When a parent hears that their teen is dating, they probably have alarm bells ringing in their heads. However, instead of being wary of teen dating, parents should be more open to the idea. Here are the reasons why!
Teen Dating Is Completely Normal
Before parents found their spouses, they must have dated and entered into relationships with several other people. Moreover, one of these relationships is bound to start during their teenage years. So, if the parents began dating during their adolescent years, why should they forbid their kids from doing it?
Dating is completely natural. Teens have reached the age where they began exploring their sexuality and relationships with other people. They will not help it if they start getting attracted to other people. If parents try to forbid their teens from dating, it might just make them feel ashamed of liking others.
Teen Dating Helps Them Navigate Through Relationships
Dating has several benefits. For one thing, dating experience can help teens develop necessary social skills that will be useful in the real world. They will be more adept in social interactions and maintaining relationships. What’s more, they will know how to achieve a balanced relationship and watch out for red flags.
Ana Homayoun, an author of several books about better parenting, has a warning on parents who restrict their teens on dating. Once their teens have gone to college, these teens will have little to no knowledge of the workings of social interaction. Moreover, they will learn to date “the hard way” and will most likely compensate using alcohol.
Teen Dating Can Build Trust Between Parent And Teen
Teen dating is not just about finding love or exploring relationships. It is also an opportune moment for learning, which, unfortunately, many parents tend to forget. Teen dating can lead to critical and open conversations about relationships, sexuality, and even sex. Parents must not shy away from these topics as teens will encounter them in real life eventually.
However, it is not just one-way learning. Discussions about teen dating may allow parents to know the new dating trends. For example, early stages of dating are online more than experienced in person. It is essential for parents to know these trends, so they can better understand their teen’s experiences.
Things You Should Do When Your Teen Starts Dating
So, if your teen informs you about wanting to start to date, stop those alarm bells for a minute. Here are the things that you should do if your teen expresses their desire for a romantic relationship:
- Do Not Be Judgmental: Do not let your overprotective feelings stand in the way of an opportune and educational moment. You might think that teens do not know what they are doing, but they actually do! Hear your teen out and keep an open mind.
- Be Their Guide: Since this might be your teen’s first time in dating, you will need to act as their guide. Let them know how to make healthy relationships and avoid unhealthy relationship habits. However, it does not mean that you should dictate what they do. Be a role model, not a commander.
- Give Them Privacy: While it is important to watch their curfew times and chaperones, you do not need to micromanage. Let them have their breathing space for personal communications with their partners. Only if you have valid safety concerns are you allowed to step in.