Adolescence can be a very difficult time in life, for teenagers and their parents. Teenagers are raring to go, ready to step into adulthood, whilst their parents desperately try to keep the little baby they remember them as. And one thing they’re dying to try out? Dating. This is difficult to deal with when you have a son, but with a daughter, it is even more nerve-wracking. So when are they ready to date, and what should you be prepared for?
One thing you should ask yourself is are they natural enough? Of course, you’ll want to say no, but really think about it. How do they deal with their emotions? If you know that your child has bursts of anger, or she doesn’t deal with stress well, then maybe you should try help them deal with this before they get into a relationship, as this will affect how they deal with conflict, which is very likely to happen between teenagers. And leading on from that, do they know how to communicate? Healthy communication is key in a relationship, even their very first one, and if they know how to communicate, then they know how to set boundaries. If she has trouble with this, then you should help her learn how to communicate properly, as this will prepare her for all the relationships she will have, including work ones.
And the most important one of all, do they know how to have safe sex? This might seem a strange one, but teenagers are going to want to experiment, it’s a natural part of their growing up. But the last thing you or they need is a happy little accident happening, so you might as well prepare them for it. A child who understands sex and protection will also understand how to say no, and to enforce their boundaries.
What is dating like?
Nearly every film has a love story in it, with some warped idea of how a relationship works. You need to make sure that your daughter isn’t searching for or expecting a love story like this. Does she know what a real relationship looks and feels like, and I’d not can you give her an example of one? Does she know that it isn’t all cosy and butterflies and sometimes it gets difficult? Help her to understand that when things get tense, it takes work from both sides to fix it, not some flowers and a halfhearted apology
And what is a date like? If your teenager has never been on a date before, they’re likely not going to know what to expect, or how to read the signs of when someone likes them. You could start off by explaining what questions guys like to ask when they are into you so then she knows what to expect, and how to react accordingly. Also help them to figure out what date ideas are best when you’re getting to know someone, and what to expect from these. Such as a coffee date, which is very casual and allows you to properly talk to each other, versus something like crazy golf, which is a good thing to do to get over nerves as you’re not focused on each other the whole time.
How to ignore peer pressure
You might have decided that your daughter is ready to date if she wants to, but she may not want to yet, or even feel ready herself. This is perfectly fine, as some teenagers don’t become interested in dating until later on, they might just be enjoying doing their own thing. That’s normal. But, if she notices that her friends or others in her school are starting to explore this, she might feel pressured to try it herself as to not feel left out or falling behind. Talk to her and explain that everyone does things at their own pace, and she doesn’t need to rush into anything she’s not ready to do simply because everyone else is. Make sure to find out if she’s feeling pressured because of her own expectations, or because of someone else’s. If there are children pressuring your child to do this, or taunting them, you should speak to their school about it, and advise your child to a kid them as best they can.
These are just a few guidelines to help you figure out if your daughter is ready to date, and how to help them into it. A lot of the time, you just need to trust your instinct, as parenting is different for everyone, and each child has their own challenges for you. And eventually, they’ll all grow up.