When your teen starts to date, it can be a nerve-wracking time for parents. In order to calm the butterflies in your stomach, here are some ways to create a fair set of rules around dating for your teen to follow.
Age Limits and Maturity
As a child gets older, it seems more and more appropriate for them to start dating. If you want to set rules for what age they have to be to start dating, you might also want to consider your teen’s maturity level. Just because they are now 16, doesn’t necessarily mean they are mature and responsible enough to start dating. It’s ultimately your judgement call as a parent to set the rules around dating, so consider all angles.
Teach Your Values and Expectations
Teens start dating at all different ages, and some won’t even date at all. But if your teen does start dating, talk to them about your family values and expectations for the kinds of people they should date, and the types of relationships they should look for. It is likely that your child shares similar values to you, so reinforce them through positive conversation.
Meet the Date
Set a rule with your teen that they introduce you to their boyfriend/girlfriend before they go out on a date—but don’t make it too formal. Suggest having movie night at your house or offer to drive them to the restaurant or movies. This will give you some time to get a feel for the significant other without being intrusive.
Date In Groups
Suggest double dating or group hangouts to your teen, rather than a lot of one-on-one date time with their boyfriend/girlfriend. Not only will they get to spend time with their new boo, but you’ll feel more comfortable with their safety, and there is less chance of them sneaking off to have sex.
It’s worth involving your teen in the dating rule list creation process—they are the ones who have to follow them, after all. Even if you create the list yourself, go over it with your teen (and even their boyfriend/girlfriend) and explain your reasons for every rule. This way they will have a better understanding of where you’re coming from and can provide their own opinions.
Feature image Stephan Rosger