One of the things parents tend to dread most about raising teenage girls is dealing with conversations surrounding dating and relationships. However, the sooner you start a dialogue about dating with your teenager, the better. With teen girls often expressing interest in romantic relationships as early as middle school, parents must learn how to navigate these conversations in a way that’s non-confrontational, while still being constructive and assertive.
Here are three tips for navigating the world of dating and relationships with your teen daughter:
Define a healthy relationship.
Before your daughter starts dating anybody, it’s important she has a strong sense of what constitutes a healthy relationship. She must understand that “dating relationships” are far different than relationships with friends or acquaintances at school. Explaining to your daughter that a healthy relationship is built on mutual respect, trust and communication is essential. Your daughter should also understand that a healthy relationship should not be all-consuming, and that she should always strive to maintain her own independent identity, interests and goals.
When it comes to “young love,” it’s easy for many teen girls to get wrapped up in new relationships, often putting academics and other responsibilities to the wayside. As a parent, it’s critical that you establish boundaries with your teen about curfews and stipulations you may have in your household. Doing this right away will set expectations from the start so your daughter understands what’s acceptable and allowed.
Communicate openly and respectfully.
Relationships can undoubtedly be a sensitive subject for teen girls, often making it difficult for parents to have meaningful conversations with their daughters about dating-related trials and tribulations. Approaching the subject of dating in a respectful and open manner will help your daughter feel more comfortable sharing her thoughts and feelings and even seeking your input. Most importantly, open communication will show your daughter that you aren’t judging her and are there to listen to her questions or concerns.
Is your teen daughter struggling with dating? A certified life coach can give your teenager the guidance and tools to develop healthy, successful relationships. Get in touch with Amy Schule today at (716) 523-7591.