“Even the word ‘rules’ tends to lead to a struggle with teenagers,” says Ponton, who has two children and two step-children, now all in their 20s.“A more successful approach comes from mutually agreed-upon guidelines.” Discuss curfew, group and private dating, whether you want to meet their date first and how they’ll inform you of their welfare and whereabouts while they’re out.Model Healthy Relationships Being a good role model to our kids as we interact with our spouses and others is the first step toward ensuring they’ll develop healthy connections as teens and adults, Ponton and Brown say.Enforcing rigid gender stereotypes or engaging in harmful relations ourselves can set our kids up for relationship woes later on.“America has the highest rate of date rape in the world, and the statistics are very high among teens and young adults.” Make sure they know never to meet someone alone that they encountered online. Come pick me up at our spot down the street.” Talk Safe Sex When your teen starts dating, it’s time to discuss specific safe sex methods. When a sexual encounter comes up, Brown says parents can ask, “Where was the talk about protection?Come up with a code that they can text or tell you over the phone anytime they’re out. I wonder if the talk about the condom happened behind the scenes.” When your teen is in a serious relationship, talk to both teens if possible, and make sure they realize the gravity of sexual intimacy, Brown says.
What can a parent do to make sure their dating teens are happy and safe?
We caught up with two local experts on teen relationships and sexuality and asked for their tips on setting guidelines for kids entering the dating game.