How Parents Can Talk to Teens About Dating (5 Great Tips)

It’s hard to imagine when our kids are young, but one day they will grow into teenagers, and we’ll be dealing with all the stuff that goes along with that. One of those stuff includes dating. How can parents talk to their teens about dating?

No parent is ever prepared for the change; no more helping a tired toddler get to sleep or lovingly packing a lunch for your preschooler.

Instead, you’ll be navigating high school, social media, puberty, and newfound independence. And yes, as hard as it is to believe, we’ll be dealing with teen dating, too.

We understand the urge to stick your head in the sand and ignore that whole phase.

But as their parents, we are their first line of defense when it comes to developing healthy dating habits and relationships. It is so important to be open and honest with your teens so that they can navigate those waters positively.

It doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable conversation, either. Talk to your teens about dating honestly and regularly. It will make them open up to you, allowing them to make their own (hopefully good) decisions. It can be beneficial to all involved.

Read Also: How to Help Your Teen Deal With a Breakup (10 Helpful Tips)

How Parents Can Talk to Teens About Dating

How Parents Can Talk to Teens About Dating

1. Make Sure Your Teens Understand What Constitutes a Healthy Relationship

This is so incredibly important. As much as we want to shield them from hard or potentially harmful things, they will likely encounter unhealthy partners and relationships when they start dating.

Your job is to make sure they know what a healthy relationship is and how to set healthy boundaries. Healthy relationships are born of mutual love, respect, trust, understanding, and communication.

Partners in a healthy relationship support one another and don’t try to hold the other back. Love shouldn’t hurt, and it shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself, and that is the very first thing teens need to understand when they start to explore their relationships.

2. Teach Them to Recognize the Signs of Abuse or Potentially Harmful or Dangerous Behavior

Unfortunately, abuse happens in teen relationships and dating, and our teens need to be able to recognize the warning signs.

Abuse can happen in many forms – physical, mental, emotional, and sexual. It can also be harassment on social media or stalking.

Make sure your teen understands that abuse in any form, controlling who they talk to and what they wear or pushing or screaming or insulting them, is unacceptable.

Be supportive, offer your teen a safe space to talk about what’s happening in their dating life and relationships, and step in when necessary.

You may also want to give your teen a list of resources they can use, like a therapist or a confidential hotline for dating violence, so they can ask for help anonymously if they aren’t comfortable to ready to come to you.

Read Also: 10 Things To Do If You Catch Your Child Watching pornography

3. Talk About the Differences Between Love, Lust, and Infatuation

One of the best pieces of dating advice you can give your teen is that one of the purposes of dating and young relationships is to learn about what they do and don’t want in a relationship, to find themselves, and figure out what they’re looking for.

They don’t need to enter into a serious relationship with every single person they date. On the flip side, make sure they understand that they don’t have to date everyone and shouldn’t invest the time and energy into someone they couldn’t see themselves being in a relationship with.

Additionally, they need to understand and appreciate the differences between love, lust, and infatuation. There’s nothing wrong with lust or infatuation – they’re completely normal aspects of the teen dating experience.

But they’re not the same thing as love. Love takes time to grow and develop and is a different emotion than the immediate physical responses that can occur early on.

4. Talk Openly and Honestly About S3x

No one likes to imagine it, but our kids are going to be sexually active. It’s not our job to shame them for their choices or try to keep them sheltered from making them.

It is our job to give them the tools and knowledge they need to make good, healthy decisions when it comes to s3x.

Talk about how to practice safe s3x, including birth control and STD prevention. Talk about consent and body autonomy – no one has the right to take from them when they do not give express consent.

Connect them with a trusted professional like a doctor or therapist if you don’t feel comfortable answering some of their questions. There’s no reason you can’t talk to your teen about your expectations and hopes for them!

You can and should share Christian values and ethics with them surrounding s3x. But most importantly, be as supportive as you can while ensuring they are safe and smart about what they’re doing.

5. Be Respectful and Supportive

Ultimately, you can’t make their decisions for them. Teen dating has many ups and downs, and there will be plenty of drama and heartbreak.

Make sure your teen knows their parents are there for them, no matter what. You may not agree with every partner they choose, and you may not like every decision they make, but it’s all part of the process.

They just need to know that they have you in their corner, no matter what, when they need someone to turn to.

Read Also: 10 Important Things About Love To Tell Your Daughter When She Turns 18

The Bottom Line

Talk to your kids about dating, especially about healthy dating habits. Don’t stop them from dating; it will only make them hide their relationship from you. It’s better to set dating rules and boundaries.

Ensure to know the family of who your teen dates. This will keep the kids grounded and cautious not to do anything wrong.


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