Parenting Vivian | 23 Sep 2010 04:52 pm

Advice For Parents On The Problems Of Coping with Teenage Children Dating

Just about all parents have some fears about the day when their teenage children will begin dating and for a lot of parents it also signals the point at which their children are making the break from childhood into adulthood. In many cases, it is also viewed as the point when your children take their first steps to strike out on their own and this is normally taken as a sign that they no longer need you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dating is merely another stage on the long path of normal teenage development and they undoubtedly do still need you – and will need you for a long time to come. Nevertheless, this is sometimes a difficult time in a teenager’s life and there is a great deal that you can do to make life simpler for both you and your children.

As is the case with most other things, success in dating begins with education and it is vital to sit down with your teenagers before they begin dating to talk about what makes a good relationship. It is all too easy to take it for granted that your teenagers already know the ins and outs of dating but they almost certainly will not. If you think about it, much of their information on the subject will probably have been gleaned from television where most of the relationships are not intended to reflect the real world but merely to entertain the viewers. Your teenagers have to be taught just what it means to be in a loving and supportive relationship and the best way to learn just what that means is to talk with you about your own personal experience. This said, it is also true that your teenagers will learn not merely from what they hear, but also from what they see with their own two eyes and so setting a good example in the way that you conduct your own relationship is vital.

Once your teenagers begin dating you should enter into what will be an ongoing discussion about relationships. Your teenager’s dates will not always turn out as they or your expect and they are going to need somebody to turn to when they run into difficulties. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep the lines of communication open and also that you continue to discuss how they ought to be treating other people in a relationship as well as how they should expect to be treated themselves.

Meeting your son’s or daughter’s date for the very first time can often be an anxious moment, but it is important to make this initial meeting as comfortable as you can and to be both respectful towards and kind to your teenager’s date. And don’t make the classic mistake of giving the pair a lecture on this first meeting during which you lay down the rules for seeing each other. Any rules which you decide to impose are for your teenager and not for his or her date and should be discussed with your child alone and in private. In addition, while it is possible that you will not be impressed with your teenager’s choice of date, you ought not to let your teenager or his date pick up on this and should make a conscious effort to be supportive. Having taught your children how to conduct themselves in a relationship you need to trust them to make their own decisions and should not interfere unless you believe that the relationship is placing your teenager in danger.

It can be difficult to witness your kids growing up and getting close to new people. But, provided you take the right steps and teach them what they ought to expect from and how they should conduct themselves in a relationship, then there is every probability that things will go well and that difficulties will be few and far between for both you and your teenagers.

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