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After all, we are responsible for both the hearts and souls of our developing children. Instead, we must look at both our own comfort level and our teen’s comfort level when discussing all matters related to dating.And, if it is still a dreadfully uncomfortable topic, then the time isn’t right yet.If the child does not have a legitimate point to make, they are simply not ready to date — and you have less work to do to justify your point of view." If you think your child is too young to date, it's important to communicate your reasons for this rather than just saying, "I won't allow this." "It’s important to process the reason so your kid doesn't view dating as a 'bad' thing," says Kitley. Use an open and honest direct approach explaining your reasons why and suggesting what age it would be OK to date." For example, if your kid is barely passing their classes, you might want them to improve their grades before they start dating (not as a punishment, but because spending time on dates would take time away from their studies).Or you might want your child to help out more with household chores to prove they're mature enough to date.Counselor Heidi Mc Bain tells if your child has a solid sense of herself, good time-management skills, is doing well at school and in her activities, is trustworthy (i.e., she is where she says she will be/calls when she says she will/comes home before curfew, etc.) and is emotionally mature in that she can handle positive and negative feelings in a healthy way, these are all signs she is mature enough to date.Psychotherapist Kelley Kitley suggests that, bearing in mind each child's maturity level, middle school is a good time for kids to start dating if they are showing a natural interest in someone else.So do your absolute best to create a judgment-free zone where they feel safe.If you approach your kid dating with a heavy hand, laying down the law and refusing to listen to their point of view, you risk damaging your relationship with them.
"I encourage the parents I work with to have open and honest dialogue, certainly about sexual intimacy and boundaries.
Additionally, we need to be ready to set parameters and limits about when they must be home and how often they should check in with us when they are on dates. We must let them know that dating is complicated and that we are available to talk to them about the intricacies of dating.
If we are uncomfortable talking to our kids about dating then perhaps we need to deal with this before we allow them to date.
As part of an open, honest, productive conversation about dating, take the chance to explain exactly what you need to see to know your child is mature enough (and ready) to date.
Prepare yourself for the "but everyone else is doing it" argument, and don't let guilt sway you if you genuinely believe your child is too young to date. "A peer's parents might have different requirements for dating than your family.