“Encourage them to be who they are and not what society says they should be. Find their strengths and work off that. Recognize their non-strengths.”
- Until they are old enough to date, encourage them to participate in group activities. Help to plan them, and host some activities at home.
- Don’t Push Kids To Grow Up Too Soon. Let them be kids. Don’t worry about popularity by pushing them into activities or sports that they don’t enjoy. Encourage them to be who they are and not what society says they should be. Find their strengths and work off that. Recognize their weak areas.
- When they are old enough to date, begin double dating (there is safety in numbers). Slowly work into single dating, after trust and confidence have been built.
- When you have established a “dating contract,” stick to the rules. Once you “break the rule” you will always have to justify your decision.
- Make sure you child has a way to contact you in the event of an emergency (i.e. cell phone, track phone, money for pay phone) to call home. NO questions asked.
- Have your teen come in to say goodnight to you when they come home. You can see, hear, and smell how they are really doing.
- Teach them to dress appropriately. The way they dress may be sending a wrong message.
- It is wise for teens not to date anyone with more than three-four years age difference. This is a hard thing to do but the more the age difference, the more problems teens can experience as time passes.
When Is The Right Age To Be Dating? There is no magic number when a child should date, but they should be old enough to date responsibly. That means your teen is ready to stick to the rules upon which you have mutually agreed. Research shows1 that 91% of all girls who start dating at age 12 have had sex before graduation from high school. This is true of only 56% of those who started dating at 13, of 53% of those who begin at 14, of 40% of those who start at 15, and only 20% of those who begin dating at age 16.
1 ABC’s of the Birds and Bees by Marilyn Morris; p48