9 Tips to Survive Teen Dating
Introducing teenage children to the rules and responsibilities of dating gives parents opportunities to teach their values and keep their kids safe. Although dating rules will be different from family to family, here are some commonly suggested dating guidelines for teens:
Establish age minimums for dating
Allow group or double dating after age 14 – typically when a child is finishing middle school and entering high school. Wait until age 16 to allow one-on-one dating.
School nights are for school activities and homework
Don’t allow dating on school nights. For a teen’s overall health and well-being sticking to a school night routine is best.
Curfew on the weekends
Friday and Saturday night dating should come with a curfew that has been previously set such as midnight. As your child ages, this curfew can be adjusted. Be aware of local laws that might already set a curfew for teens.
Keep alcohol out of the dating scene
The legal drinking age is 21 and should be honored at home and at parties outside the home. Know where your teen will be for the evening and verify that alcohol will not be served. It is ok to say ‘no’ to your teen if you find out an adult won’t be present at the party to enforce the no alcohol rule. Set the example and enforce this rule in your own home by being present when your teen is entertaining their friends.
Be aware of who is doing the driving
Most states have restrictive driving rules now for teens that center around how many non-family passengers can be in the car while teens are driving. Check with other parents and verify safe driving records of their children. Limiting driving distances for dates to in-town driving may also be helpful. Have designated driving rules in place and back up plans if no one is capable of driving.
Do the driving yourself
While this may embarass your teen, it does provide peace of mind for you and other parents involved.
Know the families of people your teens are dating
It’s easy to pick up the phone and have a conversation before the date occurs. Use this opportunity to mutually agree on ground rules.
Know the itinerary for the date
Ask where the date will occur and agree that if locations change your teen will call you. With today’s technology it is easier to track a teen’s movement through items such as their cell phone. It’s best though to build a trusting relationship with your teen on this issue. Verify that an adult will be present if the date is at a private home.
Educate your teens about sex and alcohol
The average American youth has sex for the first time at about age 17, while about 26% of U.S. youth ages 12 to 20 have begun to drink alcohol. Assume that your kids will have sex or drink and give them the proper information to keep themselves safe. Here is a helpful link to the age of consent laws in each state.