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Teen Dating: How to Know When Your Child is Ready


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The subject of teen dating sends many parents into a panic. Once our kids express an interest in dating, it’s hard not to worry about the potential for broken hearts, sexual pressure, and everything else that goes along with this new stage in their lives.

Though you might be tempted (or have already established) a specific age at which you allow teen dating, since each child develops differently, there are many other things you should consider. Instead of, or in addition to, an age guideline, there are some other signs of teen dating readiness to look for.

boy and girl teen holding hands with title text reading How To Know When Your Teen Is Ready To Date

The days of pushing the opposite sex to get their crush’s attention on the playground are over. At this point, your kiddos are no longer giggling, when they talk about the opposite sex. They may be spending hours a night, glued to their phones as they chat, or text their crush.

Does this mean they are ready to date? Ultimately, the decision of when your teen can start dating is up to you. Continue reading for some ideas to consider, when your teen asks to go out on their first date.

Signs of Teen Dating Readiness

A trademark characteristic of the teen years is that your child will want to make his or her own decisions. However, it’s during this period of transition to adulthood when your advice and guidance is the most critical!

While your teen might look and speak like an adult, the hormonal, chemical and biological changes that take place during this stage can interfere a lot with good judgment. Be involved in this process of deciding if your child is ready for teen dating.

Is Your Teen Emotionally Ready?

Dating can be an emotional roller coaster, especially to hormonal teenagers. The ups and downs can be blissful, yet also treacherous.

Does your son or daughter seem to be able to handle stressful situations well? Are they able to talk to you, and open up about boys or girls in their class? If your teen seems emotionally mature to the concept of dating, it is likely okay to let them give it a go.

Does Your Teen Feel Pressured to Date?

Peer pressure is easy to succumb to. When their friends all start dating, they may feel left out of conversations and/or activities. This may make your teenager feel pressured into dating so that they can be included as well. However, this is not a good reason to start dating!

If this is the only reason your teen is interested in dating, remind them that there is no hurry to enter the dating world just yet. Let them know that it is okay to wait a little longer before they embark on their first date.

Does Your Teen Know Who They Are?

Has your teen found themselves yet? Do they know what they enjoy doing and what makes them happy? Once they commit themselves to a relationship, they will likely lose focus on themselves, to focus on another person.

Every teen needs to find themselves before they can invest that time in another person. It’s a sign of maturity when your teenager knows their own likes, dislikes, and what makes them happy, sad, and so on.

Have They Come to You?

Most teens that are ready to date, will come to you! They’ll let you know when they are ready to start seeing someone. You’ll know your teen is ready to date because they will show signs of maturity.

Use the questions above to guide your evaluation of your child’s readiness for teen dating. Make sure to involve your teen in the conversation so that when he or she is ready to date, you’ll both be comfortable with the decision.

boy and girl teen holding hands on a path outdoors

More Resources for Parenting Teens

With four teens and one tween of my own, this is a parenting phase with which I’m very familiar! If you found this post on teen dating helpful, you might enjoy some of these other posts related to parenting teens.

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