Does your teen have a Valentine’s Day date? Does that make you worry as a parent? The teen dating culture has changed a lot over the past few years and knowing how to talk to your kids about dating is imperative to keep them safe. Whether your teen is dating, hooking up, or breaking up, Kids In The House experts have the answers to your questions and concerns.
The most important thing any parent needs to do before their teen starts dating is to talk to them about sex. Whether you are encouraging safe sex or abstinence, it is important that you are the one talking with them about it. Relationship expert Dr. Wendy Walsh explains that it’s important to explain both the biological and emotional aspects to having sex. “You want to be sex-positive but you also want to show boundaries and you want to show the psychological piece as well and the commitment piece,” says Dr. Walsh. While this may be uncomfortable for both parties involved, it will be better coming from you than their peers. She also explains that this conversation can be had in an easy environment such as driving in the car together or while you are out shopping. “You don't have to sit down and make it this big, heavy grave conversation,” says Dr. Walsh. “Keep the conversation light and loving so it doesn't overwhelm your kids and they can get the vital information they need.” It’s also important to talk with them about what it means to them to “hook up” as it has become a very vague term in today’s society. Psychologist Dr. Andrew Smiler explains that it could refer to merely hanging out with one another to potentially meaning they are actually having sex, so it’s important to understand what it means to them.
It’s also important as a parent to understand how hormones play a role in teenage dating life, especially with boys. There is the common idea that boys are always thinking about sex, but is this true? Dr. Smiler explains how testosterone plays a big role in a male’s sexual desire. “Testosterone is about how much or how little sexual activity you want to be having,” says Dr. Smiler. When boys begin puberty their testosterone levels begin fluctuating a lot and at times boys may feel like they can only think about sex. However, their levels start to even out over the years and this isn’t as much of a problem. Girls also have testosterone, but boys have it at much higher levels.
Unfortunately, there may come the day when your teen is broken up with and it this can be hard as a parent to watch them go through the heartbreak. Author Dr. John Gray encourages parents not to try to minimize the situation or mock them as they go through it. Their emotions are real and they need to know that you understand and support them. “If they are hurting, take the time to listen,” says Dr. Gray. “And one of the most important listening skills is to validate an emotion.”
Kids In The House wishes every family a very Happy Valentine’s Day this week! We recently interviewed Ali Landry who shared great tips to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family! Click here to listen to these simple and fun ideas!
Do you still have questions about your teen’s dating life? Join us tomorrow at 1:30pm PST for our TEEN DATING Google Hangout! We will be joined by Dr. John Gray, Dr. Wendy Walsh, and Dr. Andrew Smiler! Click here to RSVP and ask your questions.
Do you have questions you want to ask our experts?
Join us tomorrow at 1:30pm PST for “TEEN DATING” a Google Hangout hosted by Kids In The House. Experts will be answering your questions live. Start tweeting your questions with the hashtag #KITHangout!
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