The Nervous Parent’s Solution for Relaxing While Your Child Dates

Nervous ParentsIt’s natural for parents to sweat a little when their children start dating. Steady yourself by getting a sense of what’s in store and deciding how you can best support your sons and daughters through all the excitement and heartbreaks ahead.


In general, budding romantic interests are likely to emerge when a child is about 12 to 14. Starting at about the age of 15, they may be ready for a somewhat more intense personal relationship. Your love and guidance can help them find their way around this new territory.


Managing Relationship Issues

  1. Encourage group activities. In recent years there’s been a positive trend towards young people congregating in larger numbers rather than pairing off too early. This kind of socializing is great for letting kids get to know each other with less awkwardness.
  2. Teach respect. Be a good role model for understanding the value of life and honoring every creature. Raise children who are considerate of people’s feelings and hold themselves accountable for how they treat others.
  3. Strengthen social skills. Use entertaining at home or visiting relatives as a training opportunity. Kids who are comfortable and courteous in a variety of settings will have an easier time relating to others.
  4. Examine what to look for in a partner. Let kids know that physical attraction is a delightful part of life. At the same time, advocate for giving equal time to more enduring qualities like integrity and compassion.
  5. Start early. Open communication is a long process rather than a single talk about intimacy. Discuss sensitive issues with tact and provide age appropriate information. Focus on values.

Managing Safety Issues


  1. Set a curfew. Make it clear what time your child is expected home. Require them to call you if there are any delays.
  2. Check in after school. Mischief can occur when kids get together while it’s still light out. If your child returns home while you’re still at the office, establish rules and a ritual for calling each other. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on things.
  3. Declare amnesty. When it comes to the most serious issues, your family needs complete confidence in each other. Let your kids know there’s no punishment as long as they tell you if they need a ride home after drinking or if they’ve been exposed to violence.
  4. Monitor online communications. Some relationships seem to be conducted entirely by text messages these days. Stay up to date with online security including monitoring what privacy settings your kids are using on social media and letting them know that you may inspect their phone and text messages. Consider keeping home computers in a public area.
  5. Meet your children’s friends. Make it a habit for your child to introduce you to anyone they spend a lot of time with. Ask them to give you their friend’s phone numbers. Continue the same procedures with their dates.

Additional Suggestions


  1. Appreciate your influence. Even if your teens cringe at your weekend wardrobe and outdated slang, they still care what you think. Use your powers for good.
  2. Critique media influences. Music videos alone fail to give a very reliable depiction of love and romance. Suggest reputable sources of information to your kids like university and government websites to back up what you have to say.
  3. Bolster self-worth. Children who feel valued are more resilient and equipped to make better choices. They’ll find it easier to set boundaries and have healthy interactions with others.

Be there for your children as their first group outings and high school proms lay the foundation for their adult partnerships to come. Relax and take satisfaction in giving your sons and daughters the best head start you can possibly provide.

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