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Teenage Relationships: How young is too young?

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Many dads may joke about how their daughter won’t be allowed a boyfriend until she’s 30 and mums might claim that no girl will ever be good enough for her son, but sooner or later, they will want to begin dating and forming relationships, but with teenage relationships, how young is too young?

Be prepared

There’s no right or wrong age for dating and parents should use their judgement about what is suitable. Some children are more mature than others so may be more interested in the opposite sex sooner. Regardless of when you think they might be ready for a relationship, prepare for these moments so that when the time comes it’s no shock.

teen couple

Start early

You should start discussing relationships from an early age so that when your child is interested, they know they are able to talk to you about it. Even though you might discuss relationships before they reach their teenage years, make it clear that just because you’re discussing it now, doesn’t mean you’re giving them permission to start dating. Relationships can cause emotional turmoil and distract them from their school work or outside hobbies, especially if it breaks down, so they need to wait until they are emotionally mature enough to handle it.

Arguing with teenager

Set boundaries

Many pre-teens will have ‘boyfriends’ or ‘girlfriends’ at school which doesn’t mean they are in any form of adult type relationship. But they may want to spend time with them outside of school. If you are happy with this then set some firm boundaries. Suggest they go out with other friends to the cinema or ice-skating, still allowing them to spend time with the person they want outside of school, but along with their other friends too. You should encourage them to bring new friends home, that way you will get to meet them and if they want to hang out alone, you can keep a watchful, yet discreet eye on them!

How to ‘date’

When kids enter their teenage years you will need to let go of the reins a little more. It’s totally normal for teens to be interested in dating, however they need to be taught how to date. They just want to spend some time alone but talk to them about appropriate behaviour on dates and how to get themselves out of a situation they aren’t comfortable with. Their only interaction they’ve had with the opposite sex might be at school, so may find being alone on a date is a totally new and possibly uncomfortable situation.

Although they will use these experiences as part of growing up, let them know that you’re there for them at any time, whether it’s to discuss how a good date went or picking them up late at night after a disastrous time! Teenagers often get themselves into tricky situations through lack of good judgement, but for their own safety, always let them know you can collect them whenever.teenage relationships: how young is too young

Privacy and compromise

As your teen gets older they will need more privacy, yet at the same time chat to them about what you feel are appropriate rules for dating, times to be home, age differences, where to go on dates etc. Come to compromises on certain things but let them know that even though you’re allowing them to develop their relationship, they should still respect your boundaries and if you haven’t already, chat to them about sex. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean they have to have sex so explain that no means no and never to do anything they are uncomfortable with. Speak to them about contraception and the responsibilities of being in an adult relationship.

Dating should be fun and not pressured its all part of growing up and providing they have a good understanding of what it’s about and to respect your rules, then it will all add to their experience of developing into adulthood.

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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