Talking to teens about dating

How teenagers and young adults couple is a strong predictor of how they’ll connect later in life, so we want to take it seriously.

This week we’ll offer our best rules for talking to teenagers about dating (and helping teens find love).

Relationships require authentic choice, not dependency. We call this “differentiation.” It’s a word you’ll want teens to learn and use, and it begins at home with parents who are able to put aside their own longings to focus on who and what their teen wants to be. In fact, next year on Valentine’s Day, I think I’ll give away brain-shaped boxes of candy, rather than hearts. Alternatively, never date anyone you wouldn’t let your son or daughter date when someday you have a son or daughter.

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If they have experienced parents being respectful, kind, and loving to one another, they will usually treat their partners this way, and expect to be treated this way in return.

However, those teens that haven’t been so lucky, who have witnessed physical or emotional abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, lack of respect, anger, and other bad examples will likely follow.

Guys have always found pride in that dubious accomplishment.

The problem is that most women are wired to connect, and nowhere is that truer than after sex when all the oxytocin is surging.

Where parents and teens tend to disagree is the method of getting to that wedding day.

However parents do need to keep in mind that falling in love is part of God's plan.

It’s a struggle to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.

These conversations and decisions only become more challenging when the time comes for your teen to start dating.

Boys may act “tough” or “macho” because they think it will make them seen “cool” to their peers, even if they are mistreating a girl in the process.

She will stay in the relationship, and often even do things sexually that she’s not really comfortable with, just to feel loved or more popular. What should you be doing as a parent to make sure your son or daughter is not causing harm or being subjected to abuse? Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California.

Worse, peers and the media, including social media, also influence teens.