Parenting and teen dating
Lynn Ponton, University of California San Francisco professor of adolescent psychiatry and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers and The Romance of Risk, and Nancy Brown, a developmental psychologist and education projects manager for Palo Alto Medical Foundation, both agree: Parents should set the stage for safe dating long before their child becomes a teen.Model Healthy Relationships Being a good role model to our kids as we interact with our spouses and others is the first step toward ensuring they’ll develop healthy connections as teens and adults, Ponton and Brown say.Jenny is committed to encouraging parents to be intentional, confident and to have fun in their parenting.In my family, there’s an old saying that the teenagers will always come home safe and sound and on time from a date because they know daddy’s waiting on the front porch with a shotgun.Thinking that everyone else is doing it can push kids to become sexually active too young.Don’t be worried that talking about it will encourage them to do it, Brown adds. “The more they know about the risks, the less sex they have as teens.” Besides looking for signs that your dating teen is having unprotected sex, parents should always be watchful for signs of abuse, Ponton and Brown say. Subtler signs include unusual anxiety, secretiveness, poor appetite, low self-esteem and depression.
Talking about relationships once they reach school age is step two. ” Share your values, but be sure to ask your child what he thinks creates a healthy, loving relationship.Others may be uncomfortable even mentioning birth control and STIs, but they should give their child contact information of another trusted adult, doctor or clinic where they can get the protection they need.If parents want to reduce the likelihood that their teens are having sex, they should help arrange for them to stay busy with academics and after-school activities under adult supervision.What can a parent do to make sure their dating teens are happy and safe?We caught up with two local experts on teen relationships and sexuality and asked for their tips on setting guidelines for kids entering the dating game.