A fellow mom recently told me a rumour had it that a 9th-grade boy was dating an 8th-grade girl in her daughter’s school. Well, though there was no way to confirm the rumour; it raised the anxiety levels of most parents. These kids were too young to date and form romantic alliances. What if they ended up with teen pregnancy?
If you thought that you would talk about dating and romantic relationships with your children when they become adults or start going to college, it might be too late by then. Today’s young adults have exposure to social media from where they can get all sorts of ideas and wouldn’t mind experimenting with their body urges and desires.
Here is some help your way to sort out this parenting issue.
Acknowledge Their Emotions and Desires
Keep open communication with your children on this topic. Listen to their queries, doubts and fears before jumping to conclusions or giving them any advice. Let your teens know that a sexual attraction between two people is normal. However, the right age to start dating or enter romantic relationships is only after they turn adults. Attraction doesn’t translate into eternal love. Talk to them about sentiments and responsibility in such relationships.
Explain the Consequences
A relationship can end in conflicts, break ups, heartbreak and even pregnancy. Talk to them about abusive relationships where one partner always feels sad, depressed, threatened or guilty. Do your children understand these aspects of relationships? They should know that at their age, they are not physically, emotionally and mentally ready to enter romantic relationships.
Do’s and Don’ts of Dating
While you don’t want your teens to date in the first place, they might still go behind your back. You can’t avoid that unless you know but the least you can do is that your teen is aware of the do’s and don’ts of dating.
- Do not meet a person they have met online.
- Do not enter a physical relationship before adulthood.
- Do not give into a forced physical relationship – your consent is equally necessary.
- Have safe sex (explain about birth control, condoms and sexually transmitted diseases)
- Keep the parents informed about their whereabouts and friends.
- Do not hesitate to call the parents when they feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a situation.
- Do not accept any drinks, cigarettes or drugs during dating. Keep a close eye on what is being served to you – try to get it yourself.
Young love is blind and your teens might fall prey to it. The best parenting step you can take here is to make your teens aware of the good and bad so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to dating and romantic relationships. If anything untoward happens, stand by their side to help them tide through the consequences.