them.
And because of this shyness teenagers are unable to talk about dating to their parents.
Some teens do not share for fear of being judged. By opening up this topic, you can show them that you don’t judge them based on their relationship status.
So, be open minded with your teenager and be the one to initiate this kind of conversation. This will also give you the opportunity to get an understanding about their social life.
Also, the initial stages of dating can give your teenager who is inexperienced a lot of anxiety along with the adrenaline rush and the butterflies. So as parents we can be supportive and put their nerves to rest.
To know more about teenage anxiety and issues read our article How-To SPOT & DEAL with Teenage Anxiety Issues
Give them advice
The role of a parent in the relationship of a teenager is to be the source of knowledge.
Dating and relationship is something new to a teenager’s life, they do not know anything about it. Your teenager just feels those raging hormones in their body and they just follow their fast heart beats.
Teenagers are innocent and completely clueless about dating and relationship.
So, have some time to give advice to your teenager about relationship and dating. You are the only person that can provide them with genuine information and advice. Help them to be smart about a relationship.
If, your teenager is in a relationship ask them from time to time about their relationship and if they have problems or issues that need to be resolve.
Give them useful and appropriate advice for their well-being.
This is also important in preparing your teenager to be emotionally capable of handling much more difficult situation in life.
By now you should have had the needed sex education talk with your teenager. If you haven’t and would like to know how to go about it. Do read our article How-To have constructive sex talk with your teenager.
Discuss their limits as a teenager
One important thing to talk about dating and relationship to your teenager is to discuss important limitation for them. As a teenager they should be answerable to you with regard to some parts of their relationship.
This is important to make sure that they are safe from danger and bad consequences. Talk to your teenager about their boundaries because it is important for them to know it.
Give them limits such as off action curfews and alcohol prohibition. Your teenager must realize that though they can be in a relationship there are still actions that is prohibited. Explain the reason clearly to them, why you are setting boundaries.
Genuinely tell them that it is for their safety and you want them to have a good future. Tell them that a relationship is part of being a teenager and it is something normal, but there are restrictions to ensure their well-being.
This is a good way to talk about with your teenager dating life because this will give realization to your teenager.
If you are wondering how to get your point across to your teenager without causing any misunderstanding or anger episodes. Our article How to Get your Point Across to Your Teenager can point to the right direction.
Always respect them
No matter the situation, the best way to start a conversation is by respecting each other. If, you want to talk with your teenager about dating and relationship, keep in mind that you must respect them.
Although they are teens, it is important to respect their opinion and privacy.
This way you will get the trust of your teenager. They will have the courage to talk to you about dating and relationship because they know that you respect them. They know that you will listen no matter what and not be judgmental with them.
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When you talk to your teenager ensure that it is in the right environment where there is minimum disturbance. Make sure that you and your teenager are in a good receptive mood and not irritated or tired or busy.
Ease into the topic slowly and watch for your teenager’s reaction. Be prepared with the outline of what you are going to talk.
Use a clam tone and present your point of view. Make your teen summarise and recap for you. Keep a close watch on how the conversation is going.
If for some reason you feel that the conversation is getting derailed and you or your teen is not in the right frame of mind, pause and do not push it further.
Let your teen know that you would like to pick it up some other time. Choose the right time and reopen the topic and proceed further.
It is normal for teenagers to have mood swings. And when you touch upon sensitive topics, they can go a bit here and there. If you have a sensitive teen, read our article How-To Help & Deal with a teenager mood swings to know more about how to deal with this.
Word of caution to parents
Most of the time, teen dating and relationship is about trying to fulfill the needs of those raging hormones. The need to have someone for themselves and the need to feel loved and pampered.
Dating is social activity in which the teenager develops his social skills and dating skills.
You need to teach your teenager about relationships and how to differentiate between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
If you need more guidance do read article How-To talk to teen about Sex, Drugs and Alcohol.
There are also some things that you need to watch out for. It is mainly about teen hard break heartbreak.
As a parent you need to be aware of the relationship that your teenager is getting into. And the health of the relationship. It is very important to know when the relationship breaks.
Boys and girls react very differently heartbreak. In general girls tend to talk about it. Cry and vent out and share their grief.
However, boys tend to be reserved and keep things to themselves and try to work things out. It is not because they hurt less. It is because they are wired that way.
What we have outlined are broad ways in which boys and girls react to a heartbreak. As parents you need to be vigilant and careful and ensure that your teen does not slip into depression.
Depression when left unchecked can also lead into suicidal thoughts and your teen can exhibit suicidal tendencies.
To know more about these topics, you can read article How-to find out if your teenager is battling depression? and How-To Help & Deal with a teenager mood swings respectively
10 Safe dating practice to follow
Ensure that you speak of these topics well in advance before your teen brings in a date. If not, you will have to start negotiation on these topics.
It is easier to get your teen to buy in, when you are speaking to them without any pressures of an upcoming date.
So, help your teen be aware of your expectations and what they need to adhere to. So that they will be better equipped to discuss these with their partner and will not have to lose face later.
Mention to your teen that even if they reach the legal age where they can date, you will still require them to practice these safety rules for their benefit.
Rules w.r.t the person and Venue
- Your teen needs to let you know in advance if they are planning to go out on a date. So that you have a better understanding from your teen on who it is and all about the person.
- Have clear ground rules when it comes to dating someone they have met online. I suggest you make sure that the first date that they have is with your family and in your presence rather than somewhere else.
- If your teen is planning to go on a date to their partner’s house and not a common place, insist that you will have a conversation with your teenagers’ partner’s parents well in advance to ensure that they are also aware and to be sure that it is safe.
- Also insist that you will have them dropped there and pick them up from there. Also gather information on who else will be available in their house and exercise discretion.
- They need to let you know where they are planning to go, what is the schedule and at what time they are expected to return home.
- They are expected to adhere to what they have committed to you. Or make a call to you and inform you on change of plans while they are on the date.
- Unless your teen has built in credibility with you. Insist that you would like to chauffeur them to and fro.
Other safe dating rules…
- Safety rules such as drinking and driving, having alcohol during dates, sex, needs to be discussed up front with you and you need to make your expectation clear to them.
- Establish cell phone rules with your teenager and educate them of the dangers of technology. Do tell them that they are not supposed to take any photos or sext or indulge in any such activity which would embarrass them should they come to light and be made public.
Make it clear to your teen that your expect them to follow these safety rules. And there will be consequence should they not adhere to it.
To know more about how to effectively give a punishment that will help your teenager grow and get better, read our article How-to stop teen from breaking rules
Dating and relationship is something any teenager will h
experience. This is something new to them, so they need guidance. You as their parent, is their only source of knowledge and guidance.
Take the opportunity to discuss this topic with your teenager. Have some natural conversation with them to explain the concept of relationship. Be there to give them advice and learning about it.
Help them resolve conflict within their relationship. Most importantly, set boundaries or limitation so that you can make sure that your teenager knows what they are doing.
Prevention is always better than cure. The more you are open and talk about it and set clear rules the better equipped your teenager will be to successfully cross this phase of their life and have a fulfilling long-term relationship…
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Tell us about your experience and how you reacted when your teen told you about their dating plans the first time. Leave your comments below.
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