Dating Smarts for Parents — Whose Values Count When it Comes to Teens and Dating?
As much as we would all like to be there at every step, when our children become teenagers they are granted more freedom. Teens dating is a big part of gaining independence whether you are ready for it or not! They go out into the world and begin making more and more of their own decisions without us. This is part of what being a teenager and becoming an adult is all about – separating (in some ways) from parents and family and developing opinions about what is true for them.
When your children know, understand, and can talk about their sexual values, they’ll make better decisions.
We all remember when we were teens, right? Many important decisions were made (good or bad) without our parents at our side to guide us. When your children know, understand, and can talk about their values, including their sexual values, they’ll make better decisions. The act of giving thought and voice to what they believe helps them stand firm in the face of situations where they will make their own decisions.
Discuss your values about sexuality and dating
A simple thing you can do is to discuss your values about sexuality and dating with your teen. First, take a moment to list your values and why you believe them. Most of us unconsciously know our values but have rarely thought carefully about why they are true for us. Encourage your teen to really consider and talk about what they personally value and why. Remember, your teen is more likely to hear what you have to say if you show the respect they are beginning to earn as they grow more mature. If you’re stuck, spend some time thinking about the following issues.
- Teen pregnancy. What would you do if you were involved in a pregnancy right now? Do you think abortion should be an option for women? Why or why not?
- Masturbation. It’s completely normal for both sexes to masturbate and completely normal not to masturbate. What do you think?
- Sex before marriage. Okay or not okay? What are the benefits to waiting? Of not waiting?
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. What’s your plan? What do you know about transmission, signs, and symptoms? What more do you want to know?
- Same sex relationships. Okay or not? Why?
- Oral sex. Casual or intimate?
- Casual sex, multiple partners. Healthy exploration or risky behavior?
- Core values. How have your relationships measured up to your core values?
- Value contradiction. How does it feel when you go against your values?
Is this list scary to you? Your teen has probably heard all about these by age 13. Talking with your teen about sexual values goes a long way towards helping them have healthy, fun, and great relationships. Whether they’ve never been on a date or have been on three hundred, knowing their beliefs will give them an advantage compared to most of the people they will be dating. If they feel clear about their values, they will be more confident and empowered around choices and decisions—in all aspects of their life.
Check out Dating Smarts — What Every Teen Needs to Know to Date, Relate or Wait! for more great conversation starters. On Amazon.