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teen dating advice for parents

Teen Dating Advice For Parents

by | Feb 24, 2017 | Teen Dating

If it looks like love and sounds like love, then it’s likely love.  It’s kind of crazy to think your teen or even tween could have such big emotions and attachment to someone other than you. It’s easier to dismiss it as “puppy love” as a way to protect them from heartbreak.  But let’s be real, teen love is the real deal. So we put together some resources on teen dating advice for parents. 

According to Psychology Today, the age of puberty has dropped leading to younger ages for first loves and sexual experiences. Review some tips on how to support your teen in love while you let that sink in for a minute (oof).  

Teen Dating Advice for Parents: How To Talk About Teen Love

  • Most importantly, don’t dismiss their emotions. The goal is to have them talk to you about their relationship. If you ridicule their crush or don’t think they’re in love, you’ll end all conversations.
  • Discuss what’s important and accepted in your family as healthy relationships for different ages. Talk about what partners do for fun together at age 12, 15, 18, 25 and 40.  You can even offer to take them to the movies or a dinner.
  • Define loyalty, offer examples of respect for both in the relationship and how compatibility is displayed.
  • Today Parents recommends discussing the benefits of finding a balance in a relationship, especially if your child is getting too involved or obsessed with the relationship. Set limits on device time, or suggest spending time with a variety of friends.
  • Share warning signs with your child to be aware of abusive or controlling behavior.
  • Be a good role model in your own relationships and use teaching moments to describe how you feel loved by your partner and how you express love.

Know the Signs of Unhealthy Teen Dating

Observe your child’s words, behaviors, and time will help you identify if the relationship is going in the wrong direction. Monitor social media and text messages for sexual content or controlling language that can surface much like bullying language. Take caution with this list of warning signs:

  • One of the teens is very controlling
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Bruises and/or injuries that can’t be easily explained
  • Loss of interest in activities the teen previously enjoyed
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Decrease in academic performance or grades
  • Extreme changes in the teen’s personality around the partner
  • Frequent arguments

Every year, approximately 1.5 million high schools students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness month so we encourage you to start the discussion with your children.  According to a national survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center, teen victims of dating violence are overwhelmingly more likely to have been victims of other forms of violence, such as sexual violence and child abuse.

Cyberbullying was also linked to teen dating violence. Youth who had been cyberbullied were three to four times more likely to be teen dating violence victims than any other youth.

Bark can help you monitor your child’s social media activity without being intrusive. Know what you need to know to start the right conversations. Leave the rest to emojis and memes while your teen experiences love. This might be the best teen dating advice for parents. 

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