I did a lot of dating when I was a teenager, but I was only in one long-term relationship before I started dating my husband. I’m not proud of the fact that I went on lots of dates, but rarely with the same guy more than once or twice. If any of those great guys are out there reading this, I apologize for my immaturity. Clearly, I wasn’t quite ready to be in a committed relationship when we dated.
Now that I have my own children, I’m thinking ahead to when they start dating. I want them to have a healthier experience than I did and I know that comes from laying some groundwork. I also know they’ll start talking about it with friends way sooner than their first date. Here are 5 teenage dating tips you can use well before your kids are old enough to date.
It’s never too late to start telling your children they’re valuable simply because of who they are. Make sure your children know they are loved and they are perfect just the way they were created. Their worth does not come from how they act or how they look. Their dignity cannot be taken away and should never be compromised. Use iMOM’s 99 Compliments for Kids printable to start speaking positivity into their lives.
Be the example.
Watch how you discuss your own romantic relationships around your children. Children will get more relationship advice from your actions with your spouse than they ever will get from your words of advice. Allow your child’s watchful eye to inspire you to work on relationship basics, like how you demonstrate affection, good communication, and proper conflict management.
Children will get more relationship advice from your actions with your spouse than they ever will get from your words of advice.
Add variety to their friendships.
Many typical teenage dating tips revolve around how boys should treat girls and vice versa. A lot of that can be taught throughout childhood by encouraging them to have friends of the opposite sex. These friendships teach kids that the opposite sex is human and not covered in cooties (circle circle, dot dot!). Plus it will help with dating jitters.
Make sure no topic is off-limits in your home.
Set the stage for future conversations about dating, marriage, and sex by ensuring that your children feel comfortable discussing anything with you. If your kids bring up a subject you think is too mature to discuss, chances are they are already hearing about it from a source you might not like. So talk about these topics regularly using age-appropriate language, and regularly remind your children that you are always there to offer support, advice, or just a listening ear.
Do a dry run.
Take them out to dinner or practice proper dining at home. My college roommate had special dinners at home every Sunday night with her parents and siblings. Everyone dressed up, ate with nice dishes and cloth napkins, and practiced their manners as they ate. Their parents taught them everything from “please” and “thank you” to the proper placement of utensils throughout a meal. Teaching our kids table manners, to chew with their mouths closed, and to engage in conversation will give them a leg up when they start dating.
What’s the most important thing you want your kids to know before they start dating?