How Parents Can Guide Their Children Through Teen Relationships
Thu, October 21, 2021

How Parents Can Guide Their Children Through Teen Relationships

Teenage love—such an innocent and mystifying phase in everyone’s life. People from walks of life have experienced being in love during their teenage years / Photo by: dolgachov via 123RF

 

Teenage love—such an innocent and mystifying phase in everyone’s life. People from walks of life have experienced being in love during their teenage years, and there is no denying that this is also the time when we were very happy being with the person we cared for minus the responsibilities of adulthood. Unfortunately for parents, it can be a dreadful and scary idea, especially when the teenager starts to navigate through the complicated jungles of a dating life. 

In an article published by Better Homes and Gardens, a website that provides lifestyle news, it was mentioned how relationships among the youth can be a complicated thing. This is why it is no surprise that helping your child navigate through their teen dating years is a challenging and daunting task even as it is also a stressful phase for everyone. In the past, parents coped with this by just handing their children lots of restrictions that ultimately prevented them from engaging in any romantic relationship at such a young age. 

However, restrictions can create a monster in their heads. It makes them rebel against the will of their parents. Things can go very differently from what parents are expecting. Although it can be a good thing for teens to experience puppy love, there are also some risks involved. Parents should know when or how to intervene when things get out of hand. Even though it can be tough to determine when to start talking about these things with their children, parents must overcome this obstacle in order to give the appropriate guidance.

 

Acknowledge the Dating Phase

Parents already know that dating will sooner or later come into their children’s lives. At some point, they need to stop looking at them as a baby and start acknowledging that they are growing up into adults. Dating is new territory for both parent and child. Joani Geltman, M.S.W., author of “A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens,” said, “It’s an important statement to put out because parents don’t have to know everything about what to do and what to say. You work through it together. And parents need to get used to the idea of seeing their kids in a different light.”

Having romantic interests for a particular person is completely normal for teenagers. Parents should not stop them from experiencing it or of thinking about dating because it is part of growing up. Instead, parents must be there just to guide them because even though dating trends tend to change from generation to generation, there are some fundamental things that will stay the same no matter what. 

Healthy Children, a website powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, shared in an article that the recent trend among teenagers is for boys and girls to socialize as part of a group. They usually gather around their favorite hang-out place or go to the movies. Don’t confuse group dating, double-dating, or triple-dating because there might be some occasion when there is only a couple among the group while the rest are unattached. 

Having romantic interests for a particular person is completely normal for teenagers. Parents should not stop them from experiencing it or of thinking about dating because it is part of growing up / Photo by: dolgachov via 123RF

 

Set Realistic Rules and Expectations

Even though you’re their parent, it is out of your control when or who your child wants to date. Avoid making unrealistic statements like, “You can’t date until you are 16” because first, it is impossible and second, parents may not be able to enforce it in the first place. Parents will just face lies, resistance, and deceptions from their children, which might put a strain on their relationship.

Instead, parents can set rules and consequences similar to their curfews for their dating activities. “Especially with older teens, let them talk first,” Geltman added. Let them be a part of the conversation where you can negotiate your expectations and how you want them to be met. This agreement must be fair on both sides and it must be mutual. “Remind them you understand that they don’t want to share what’s private in their relationship, but that you do have to agree on the expectations and that is your business.” 

Parents must avoid being cynical about the idea of teenage love as if it were a chemical imbalance or a zit that will just go away after a few days. The relationship is not just about sex either, it can be hormones raging but teenagers today are smart enough to know their responsibilities and limitations regarding their emotions and feelings for other people. 

 

Handling Breakups

Puppy love may be the sweetest thing in the world, but heartbreaks are also the poison that might last till they become adults. The breakup of a romance can be a painful thing at any stage of life. Teenagers haven’t yet learned how resilience works when a breakup happens. The first time they experience romantic rejection, the sadness can bring them to rock bottom. 

Verywell Family, a website that provides tips about parenting and relationship, mentioned that parents must avoid saying, “I told you so” when their child experiences a breakup. Instead, be an active listener and be open to what they have to say without any interruption from you. Only then can you be a part of the healing process and, as a consequence, make your bond with your child even stronger. 

Puppy love may be the sweetest thing in the world, but heartbreaks are also the poison that might last till they become adults. The breakup of a romance can be a painful thing at any stage of life / Photo by: Ian Allenden via 123RF