Teenage dating guide for parents
Of those in an abusive relationship, studies indicate only 33% of teens ever told an adult about the abuse.
One-on-one activities in dating are more appropriate for older teens.
Parents should start by asking their child about his or her expectations.
Roffman says excellent conversation-starters include: Use your child’s responses to talk about the values — such as honesty, respect or trust — that you expect him or her to uphold in any and all sexual experiences, including first kisses, says Roffman, who wrote “Talk to Me First” and “Sex and Sensibility.” “Those very early experiences can shape their behavior and relationships for years to come,” she says.
“As parents, you absolutely want the opportunity to establish those values early on so they develop healthy attitudes that carry them through adolescence and beyond.” Teens may say they want independence, but when it comes to dating and relationships, experts agree setting limits is important.
Rules offer kids a sense of security and ultimately teach them how to set their own boundaries — an invaluable skill as they prepare to leave the nest, Roffman says. “And they know they have to keep the location service on their phones turned on so we know where they are.” Experts also encourage parents to talk to their children about setting and respecting sexual boundaries, whether in person or online.
And without guidance from a trusted adult, new realities — from racy text messages to online pornography — end up shaping the attitudes and expectations kids bring to their early dating experiences.