As your children become teenagers, they are likely to become more interested in dating and pursuing a romantic relationship. Talking to your teen about dating and how to prepare for the process is essential to prevent your teen from feeling isolated and confused about their feelings as they grow into themselves. Knowing how to effectively communicate the basics of dating is a way to feel at ease once your teen finds a partner they want to begin seeing.
Defining Healthy Relationships
Defining a healthy relationship is a must when discussing dating with your teen. It is essential that your teenager understands what constitutes a healthy relationship and behaviors that are extremely toxic and unhealthy.
Before your teen begins entering the dating world, it is vital for them to have a complete understanding of boundaries and how to enforce them. Define what boundaries are in relationships and explain to your teen how they can inform potential partners of their own personal boundaries. If your teen does not feel comfortable with kissing or physical affection, it is imperative that they feel comfortable and confident enough to express their feelings to a partner they are seeing. Stress the importance of boundaries and that they are to be respected and listened to at all times with no exceptions before allowing your teen to date.
Safety and Protection
Having “the talk” with your teen is a must once they begin contemplating the idea of dating, even if they do not intend to become sexually active. Once your teen has a full understanding of safe sex and protection options available, it is also vital to stress the importance of STD testing once your teen has become sexually active (even if they are using protection with a partner).
Red Flags to Watch For
Discussing red flags in relationships can feel challenging, especially if you are unsure of where to begin or how much information you should share with your teen depending on their age. Some of the most common red flags you may choose to discuss with your teen while talking about dating include:
- Pushy Partners: Pushy partners may cause your teen to feel overwhelmed and forced into uncomfortable situations. A pushy partner does not respect their significant other and is often only concerned about their own wants and needs.
- Verbal Abuse: Verbal abuse is never acceptable in any relationship, regardless of its seriousness. Verbal abuse does not have to involve name-calling or insults. Offensive joke’s at your teen’s expense, shaming, and judgment are also forms of verbal abuse.
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse does not always involve direct slaps, punches, or other violent behavior. Grabbing the body, pushing the body, or even physically holding an individual in place are all forms of physical abuse.
- Not Respecting Boundaries: Not respecting boundaries is a major red flag. If your teen feels uncomfortable at any time with their partner, it may be time to rethink the relationship.
- Lying: Explain to your teen that habitual and pathological lying is never okay, even if their partner claims to have a good reason for lying.
While having discussions about intimacy, sex, and dating can feel uncomfortable for parents at first, they are extremely important topics to cover as your teenager grows older and becomes curious. By opening up and communicating honestly with your teen, you establish trust and mutual respect, allowing them to feel more comfortable when coming to you for help and advice once they begin dating.
Author Bio: Paige Jirsa– I work with https://stdtestingfacilities.com/, which provides users same day STD testing in a discrete and proficient manner.