When it comes to our teens and tweens, there comes a time that nearly every parent dreads. Dating. As our kids get older and begin to grow into themselves, the kinds of relationships they create grow and change with them. They start noticing others in a special kind of way. It’s a critical moment in their lives, and as parents, we need to make sure to be there to guide and comfort them through these times.
While our kids begin to branch out, its our job to set a good example for them. We can do this with our own relationships. An unhealthy relationship between parents can confuse a child emotionally. The child can find themselves in a relationship that is abusive and be unaware of it because that was the ‘norm‘ in their home. It is not to say that a child from divorced parents or single parents will be destined for failure. A single parent can set a good example using healthy, responsible dating, and divorced parents can set an example by not involving the children in their ‘dirty laundry‘. When they say “children date their parents“, it is absolutely true. Without a doubt, our relationships are the most important aspect that influences our teens and tweens.
With that being said, we also need to watch our teens and tweens for signs of an abusive relationship and help them through any trouble they might be in. We can do this by being understanding of our teens and tweens feelings, listening, sharing helpful advice, and taking appropriate action on ways of getting out of that situation.
As our teens and tweens begin to date, it’s natural for us to want to be involved in every aspect of their lives. This can be difficult and frustrating for us because of many reasons. We may disapprove of their love interest or actions. We may want to give advice and over involve ourselves. This might be off-putting to our teens and tweens because they may not understand why or even want our help.
We need to be open and able to talk to our children about our feelings and what is healthy and what is unhealthy. We need to set clear, concise ground rules about their relationships and what is appropriate for dating. We also need to respect our childrens privacy when it comes to their love life when they ask for it, as long as no one is getting hurt. Finally, as hard as this one may be, we need to allow our children to experience the love and heartache that comes along with a romantic relationship. As much as we feel the need to save them from making mistakes and protect them from every kind of pain that is out there, as parents, we must understand that this is crucial for them to be able to grow into successful adults.
We will talk more about this subject as it is so critical. Meanwhile, maybe share with your kids some of your own memories of your first crush, first date, etc. and help them see that you are real. You have been there! That way they will feel more courageous to open up to you. You may even have fun and a good laugh, sharing these special moments of life that all of us have gone through!