What are your rules for dating?

Filed under: Teens, Activities: Babies

I have a friend with three daughters who has a simple plan for when his daughters come of age -- he'll bury the first boyfriend in the front yard to serve as a warning to others. I think I'm going to use the advice someone gave me -- When a boy comes to take my daughter out, I'll put my arm around his shoulders as I walk him into the living room and calmly explain that "I just wanted to let you know that I'm not afraid to go back to prison -- but I know you'll treat my daughter right."

All kidding aside, the rules you set for your kids do have an effect on their love lives, the Wall Street Journal reports. Not only that, they reflect your own satisfaction with your relationships. Rules that set parameters for dates, including curfews, minimum dating ages, and limits on where teens can go are most often set by parents in stable relationships. Those rules, however, often lead to closer, more positive relationships for the teens.

On the other hand, parents who dictate specifics about dating behaviour are often insecure in their own relationships. By telling their teens to "act like a gentleman" or not to let their dates "walk all over" them, parents may be trying to steer their kids into a happier situation than their own. This apparently doesn't work, though. Such kids weren't especially happy in their own relationships.

The better tactic is what Dr. Stephanie Madsen, the author of the study, calls "supervisory" rules. This involves keeping communication going -- having the teens let you know what their plans are, tell you when they change, and check in occasionally. Hmm... I guess I won't be getting that Mossberg shotgun with the pistol grip after all.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.