Growing up in my parents’ house, sixteen was the magic age. It was when I could finally start going on dates!
While my enthusiasm for dating quickly declined once I entered adulthood, I treasure those first few years in the dating scene. They were the most fun and came with the least amount of pressure.
If your teen is showing an interest in going on dates, it might be time to get together and talk about these eight great dating rules for teens!
Remember Who You Are
No matter your age, it’s imperative to remember that you are independent from your romantic partner. You are your own person—be sure to stay that way!
Encourage your teen to keep dabbling in their hobbies and exploring their interests. Make sure they know that anyone worth being with will celebrate what makes them happy! In fact, your teen may even teach their romantic interest a bit about their hobbies and interests so the two can enjoy them together.
Most importantly, remind your teen that their romantic partner should bring out the best version of themself! If anyone makes your teen feel like they need to change who they are, it’s time to date someone new.
Keep Your Friends Close
We’ve seen it in every sitcom and chick flick. Characters get into new relationships, they fall head over heels, then they forget about their friends.
Encourage your teen to make time with their friends a priority! Sleepovers with the girls, video games with the dudes, and hangouts with the whole crew are always a must—even when you’ve got someone special. No friend wants to be pushed aside for a romantic partner!
The truth is, most teenage relationships don’t last. When your teen is hit with a breakup, they’ll need the support of their friends to make it through!
Dating Should Be Fun
Dating is supposed to be fun during the teenage years! Your teen is just beginning to dip their toes into a phase of life they’ll likely experience for years to come. It should be lighthearted, fun, and exciting—not dramatic, stressful, or painful.
Remind your teen not to get too serious with anyone. Encourage them to go out on dates with friends and peers to get to know them better! Dating different people will help them learn what they like—and don’t like—in partners and relationships.
Suggest group dates to your teen. Being with a bigger group of people might ease them into dating and help them feel more comfortable. Activities like school dances, escape rooms, and bowling make great group dates!
Stay Safe with Online Dates
With social media and dating apps becoming more and more popular, be sure to talk to your teen about staying safe online.
Together with your teen, create clear cell phone rules to protect them while they date:
- Don’t meet up with people you met online without talking to your parents.
- Absolutely no sexting!
- Turn in your phone to your parents at night.
With Troomi, your teen has an extra layer of security to keep them safe as they date. You can track their location while they’re on dates, manage their contacts, limit their screen time, and monitor their text messages—even the deleted ones! Click here to learn more.
If you grant your teen permission to go out with someone they connected with online, agree to a few safety terms:
- Meet in a public place during daytime hours
- Clearly communicate pick-up and drop-off times
- Have your teen share their location with you via real-time GPS
- Ask for text and picture updates
- Suggest your teen bring friends or make it a double date
Handle Rejection with Grace
Remind your teen that when they ask someone out on a date, the person they asked isn’t obligated to say “yes.” If they get turned down or rejected, it’s okay!
Rejection is a normal part of life. We don’t get every job we apply for, our ideas aren’t always accepted by classmates and colleagues, and we get overlooked for awards and recognition. It hurts, but you grow through what you go through.
Let your teen feel their feelings, but encourage them to keep pushing forward!
Know the Signs of Abuse
Unfortunately, people can be abusers at any age. Talk with your teen about the signs of abuse in a romantic relationship:
- Forced isolation from friends and family
- Electronic monitoring
- Constant criticism or mean comments
- Sexual force or coercion
- Violence or physical harm
- Verbal threats to safety
Let your teen know that if they’re experiencing this treatment in their dating relationships, they can confide in you. Reassure your teen that you’re on their side and will do anything it takes to keep them safe from harm!
Consent Is Crucial
However your family views and communicates about human sexuality, it’s important to have some kind of conversation about the birds and bees with your teen—especially before they begin dating.
In addition to the usual points related to sexual health and pregnancy prevention, don’t forget about the basics. Make sure to talk to your teen about mutual respect, consent, and safety as they go on dates.
Remind your teen that they can come to you if they’re feeling pressured to do anything they’re not ready to do. Maintain an open line of communication with your teen when they have questions—and respond with complete and honest answers.
Respect Your Parents & Remember Your Priorities
As exciting as it can be to go on dates, talk to your teen about balancing their priorities. They’re still students and kids! They have homework to complete, extracurricular activities to enjoy, and responsibilities at home to tend to.
While your teen heads out on dates and forms romantic relationships, set some ground rules:
- Restrict dating until your teen reaches a certain age
- Put an age limit on their dating partners
- Encourage group dates and limit one-on-one dates
- Limit your teen’s dates to weekends
- Have a curfew in place
- Require an adult to be in the house when dates are in your home
- Make sure all doors stay open
- Require that homework, chores, and other responsibilities are complete prior to dates