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Video:How to Talk to Your Teen About Dating

with Patricia O'Laughlin

Talk to your teen about dating so that you and they are prepared for the ups and downs of teenage relationships. Here are some tips on how to talk to your teen about dating.See Transcript

Transcript:How to Talk to Your Teen About Dating

Hi, my name is Patricia O'Laughlin and I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with TherapyForParents.com. Today I am talking to you about how to talk to your teen about dating, on behalf of About.com.

Have a Calm Discussion When You Talk to Your Teen About Dating

The first thing to consider when you talk to your teen about dating is to remain calm. Approach your teen at a time when both of you can listen, when emotions are low, and when you both can engage in a conversation about the matter, rather than get defensive.

Talking about dating should really start when a teenager is in middle school. In middle school, they will start to show you that they are interested in relationships, they'll become more interested in what they are wearing, and they'll start to talk about this person likes me or that person likes me. That's the time to start talking about dating.

Offer Pros and Cons When You Talk to Your Teen About Dating

There are 5 things to consider when talking to your teen about dating. The first is the advantages and the disadvantages of dating. Don't just speak about the negative, otherwise your teen won't trust what you're saying.

Talk about some of the advantages of dating. There are advantages: teens learn conflict resolution and how to solve problems through dating. Make sure you do talk about the disadvantages. Maybe even ask your teen what they think the disadvantages are to hear what they have to say about it.

The second thing is to talk your teen about the importance of choosing a good partner. Ask your teen how they would like to be treated. Help them understand what characteristics of a person will allow them to be treated in a way that they want. Reinforce that sometimes people don't treat each other well and that this can happen especially in dating.

Discuss Potential Consequences When You Talk to Your Teen About Dating

The third thing is talk to them about the option of not dating. Sometimes dating as a teenager doesn't feel so good. And there are teens that make this decision. Don't engage in a power struggle with them over it. If they want to date, let them date. But let them know that this is an option.

The fourth thing is let your teen know that dating can lead to sex and often does. Have a discussion about sex and birth control, as well as ways that they can protect themselves from STDs.

And the fifth thing is talk to your teen about what can happen when a relationship turns bad. Talk to them about how physical and emotional violence can occur, even in teen relationships. And give them resources of people they can contact in case this happens.

I know the idea of your teen dating can be stressful. However it's a very important part of a teenager learning to have relationships. Help them to do it safely.

Thank you so much for watching and for more information, visit us on the web at About.com.
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