Chances are if you are reading this, you are a parent curious about what your teenage child is doing when he goes out with his significant other. First of all, don't worry; it's not as bad as it may seem on television. However, the dating scene for teenagers has changed drastically since you were a kid. Read on to discover how to clue into what it going on in that crazy world of teen dating.
- Talk to your kids: It may seem like a difficult task, especially since teenagers tend to communicate in one-word monosyllabic grunts, but the best way to learn about teen dating is to talk to your child about it.
- Ask him what it means when he goes out with his significant other. Explain that you are not trying to pry into his social life, but that you just want a better understanding of what he is doing.
- Be ready with your questions. Depending on the age of your child and the region of the country, common slang phrases like "hook-up" and "dating" mean completely different things. Ask your child what they mean to him.
- Talk to other parents: By talking to other parents who are in the same situation as you are, you will most likely be able to gain a little more insight into the world of teen dating.
- Utilize your resources: If you are genuinely concerned about your child's social life, there are ways to figure out what he is doing. Most teenagers today have either Facebook or Myspace pages that you can access by setting up your own account. While it is a slight invasion of privacy, it is not extreme as they are posting their thoughts and comments in a public forum on the Internet.
- Remember what it was like to be in their shoes: Think back to when you were a teenager and how irritated you would get at your parents for attempting to understand your social life. Establish solid trust with your child and open lines of communication and he will feel comfortable talking to you about what he is doing.
- Some important things to remember:
- In middle school, kids tend to go on group dates where there is some handholding and perhaps some mild kissing. It's more of a statement to have a boyfriend or girlfriend than anything else.
- In high school, things can get very complicated. Some teens enter into their first real relationship, which evolves to a first love. Make sure to not belittle your child's feelings as then he will not want to share any information with you at all. One-on-one dates are more common and teens can take things to an adult sexual level. Be sure to talk to your teenager about what is and is not appropriate in your eyes (in a non-threatening way). Make sure he or she knows that dating does not equal sex.
- If you are curious about terms you heard your child use, but you do not want to ask him what they mean, check out UrbanDictionary. It has definitions that teenagers provided which will help you gain insight into the psyche of your child.
If you trust your teenager and don't try to keep him from entering the dating scene, he is less likely to rebel and make stupid mistakes to spite you. Open and honest communication is key when learning about teen dating.