Dating and teenagers can be a daunting mix for any parent. What age is the right age? Do they know enough about sex and relationships to make the right choices? Unfortunately, these are questions all parents will have to wrestle with.
If you feel that your adolescent is ready to date, then it’s a great idea to teach him or her some important dating etiquette. To ensure you have well-adjusted, mature kids and not troubled teenagers, it’s important to set standards for them, and encourage them to make their own guidelines as well.
1. Punctuality is a great place to start, and this is important for both boys and girls. Make sure your kids know that it’s rude to leave somebody waiting and that it gives the impression that they’re not particularly interested in the date.
2. Conversation is the key and, let’s be honest; it’s not always something adolescents excel at. As a parent, it’s a good idea to encourage conversation, even if your teen doesn’t seem enthralled by the idea of talking to you.
3. Clothing can be a contentious issue between parents and teens. If you have strict rules about the kind of clothes your child wears, be sure to stick to them and try to explain why you don’t think a certain pair of jeans or a skirt is appropriate for a date.
4. Chivalry isn’t dead, nor is it the exclusive realm of men. Both sexes should learn how to be polite; hold doors open for other people and be gracious in accepting such courtesy.
5. Splitting the bill is something that most modern girls and boys should embrace. It’s not the ‘male role’ to pay for a date. Moreover, if the cost of the date is divided, it does not leave a girl feeling that she is in any way beholden to her companion.
6. Discuss appropriate boundaries for expressing affection, which may depend upon their age or views. However, the most important thing for any teenage boy or girl to learn is to not advance physical contact further than their date is comfortable with.
7. Ensure that your teen understands the importance of being polite and friendly towards their date’s parents or guardians.
8. Tell your teen that it’s okay to turn down a date, but make sure that he or she knows how to do so in a kind and polite manner.
9. It is always a good idea to set a curfew for dates, and have firm consequences for breaking it. Even if you’re not as strict as other parents, ensure that your teen respects the curfews of his or her date.
10. Encourage your teens to be savvy about drinks and drugs. Don’t simply ignore the issue; have an open and honest conversation about the consequences. Make sure that when your teen is on a date, he or she will be strong enough to refuse the offer of alcohol or drugs.
Clearly, teenage dating can be a minefield and we all know, because we’ve been there. So, we also understand that it’s not just troubled teenagers (but the straight ones as well) who can find themselves in the path of temptation. Hopefully, teaching your teens some basic dating etiquette will help them to confront this new chapter of their lives in a mature and responsible fashion.
Submitted by Agnes