One of the more challenging issues that parents have to deal with in raising teenagers is dating. Ideally this is something your family discusses long before the time arrives.
There are a couple of reasons this is important. The first is that expectations are known ahead of time and can be clearly explained. The second reason is that you can begin planting this information into your teen’s mind, before they start dating. This avoids surprises.
At the same time, be ready to make adjustments along the way. I really thought I had it set in stone what the “rules” were going to be; however, circumstances can change. Each child is different with several factors that can play into this.
After going through some challenging moments with dating, there is something important I have learned. It is one of the key things to look for when your teen is ready to date.
Granted, there are many other facets of a dating relationship that need to be considered but the biggest one I discovered was if it changes your teen. If you begin to notice drastic changes in your teen’s interests, attitude or behavior, you need to pay attention.
This can be a fine line to walk because the reality is that you are likely to notice some changes. For instance, he or she might not be as interested in hanging out with friends because time needs to be divided with the boyfriend/girlfriend.
That is normal. When it becomes concerning is when your teen completely stops hanging out with friends or suddenly becomes critical of them.
You might also notice a backing away from things he or she used to enjoy. It could be a time issue again but it might also be learning to enjoy new activities, ones that his or her boyfriend/girlfriend is interested in.
Again, this is normal. But it becomes an issue when all prior interests are stopped, especially if it’s something your teen was once passionate about and has suddenly dropped interest in.
The bottom line is this…if your teen drastically changes; this is a warning sign to take seriously. The dating relationship may not be healthy.