Teenagers exploring first romantic relationships will benefit from guidance in setting personal boundaries. Respectful boundaries help increase safety, health and happiness. The foundation of personal boundaries involves a strong value system and self-confidence. By teaching your teen these important life skills, you enable her to respect herself and others.
When your adolescent pairs off with someone special, have calm and clear conversations about expectations and limitations, advises Planned Parenthood. Your expectations will probably include your teen telling you where he’s going, who he will be with and what he will be doing. You might also require that he answer his cell phone if you call him. Accountability also involves keeping the curfew you set and avoiding risk-taking behaviors, such as drugs and alcohol. You might also set limitations about the amount of unsupervised time a teenage couple can have without an adult present to monitor activities. As you set these limitations and rules, include specific consequences that will occur if your teen violates the boundaries. Follow through consistently with consequences whenever necessary.
It’s common for teenagers in a first relationship to advance to the point where they wish to spend excessive time together, neglecting other friendships, family and other activities, advises the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Encourage your teen to maintain other friendships and interests to ensure she pursues interests and connections outside of the romantic relationship.
Boundary Setting Guidance
Everyone needs to learn how to set personal boundaries, and a teen relationship can be ideal practice for adolescents to develop these skills. Talk with your teen about maintaining personal values by the boundaries she sets. Maintaining boundaries involves communicating firmly and respectfully about needs, desires and ideas, advises the Empowering Teenage Girls website. Explain to your adolescent that she will probably feel confident and secure when she sets boundaries and then maintains them. She may feel uncertain, fearful, frustrated and even violated if she doesn’t maintain boundaries.
Setting physical boundaries between romantic teenagers will be imperative for safety. Have a frank discussion about sex, risks and responsible behavior, suggests Planned Parenthood. While you might strongly discourage your teen from engaging in sexual activity, in the end there’s little you can do to prevent it if your teen chooses to do so. Ask your teenager about sexual activity in a nonjudgmental manner. In this nonthreatening atmosphere, your teen may trust you enough to confide. If you anticipate sexual activity, talk about safe sex, a person’s right to say “no” at any time. If you have a daughter, make an appointment for her with a physician to ensure she stays healthy.