The teenage years are critical ones in which boys and girls first learn about love and romantic relationships. Dating among teens is often intense and can be fraught with drama. Parents naturally feel that it is their duty to help their children with whatever issues arise in their lives. Parents, however, must walk a fine line when teaching and guiding their teens in this delicate area. Learn some techniques to help your burgeoning adult fix relationship problems.
Communicate with your teen. Insist on honesty and full disclosure about relationships and the problems that come with them. Listen closely to what your child says to pick up clues to problems that your teen may be reluctant to reveal initially.
Set dating guidelines for your teenager. The Family Guide website recommends you discuss these with your teen. She should have clear rules as to dating, including a curfew. This will help avoid relationship problems that can arise when teens do not have clear-cut boundaries.
Invite your teen’s date to share time with your family. Get to know this child who has become so important in your teenager’s life. Gather all pertinent information about the date, including his full name, address, and school and job information as applicable.
Monitor the speed at which your child’s dating relationship progresses. The University of Florida's Family Youth and Services website recommends group dating especially for younger adolescents. Teens who get too close too fast are likely to have many more conflicts than those whose relationships develop slower. Explain to your child that she and her partner must develop a solid friendship base before they will be ready to handle a steady long-term relationship.
Meet with the parents of the person your child is dating. Ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the relationship. You need to establish a rapport with the other set of parents so you can communicate with them effectively when problems with your children occur.
Instruct your child to think before acting, especially when relationships become intense and problems occur. He will need to guard against committing destructive acts, such as vandalism, when in the heat of a dispute.
Discuss priorities with your teenager. Help her understand that dating is a part of her life that must be balanced against school, family, friends and extracurricular activities, such as sports. Teenagers who put all of their energy into a dating relationship will ultimately be disappointed and will lead one-dimensional lives.
Stay out of small disagreements between your teen and his dates. It is important he learn to deal with little issues himself so he grows from it.
Look for signs of violence or other abusive behavior in your child’s relationships. Step in immediately to limit the relationship and obtain professional help.