It can all happen so fast. One minute your child is just that; a child. And within the space of a week, you start noticing the distinct aroma of peach blossoms as your daughter drifts past you in a skirt so short it should be declared illegal. Or your son starts sculpting his hair into spikes that are sharp enough to pierce a tire. Oh wait! Your mistake! It’s the Bieber-do that’s in fashion now. Spikes were SO 2000! Teenagers and dating. In most cases, teenagers and dating go hand-in-hand. Pun intended. But is your teen really ready to hit the dating highway? There is a big difference between thirTEEN and nineTEEN and as with everything else they seem to do at this age, are they approaching the on-ramp at speeds that will launch them into stratospheric heights of trouble? As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. And it’s up to you to decide when your teen is ready to handle dating safely and responsibly. So, without further ado, here are some teenagers and dating advice, your son or daughter should demonstrate before you hand over the proverbial keys to their dating independence!
1. Teenagers and Dating Qualities: Responsibility
Has your son or daughter demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility? If they make a mess, do they tidy up? Do they generally take good care of their possessions? If they have an accident, do they clean it up? Do they tell you about the good and the bad things that happen to them during the course of the day? “I should have studied harder for that test. Next time, I’ll make sure I do.” Or do they blame everything and everyone around them? “Stupid Mr. Miller made the test so hard! He never told us that section on Logarithms was included!”
If you are going to start permitting teenagers and dating in your household, trust this teen dating advice: you sure as sherbet want to know that your kid is capable of taking responsibility, not only for themselves, but for their date too! Bad behavior is born out of irresponsibility. Bad accidents are caused by irresponsible behavior. Now we don’t ever plan accidents, but we can do our best to avoid them. And when it comes to teenagers and dating, you don’t want your precious son or daughter to exit their teen years with anything but the very best of memories. Perhaps the occasional heart break… but nothing else.
2. Teenagers and Dating Qualities: Trust-worthiness
Do you feel that you can trust your son or daughter to be honest with you? If you tell them to clean up their room before they’re allowed to watch any TV, without your supervision, do you believe they will follow your instructions? Or will they make a mad dash to clean up when they hear the garage door opening when you return from the store? Let’s ask this in the context of teenagers and dating: if you allow your daughter to go on a date with the mutual understanding that you know exactly where she’s going to be, would you trust her not to sneak off somewhere else? Say, somewhere dark and deserted in her date’s car?
The problem here is that there is no way you can really know these things unless (1) you betray your child’s trust and privacy and play a little game of ‘Sherlock Holmes, or (2) something horribly wrong happens and you get a call from the police: “I’m sorry Ma’am, but your daughter and her friend here were found illegally parked in a dangerous area and well…” This teenagers and dating advice is that you will want to avoid either one. So, if you trust your student – and this trust is something that is earned over the years by honest, responsible behavior – then teenagers and dating, here they come!
3. Teenagers and Dating Qualities: Money, Money, Money
Teenagers and dating: it costs money. And it shouldn’t cost YOU, the parent. If your teen is ready to hit the dating highway, then they’re ready to start earning an income to fund their little expeditions to the movies and the mall. It is perfectly fair for you to explain to your teen that if they want to take their date to a movie, or to a restaurant, then they will need to start earning some money so that they can afford it. This teen dating advice will also teach them some valuable lessons about responsibility and budgeting.
Teen Dating Advice: A Final Note on Teenagers and Dating
If you or your teen need help determining whether or not your teenager is ready to date, then I recommend you download my FREE "Teen Dating Readiness Gauge" on my website. When your son or daughter demonstrates these responsible qualities and is at appropriate age, then chances are they are getting ready to hit the dating highway. However, this teen dating advice is not to say that they are ready to go solo! Teenagers and dating can be like gasoline and a match if not supervised, so maintain an open line of communication with your child and always make sure they have your full emotional support (and discerning eye!)
Thoughts on this story about parenting teens?
Remember – safe teen dating does not happen by accident!
Lisa Jander – The Teen Whisperer
In the book Dater’s Ed, Lisa Jander, the Teen-Whisperer, helps parents teach their teenagers to learn how to “date defensively, navigate safely and steer clear of unhealthy relationships.” www.DatersEd.com