Dating Rules

To teenagers, dating is like a field full of fresh flowers; to parents, the field is often filled with explosive land mines.

Views about dating are different from family to family. Some parents believe in courtship, where kids are encouraged not to date until they’re ready to get married. Other parents allow teenagers to date, but only in groups. I know some dads that would like to forbid their daughters from dating until they’re thirty!

However you feel about dating, it’s important that you communicate it clearly to your kids. And their sixteenth birthday is way too late to do it. The groundwork needs to be laid while they’re still young—before they even show an interest in the opposite sex.

Decide how you plan to approach the subject, then start early talking to your kids about your feelings. Give them a clear sense of your expectations and the reasons for your guidelines. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of conflict during the teenage years.

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