Parenting guide to dating
When my ex walked out, my daughter wasn’t even two yet.I remember saying to my mom that I didn’t know anyone else who was divorced, single parenting and dating.Are lots of kids the same as yours already dating in the true sense of the word?When you’ve made a decision, be clear with your child about your expectations.When your child mentions dating, or a girlfriend or boyfriend, try to get an idea of what those concepts mean to them.Take note of how your child reacts when you discuss dating.
You may be surprised to hear dating labels like “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” and “together” from the lips of your sixth-grader.
It could be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing, but if your child is unable to even discuss it with you without getting defensive or upset, take that as a sign that they probably aren’t ready. Be aware that for many tweens and young teenagers, dating amounts to socializing in a group. It’s important to consider your child as an individual.
While there may be interest between two in particular, it’s not double-dating so much as a group heading out or meeting up at the movies or the mall. Consider their emotional maturity and sense of responsibility.
Explain if and how you want your child to check in with you while they’re out, what you consider acceptable and appropriate behavior, and curfew. We may use terms like “puppy love” and “crush” to describe teenage romances, but it’s very real to them.
Don’t minimize, trivialize, or make fun of your child’s first relationship.
You go from changing their diapers, to teaching them how to tie their shoes, to eventually helping them understand dating and love.