Although your teenage daughter might be thrilled that she’s got a boyfriend, the relationship might make you apprehensive. Rather than worry, however, consider it a valuable step along her journey to adulthood. The University of Minnesota Extension website notes that dating can improve a teen’s social skills, sense of identity and self-esteem. Even so, your daughter still needs your support and guidance as she navigates the world of teen dating.
Although you want to give your responsible teen the independence to date, that doesn’t mean that you should allow her to do whatever she wants. Staying informed about your teen’s relationship and setting dating guidelines will not only give you peace of mind, but will also keep her from feeling overwhelmed by too much freedom. The University of Minnesota Extension website suggests getting to know your daughter’s boyfriend, creating rules to govern when she’s allowed to date and where she’s allowed to go, and insisting that she lets you know where she and her boyfriend are going and when they expect to return.
Even if your daughter assures you that she is not sexually active, ensure that she knows the facts about sex. The Mayo Clinic notes that you should bluntly discuss such risks as sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy that can result from various sexual activities. In addition, according to the website Today Relationships, you should discuss how she might send ambiguous sexual messages that her boyfriend might misinterpret. Suggest that she tell her boyfriend that she is not ready for a sexual relationship, but also advise her about contraceptives should she get into a sexual situation. Let her know that you’re always available for questions and that you can look up answers together if you’re unsure about an issue.
Educate your daughter about the warning signs that can reveal that she’s in a bad relationship. Today Relationships notes that many teens aren’t aware that abuse can go beyond the physical to include verbal and psychological abuse. Inform her that she should discuss any concerns she has about her boyfriend’s actions with you or a teacher, for instance. In addition, TeensHealth from Nemours recommends pointing out the characteristics of a healthy relationship, such as being able to communicate, treating each other with respect, being honest and having interests outside of the relationship.
Help with Heartbreak
In the event that your daughter’s relationship ends, you'll have to help her overcome a broken heart. Today Relationships notes that you should be supportive as your daughter overcomes the heartache, particularly if her boyfriend breaks up with her in a cruel way, such as sending an e-mail or suddenly hanging around with another girl. If your daughter is the one who wants to end the relationship, the website suggests reminding her to do so in a respectful way.