Teen Dating: the Good, Bad, and Ugly

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Why am I the crazy mom that only wants my daughter’s boyfriend to be Jesus? I’m scared y’all. I know what these little boys think and do, and I don’t want to go to jail. Don’t touch my baby, leave her alone, and back it up.  My response to my daughter asking if she can go on a date will always be, “Sure, where are we ALL going? I like to eat, I like watching movies, let’s do this!” Ha!

Recently, I was talking to a friend about kids, and dating and she stated that, “Although you may feel your daughter is a princess, you can’t lock her away in a tower for her entire life.” I totally got where she was coming from, but it still didn’t ease my mind that eventually, she would meet a boy she likes, and want to date him. So after thinking this through, and a having a glass of wine, I came up with a few ways to help me feel more comfortable with the whole dating situation:

Consider your child’s maturity level

First and foremost, a parent needs to decide if their child’s maturity level is high enough to date. Just because a child is old enough to date, does not mean they possess the necessary emotional, or social skills needed for dating. If I had to pick an age for dating it would be 16. Most kids this age are also beginning to drive, and become more independent. Some indicators your child might not be mature enough to date include, if your child can barely complete chores, or is failing in school. These are indicators that they are not going to be responsible, and it may be difficult to trust them.  A parent knows their child, and if you feel your child is not mature enough to go on one-on-one dates, I would encourage them to group date. Group dates allow children to still hang out, and it’s actually my preferred method for any child under the age of 18. It gives the feeling of independence while still having others around for safety reasons.

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Dating Rules

Once determining if your child is mature enough to date, dating rules need to be established. Your child needs to know what will be expected of them, and what will not be tolerated. These rules can range from what places they can/cannot go to, to what time they are expected to be at home. One of my personable favorites is checking in by texting throughout the date. If you’re a parent like me you’re face timing, forget a text! Having rules in place allows kids to stay on track, and also establishes trust. If your child breaks that trust, they should understand the repercussions, and they should be carried out.

Meet the Parents

Lastly, the one tip I feel the most strongly about is meeting the kid your child will be dating, AND their parents. This will give you as the parent, an idea of who your child is hanging around, and also opens up communication with the parents. When parents are on the same page about rules, the kids will be more responsible, and less likely to break them. Getting to know the parents will also allow you to see how that child is being raised, and whether or not you want your child dating them. You certainly don’t want to be too controlling on who your child dates, but ultimately you have a responsibility to make sure they are making the best decisions possible.
There have been so many “kid” relationships that have affected people in their adult life.

Educating your child

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Being present in your child’s life will help them to make better decisions, and also help them to be open about their romantic relationships. As a parent, you should be having frequent conversations with your child about dating, sex, and also the scares of it. This would include date rape, or any form of inappropriate behavior.

Educating your child about being aware of their surroundings, what they are drinking, and how to prevent being a victim is very important. These type of occurrences are happening, and your children need to know.For those parents who are totally against kid dating, please know, you cannot stop them from doing so. When they are out of your sight, they will sneak to be with whomever. Quite frankly, as much as I hate the idea of dating, I’d rather have my child be open about who she is dating, and not be sneaking behind my back.

As parents, all we can do is trust our children to make the right choices, and believe that what we have taught them, they will apply to their lives.

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