- Setting Rules
for Teen Dating
As your children grow up, it's
normal for them to think about having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
They've probably been hanging out with friends of both sexes
and doing things as a group, but they may be thinking about one-on-one
dating. It's time to talk about the different types of relationships
and love and to prepare to set rules for dating.
Talking about relationships in
regular, everyday conversations lets you and your child talk
about your family values when it comes to friendship, dating,
and love. Dating helps young people learn to get along with others,
communicate, negotiate, make decisions, and learn to be assertive.
It's an important part of growing up, and talking about it together
will help your teen mature.
So, how will you handle the teen
dating scene? Parents approach teen dating in different ways.
Some set strict rules while others let teens make their own decisions.
However, a more "middle-of-the-road" approach may be
best. This includes setting ground rules while giving young people
options from which they can choose.1 It also means being available
and open to ongoing conversations. 2 Setting Ground Rules.
Even though they can make many
decisions on their own, teens still need boundaries from you.
Exactly what those boundaries are is something that you and your
teen should discuss. Here are a few suggestions that may work
for your family:
* Meet all of her friends, and
insist that her date come into the house so that you can say
* Know the details about each
group outing or date, including what adults and teens will be
present, where it will take place, who is driving, what they're
doing, and when they'll be home.
* Make sure your teen knows that
alcohol or drug use is not allowed by anyone on any date or group
* Explain that if she wants to
come home from a date, you are willing and available to pick
her up at any time.
* Make yourself available if
your teen wants to talk after a group outing or date.
There are many areas to discuss
when it comes to teen dating. You will need to set rules that
are appropriate for your child's age and maturity level. These
rules will change as your child grows up and as he handles different
dating situations. For example, you may extend his curfew as
he gets older. His curfew might change based on whether he is
driving, his date is driving, or if a parent is driving. The
curfew also might change based on the day of the week (weekend
versus school-night dates) and time of year (summer versus school
Dating is a big deal to teens.
They need you to stay involved and attentive to what's going
on. By setting rules with your teen about dating, you will help
her learn to make good choices and to build healthy relationships
while she navigates the teen dating scene.