Recent researches show that 30% eleven-years-old girls have already had a boyfriend. WOW! What has happened between our and their generation? When I was eleven years old, I could have only dreamed about boys. I got first permission to go on a single date when I was sixteen. Not to mention that a boy who wanted to take me out had to ‘survive’ an interview with my dad.
My dad was an officer, you know. No one could mess with him. Imagine a sixteen-year-old boy in front of my dad’s stern and severe face. No guy could dare to have a single dishonest thought after my dad had told him a simple ‘Hello, take care of my girl’. After that, we could go for an ice-cream or to enjoy a very public evening together with a bunch of people around.
Table of Contents
The Gap Between Generations
I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I hated all restrictions I got. Nowadays I could see how lucky we were. We had to wait for the first date, and our first kiss was an event. We were talking with our friends about that for hours, we wrote a diary, watched old romantic Hollywood movies and imagined that we were movie heroines. We had a million reasons to be curious and happy.
Sometimes it seems to me that new generations have a desire to try everything immediately. They experience their first kiss with eleven, and after thirteenth birthday they are grown up and already have serious relationships. They discover what broken heart means too early, and spend childhood disappointed, outraged and unhappy. In an attempt to become adults as soon as possible they sacrifice their youth although they are not ready for it.
Do New Generations Miss Something Important?
I am reading again what I have written, and I’m not sure if I’m too old because I think so, or I’m actually right. I am pretty sure that children (yes, they are children) are not prepared for being in relationships before high school. If they jump into a relationship too soon, they usually miss the beauty of it.
And, they very often have serious problems after their 30th birthday. Everything gets boring to them because they have experienced everything too early. They wake up one morning and discover that they don’t have anything new to find out about interpersonal relations. After that, they often wonder what important things they have missed but unfortunately, they are unable to find the answers.
How to Talk to Teenage Daughter about Dating
These words may sound melancholy, and I’m not sure how much they can help you when your teen girl comes home and tells you she has a boyfriend and wants to go out with him. I know one thing. That moment is not a right time for solving the ‘problem’. When it happens, it’s too late for arguing. It seems that you missed all important talk years ago when it was much easier to establish desirable standards.
Well, what’s done is done. Let’s talk about the question ‘How to talk to your daughter about dating’ when she already has a boyfriend, and her hormones powerfully kick in. Before you begin to despair, remember that dating in teenage years very rarely goes as teenagers expect. Don’t start with yelling in the very beginning and she will ask you to be her support once that her ‘first love’ ends. Otherwise, you can lose her trust.
It’s about time to talk to your child. For a start, be aware that most of the information teenagers have comes from movies and media. That means that this information is not realistic. You should explain to your teen what good relationships exactly are.
1 – If you ask me, the first thing you should do when your child announces her first date is to remember who you once were. It wasn’t during ancient times, you know, only two or three decades have passed since then. You couldn’t forget! If you really want to understand what your ‘little’ girl is going through, you have to go back in time when you were a teenager. Remember how boring your parents were with all these advice? Yeah! And now, you are in the role of the boring ‘old timers’, right? Just be careful and gentle. It will be enough for a start.
2 – Don’t be pushy. If you control your child’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram profiles, she will secretly make other ones. If you trust her, there will be no reason for her lying.
3 – Don’t overreact. If you do that only once after your teens entrust something important to you, she won’t make that ‘mistake’ again. No one wants to tell her parents something and to have them freak out.
4 – Don’t judge them too severely if they make a mistake. You were also making mistakes. Your teenager has right to make her own ones. You need to learn how to deal with it. This period of life is the best for doing experiments. Even the worst experiments are just that – experiments. Keep that in mind and leave a space for conversation.
The Don’ts of Teen Dating
1 – Don’t be a ‘dream-killer’. Let your child dream. We know that all dreams can’t be accomplished, but we haven’t got right to kill a child’s dreams. Imagine the possibility that your kid is one of the lucky ones who will succeed in realizing her dreams. Isn’t it better to support her? Perhaps this negligent and irresponsible boy with long hair and a tattoo will become a good and worthy man for your daughter. Who knows?
2 – When it comes to first love, don’t lecture or ridicule your kid. You know that first love is usually unrealistic, but your teen doesn’t want to believe in reality. All of them need to experience ‘love disaster’ in life, and your duty is to take your child seriously. Your kid’s feelings are real. Please, respect them, or you will get secretive teen. You don’t want to come to that, believe me.
3 – Do not pretend to be her (his) friend! You are not a pal. You are a parent. They have enough friends. All they need from you is to guide them, support them, and be here when they need you. And, yes, they need someone who will set boundaries and give them limits. The parent is the one who can’t allow everything, but also someone who won’t forbid everything. Finding balance is your job. Chit-chat about love and romance is for friends. It’s not the same.
4 – Don’t be over-protective. That means that you haven’t trust your child. Too strict rules, asking too many questions, or punishment for every little thing, will destroy your relationship. When we talk about teens, be sure that this attitude is counterproductive in many ways. If your child didn’t give you a serious reason to be suspicious, avoid expecting the worst of her.
5 – Avoid talking negatively about a new girlfriend (boyfriend). Avoid speaking negatively about opposite sex and dating generally. Parents give basic life guidance to a child, so you should try to avoid painting the world in white and black. Beauty is in all shades of the rainbow.
6 – Don’t ignore the importance of the time you spend together as a family. Quality family time is essential for a healthy relationship between parents and kids, especially teens. Your teen should go out with friends and new love, but she (he) needs to find time for a family. You shouldn’t allow your family fall apart because of teenage love. Once this crush passes, you may not be able to re-establish closeness.
7 – Be prepared for a ‘Veto’. It’s not something you should do too often. But sometimes you have to pull the line if you see that your teen suffers a toxic relationship, a harmful pattern of behavior, or any dangerous activity. In such extreme situations, it is better your teenager is angry for some time, rather than endangering life due to the temporary and harmful satisfaction.
Teenage relationship counseling is not an easy duty. You as a parent should find the right way to explain your teen a difference between infatuation, true love, and lust. It is usually tricky for adults to make a difference between desire and attraction on one side and physiological responses in the other. For teenagers who experience these entirely new feelings for the first time in life, it can be extremely complicated.
If your teen has ‘butterflies in the stomach’ and finds herself in a ‘can’t sleep and can’t eat’ situation, support her even though you know it is not the true love. For them, it is ‘love forever’, and no one has right or reason to take it away from them. Let them enjoy. Finally, the teenage age lasts only a few years, but these young loves will be remembered for a lifetime.