The development years for a teenager can be scary for many parents. It involves mood swings, college decisions, puberty and many other things which may include dating. A child’s development is a sign of growth and dating is a sign of maturation. It’s very critical for parents to be present during this phase for their teenager. There are a few steps you can take to ensure this chapter in your child’s life can be healthy.
Communication is essential. It’s important to communicate with your child about what a healthy relationship consists of. Social media plays a huge role in our society and exposes various variations of dating to our children. As a parent, you need to inform your child of what it means to be in a loving, respectful relationship. The door to communication always has to be open between you two.
If you have a significant other, set an example of what it means to be in a relationship of growth and love. Your child is like a sponge, absorbing every piece of information and every move you make. Therefore, be mindful of your behavior with your partner around your child.
It’s nerve racking to cope with your teenager entering the dating world, however, you don’t want to set them up for failure. Share with them the meaning behind trust. Not only as their parent but as their friend, it’s important to always keep their best interest in mind.
As much as this new phase may be difficult for you, maintain a calm behavior when addressing any questions in regard to your child’s relationship. This phase is meant to develop and prepare your child for the dating world in the future. There should be boundaries in your child’s relationship. You must actively engage with your child around this topic by setting an example. It’s very easy to get caught up in society’s idea of what a relationship should look like, especially since children are easily exposed to the media. If parents do not step in, society will set the boundaries of a relationship for them.
Provide your child with rules where supervision is not present. However, refrain from being too dictatorial. Children tend to turn toward the rebellion side when parents use harsh techniques. Allow a healthy amount of freedom, by doing so, listen to what your child is saying and use reasoning to decide relationship rules.
Supporting your child is the biggest rule to follow as a parent. Engaging with your child’s partner creates a relationship of confidence and support. Reassure them that you’ll always be present to talk and listen. Creating a healthy environment for your child and their partner will create a stable relationship with all parties involved.
Your experience and guidance will play a huge role in how your child allows their partner to treat them. Young love can be fun and purposeful for the both of you with the proper advice and supervision.
Natalie Noisom is a student at the University of Miami. Her Major is Broadcast Journalism; her Minor is Sports Administration.