For many parents, the idea of your teen daughter dating might be terrifying. You might worry about her safety, her feelings, the intentions of teenage boys ... the list is endless. HealthyChildren.org suggests that teens younger than 16 only date in groups, not one-on-one, although this will vary depending on how mature your teen is and what other teens in your community are doing.
Choose a Boyfriend Carefully
Talk to your teen about using care in choosing boys to date. For instance, a "bad boy" might seem fun at first, but can cause damage to her reputation or interfere with her studying habits. Choosing a boyfriend who has similar life goals and is respectful to women will be better for her.
Keep Your Life Balanced
It's hard when in the throes of new love to remember everything else you have going on in life. Encourage your teen to keep her life in balance once she begins dating. Remind her to spend time with her friends and family, and not forget about her hobbies and extracurricular activities.
Explain how important communication is to relationships. Encourage her to communicate openly with anyone she dates, and to keep the lines of communication open with you, suggests DoSomething.org. Ask her not to hide from you who she is dating and that she should feel free to bring him home to meet you and the rest of her family.
Girls Should Value Themselves
Teach your daughter that she doesn't need a relationship to be valued -- she should value herself. This means respecting herself enough to demand being treated well by anyone she dates. It also means breaking up with a partner who pressures her into going farther sexually than she's comfortable with, or who doesn't support her hobbies or educational goals, or who just doesn't treat her well, period.
Talk About Sex
Have a frank discussion with your daughter about sex, preferably before she starts dating. Explain your feelings on teenage sex, including why you think the way you do. For instance, if you don't believe in premarital sex, you could explain to your daughter that you don't feel teenagers are mature enough to take on the responsibilities of sex or that you worry about the emotional health of your daughter if she has sex before she's ready. However, it's important to talk about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them if she does have sex, and how to prevent pregnancy. Also, discuss various methods of birth control.
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