Coping with Teenage Children Dating

By: Donald Saunders

Just about all parents have some worries about the day when their children will start dating and for a lot of parents it also signals the point at which a son or daughter is making the break from childhood to adulthood. It is also often seen as the point when your children take their first steps to strike out on their own and this is generally taken as a sign that they no longer need you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dating is simply a phase on the long path of normal teen development and they certainly do still need you - and will do so for a long time to come. Nonetheless, this is often a difficult point in a teenager's life and there is much which you can do to smooth the path for both you and your children.

As with many other things, successful dating begins with education and it is very important for you to sit down with your teenagers before they start dating to talk about what goes into making good relationships. It is all too easy to take it for granted that your children already understand the ins and outs of dating but they probably will not. After all, a lot of their knowledge on dating will probably have been gleaned from television where most of the relationships are not meant to reflect the real world but simply to entertain the audience.

Your children need to understand precisely what it means to be in a loving and supportive relationship and there is no better way to learn just what this means than by talking with you about your own views based upon personal knowledge and experience. Naturally, it is also true that your children will learn not merely from what they hear from you, 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 crucial.

Once your children start dating you will need to enter into what will be an ongoing dialogue about relationships. Your teenager's dates will not always turn out as you or they expect and your children will need somebody to turn to when they have a problem. So, it is important that you maintain a line of communication and continue the discussion about how they should be treating other people in a relationship and just how they should expect to be treated themselves.

Meeting your son's or daughter's date for the very first time can often be a nerve wracking time, but you should try to make this meeting as comfortable as you can and be both respectful towards and kind to your child's date. And resist the temptation to fall into the classic trap of giving the pair a lecture on this first meeting during which you lay down the rules for seeing one another. If you decide to lay down any rules then these are for your son or daughter and not for his or her date and ought to be discussed with your child alone and in private. In addition, while it is possible that you will take an instant dislike to your child's date, you ought not to let this show and should make a conscious effort to be supportive. Having taught your children how to behave in a relationship you need to trust them to take their own decisions and should only intervene if you believe that the relationship is putting your teenager in harm's way.

It is not always easy to watch your children growing up and getting close to new people. But, provided you take the right steps and teach them what to expect from and how to behave in a relationshipFeature Articles, then there is a good chance that things will go well and that difficulties will be minimized for both of you.

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