Counseling Corner: How to help your teen date responsibly

Print Article

Summer is here and with it more opportunities for teen dating and parental worrying. While we all realize that itís natural for teenagers to be attracted to one another, most parents agonize over the whole dating experience and all the things that can go wrong.

To help things go right, and to lower your parental levels of anxiety, there are some steps you can take to help minimize the potential problems of teen dating.

Communication is step one and absolutely essential. Start your discussion of dating as early as the junior high years, or even earlier. Actual dating may still be a few years away, but you can plant the seeds now for responsible dating.

Try developing with your child some basic rules and expectations. Discuss the appropriate age for couple or group dates. Talk about curfews and your expectations regarding driving, behavior and appropriate destinations. You should take the lead as the parent, but include your child in the discussion and get his or her agreement that what youíre proposing makes sense for both of you.

You also want to have honest discussions about sex and morality. Share your own moral views and talk about AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and the emotional issues related to sex. If you find such discussions difficult, try enlisting a professional counselor, physician or member of the clergy to help.

And prepare for emergencies because they will happen. Does your child have a cell phone? Enough money for an emergency cab ride home? A backup person to call if you or your spouse arenít available? Discuss how to handle problem situations like an auto accident, a drunk or abusive date, or other potential dating disasters.

Most important, make it clear youíll be there for your teen. He or she should never be too afraid to call you. Let your child know that when thereís a problem, you will come to the rescue, wherever and whenever, no questions asked.

The teen dating years require your attention. Most teens wonít share dating details, but will give clues when things arenít right. Look and listen for problems, from drinking to drugs to inappropriate relationships. Donít be paranoid, but respect your intuition. Ask questions and act swiftly when you sense something may be wrong.

Yes, teen dating is a challenge for any teen, but the truth is that itís probably just as hard on the parents.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit www.counseling.org.

Print Article

Read More Lifestyle

Chasing the curve: As budgets churn, can Montana get its mentally ill care before they hit crisis?

July 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News (Editorís note: This is part two of a three-part report for The Montana Gap. Previously: The story of a mentally ill Livingston woman, ďSarah,Ē underscored the challenges Montanaís mental health syst...

Comments

Read More

The Montana Gap: Teamwork promises to help improve mental health care in Lincoln County

July 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News By JOHN BLODGETT The Western News (Editorís note: This story is part of The Montana Gap, a mental health reporting project produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network.) When so...

Comments

Read More

The Montana Gap: Reporting project explores issues surrounding mental health care

July 10, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News Editorís note: This story introduces The Montana Gap, a series of stories produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and in which The Western News is participating. In late 2017, ...

Comments

Read More

Counseling Corner: Is your summer vacation really a vacation?

July 10, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News A vacation is a chance to get away from the normal routine of work and demands of daily life. When done right, a vacation should be a period of relaxation, enjoyment and recharging yourself. Research...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 293-4124
311 California Ave.
Libby, MT 59923

©2018 The Western News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X