The dating world has changed a lot since you were a teenager because of today’s technology, and has left many parents longing for the good ole days when you asked someone out in person or on the phone. Here are some ideas on parenting our teens through their dating relationships.
My first date was in the 1980s. I’ll spare you the exact year, but suffice it to say the internet was not invented, and the few cell phones that existed were for emergency use only. There was no such thing as texting, Snapchat, Facetime or Instagram back then, and if you wanted to go on a date with someone, you asked them in one of two ways: in person or by calling them on the phone.
Fast forward to today and our kids have a range of opportunities for socializing that we would have never dreamed possible 30 years ago. These advances in modern technology have changed the way teenagers approach dating relationships, and have left many parents (me included!) longing for the good old days when dating seemed much simpler. But it’s time to face the facts. Times have changed, and as parents we have to adapt our approach to meet the demands of the 21st century. With that in mind, here are some ideas on parenting our teens through their dating relationships:
Face Time in Person
Encourage your son or daughter to spend time with their girlfriend or boyfriend in person. One of the best ways for your child to get to know someone is still through old-fashioned face-to-face contact. With so many ways to connect electronically, teens in dating relationships frequently spend more time interacting with each other through social media apps or texts than they do in real live conversations. Remember, dating is practice for their future adult relationships. The more live one-on-one communication practice they get while dating, the better they will be at communicating once they are married. And as a bonus, encouraging your son or daughter to spend time with their boyfriend or girlfriend will allow you to get to know him or her better too.
58% of teens would ask someone on a date via a text message
Did you know text-dating has become so common among teens a new word has been formed? According to an article on psychologytoday.com, the term “textationship” refers to relationships based primarily on texts, and these interactions rarely include face-to-face time or even phone calls.
Less Instant Contact
These days it seems like teens are practically glued to their cell phones. If someone texts them, they reply immediately. Same with Snapchat and Facetime. But guess what? They don’t have to always reply quickly. Let them know that it’s okay to wait to reply to their boyfriend or girlfriend if they are busy. Encourage them to talk to their boyfriend or girlfriend about the fact that they have other relationships, activities and obligations that may keep them from being able to respond immediately. And if they are in their bedroom or the bathroom, teach your kids to avoid Snapchat, Facetime and picture texts.
Honor dating traditions that make sense for your family and your values. Discuss with your teen what your expectations are for his or her dating relationships. For example, if a boy wants to go out on a date with your daughter, let her know that you expect him to come to the front door and meet you before they leave. Establish a curfew and stick to it. Require your teen to tell you where they will be on their date and tell them that you expect them to call or text you if they have a change in plans. Many of the same rules and expectations that our parents had for us when we were dating still work.