Try to be open to discussing it, rather than lecturing them.
Who's in the group going to X's house Friday night? To keep it from being an interrogation—leading to shut down—it's good to just make it chit-chat in an effort to get the teen interested in a few topics so that they enjoy sharing.
By accident, you may hear some names that crop up more and more.
RELATED: Living with a mood swingin' tween To get any personal info on your teen's dating, it's usually helpful to have some "grapevine" info to start with, like, "I heard that you and Sarah were going out … I'd rather hear the real scoop from you than have to rely on gossip." But don't expect a big download. Just because another mom has a Chatty Cathy, that doesn't mean your Clam-up Kid is "less close" to you. Younger teens usually pursue their romantic interests via texts and third parties who scout out whether the other party is interested.
Dating is a time of social experimentation for teens.
It’s a time to test out which type of partners appeal to them, and how they can negotiate a romantic relationship.
But it can also be a confusing time and a difficult time for parents too. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital, has some advice. Your relationship with your partner is a model for how your teen will behave with others. Being manipulated, verbally put down, pushed or slapped and kept isolated from other relationships are all signs of an abusive relationship. Tell them they need to be honest and clear in communications. Make them think seriously about what sexual intimacy really means to them.
Teen dating can be a wonderful and fun time where self confidence is built up, and dating techniques are learned. Attorney General reports that 38 percent of date rape victims are girls between the age of 14 and 17. Teach them how to date, how to have respect for one another and how to protect themselves from emotional and physical hurt. Your relationship for your child speaks far louder than anyone’s words. Help them pay attention to the voice inside that says, “I’m uncomfortable in this situation and don’t want to do this.” Teach them to trust their judgment. Tell your sons that having sex does not make them a man and tell your daughters that having sex does not make them cool. Make sure both your son and daughter understand that, and that they should come to you or another parent/teacher/counselor if they feel at all threatened or oppressed by their boyfriend or girlfriend. “I’m not sure…” from a girl can mean “I just need to be pushed or pressured some more before I say yes” to her date. Tell boys if they hear “No” then proceeding anyway is rape. Tell boys they are not expected to try a million different ways to get sex.
Teens also learn how to be both assertive and compromising, how to be giving to another and how to expect the same in return. Show them how you compromise, stick up for yourself, give and expect respect and argue but love your spouse. Tell girls that they do not need to have sex to keep a guy. Many kids are having these forms of sex because they tell themselves it’s not really sex. Then tell them about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
All of this is a sort of practice session in order to find “Mr.” or “Miss Right.” Unfortunately, too often teens start dating with no preparatory talks from their parents and then they can get into trouble. You hope they will wait to have sex, but if they don’t, it’s best that they protect themselves.