Teenagers and dating in America are almost a synonymous word. When adults see a teen they ask in passing…who are you dating?…Who do you like?… Who likes you?…What’s your girlfriend/boyfriends name?
There is a need to quad your teen as never before. With technology our teens may be texting strangers. They may be interacting on one of the various available Internet sites with a friend that they don’t know. They may have posted their picture in a seductive way. They may have posted photos that give the appearance that they are older. You need to be wiser then your teen. At this point in their life they think that they are all wise but you know better. You know of the teens that have vanished. You know of the neighbor’s daughter who was date raped as the result of being drugged. This is a time to watch carefully, to be informed and to inform them fully and to have eyes and ears in every area of your son or daughter’s life.
Talk to your teens about dangers. Be open. Be explicit. Talk about everything. From strangers to venereal disease. Talk to your teen about their future and the impact of what a wrong choice can do. Talk to them about the missing children faces on signs. Talk to them about prostitution and the pain of living tied to a hunger for drugs. Be the voice that amplifies the warnings that they hear at school or on TV. Be the amplifier. Don’t expect that others have already been that voice so now you can be relaxed. No, be on the edge. Be aware of the dangers yourself. Talk to your son about right behavior with a date and about the dangers of being put in a compromising position where its her word against his. Warn them about pregnancy and the weight of raising a baby as a teen. Talk, talk, talk.
Listen, listen, listen. Listen to them talk about their friends. Pay attention to names. Ask lots of key questions that will lead to your teen talking and you listen to details and pay attention to what websites they mention. Know their desires for the future better than they do and dream with them. Buy them items that will help them go toward those dreams. Invest in their lives. Listen and love. They will feel your love at the level of your listening. If you’ve messed up thus far its not too late.
Listen and look, watch. Be a listener. Listen to conversations, check out their sites that they visit often. Know their passwords for accounts and follow up behind them. Check. Google names that they mention. Ask others if they’ve heard of the newest boyfriend and what he’s like. Even a youth is known for good character or bad. be on top of your teen. Let them feel freedom but at the same time follow closely behind.
Here are some sites that will help you become aware of your teen and the dangers of dating such as physical and sexual abuse. Be aware of the drugs that available in the community and the side effects. Be wiser than your teen and keep them safe so that they can be free to live their future. http://life.familyeducation.com/teen/dating/36539.html
Another site that will help prepare you is http://parentingteens.about.com/od/teendating/a/datingviolence.htm
It is worth playing the detective as well as the loving parent. Do you recall letting your child at six swim for the first time? They were excited and brave but you never left the edge of the pool. It’s that way with our teens. They are excited and learning and enjoying life but we can not leave the edge of their daily activities.