Tips for teen dating

It’s the start of a whole new phase when your children start to think about romance. Here are some tips to help guide you through a potential minefield.

  • Be the parent your teen will want to talk to
  • Show genuine interest in what they think – be careful with lectures/giving advice
  • They need our brains until theirs are fully online – don’t take your hands off completely yet
  • Researchers tell us teens do take notice of what their parents think
  • Encourage teens to keep active and busy – dating is only a part of life, not the whole
  • Encourage group activities – be creative and supportive, e.g. provide transport, hosting, food!
  • Aim high – have a checklist of qualities for a potential boy/girlfriend
  • Decide on your boundaries ahead of time
  • “What would you do if” helps prepare for the pressure/intensity of the moment
  • How does your potential boy/girlfriend treat others?
  • It’s a good indicator of their character
  • Keep in touch with your mates – don’t be exclusive
  • Be sensitive about break-ups – listen, support, don’t patronise

And if the wheels fall off?

  • One mistake doesn’t need to mean more/doesn’t need to define you
  • Don’t freak out
  • Make a plan
  • Learning opportunity – what will you do next time?
  • Believe in them
  • Restore your relationship with your teen

Great resources are Sex with Attitude by The Parenting Place’s Attitude team or The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make by Sean Covey – both available from our online store.


About Author

Jenny Jackson

Jenny is one of our Family Coaches. Jenny has worked as a family therapist with children and young people with severe and challenging behaviours and their families. She is skilled in getting alongside parents of teens to offer strategies and solutions that strengthen family connections and positively impact the atmosphere of the family. Jenny is committed to encouraging parents to be intentional, confident and to have fun in their parenting.

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