Tips for Establishing Dating Rules for Your Teen

Establish rules for dating before you let your teen go on a date.
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The thought of a teen going on dates can make even the calmest of parents a little nervous. But, it’s important to allow your teen a little freedom to try dating while he’s still living under your roof.

Create clear guidelines about your expectations to help your teen understand the importance of healthy relationships and the risks associated with sexual activity.

Any rules you choose to create should be dependent upon your child’s level of maturity. While some teens can handle group dates at the age of 14, others aren’t quite mature enough to handle dating until they’re older.

Here are some things to consider when creating rules for your teen:

1. Get to Know Anyone Your Teen Wants to Date

If your teen's date pulls up and honks the horn from the driveway instead of coming in to meet you, make it clear that your teen isn't going on a date. You can always start by meeting a date at your home a few times for dinner before allowing your teen to go out on a date alone.

Create clear guidelines about internet dating as well. Many teens talk to individuals online and establish a false sense of intimacy. Consequently, they're more likely to meet people they've chatted with for a date because they don't view them as strangers.

2. Know Who, What, Where, And When

Make sure you have a clear itinerary for your teen’s date. For younger teens, inviting a romantic interest to the house may be the extent of dating that is necessary. Or you can drive your teen and a date to the movies or a public place.

But older teens are likely to want to go out on dates on the town without a chauffeur.

Make it clear you need to know the details of who your teen will be with, where they will be going, and who will be there. Establish a clear curfew as well. It’s important to know what your teen is up to when going out on dates.

3. Establish Age Limits

In some states, teens can date anyone they want once they reach 16, but in other states they don’t have that choice until they turn 18. But, legal issues aside, set some rules about the dating age range.

There’s usually a big difference in maturity level between a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old. There may be more pressure to have sex or a 14-year-old may struggle to be assertive with an older date. Encourage your teen to date people who are close in age.

4. Keep the Bedroom Door Open

If your teen invites a date into your home, make a rule that says the door must stay open. Teens who are given complete privacy are likely to grow tempted to engage in sexual activity.

Establish clear expectations about the importance of having conversation and doing activities together that don’t involve sexual activity.

5. Know Who is Home at the Other Person’s House

If your teen is going to a date’s home, find out who will be home. Have a conversation with the date’s parents to talk about their rules.

Other families may not have any set rules or may not see the need to provide any type of supervision. So, it’s important to inquire in a polite but straightforward manner what type of rules and supervision will be offered.

6. Discuss Technology Dangers

Technology can be problematic for teens involved in romantic relationships in several ways. Sometimes, teens are tempted to comply with a date’s request to send nude photos. Unfortunately, these photos can become public very quickly and unsuspecting teens can have their reputations ruined quickly.

Soliciting and passing along photos of underage teens that contain nudity can also have legal consequences. If a boy receives a photo of his girlfriend and he passes it along to his friends, he could receive charges for distributing child pornography. It’s essential that parents discuss the dangers of sharing sexual conversations and photos through the internet.

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