Coping With Teen Dating – Tips for Parents

As our kids grow up, we get to experience their firsts right along with them – their first word, first step, first day of school – first date. Many of our children’s firsts are something to look forward.  The first date, however, is something that most parents seem to universally dread. With the world of dating come those talks regarding the birds and the bees, the first heartbreak, the first fight. Dating is a magical time for teenagers, which are also fraught with anxiety and frustration.  But how in the world do Parent’s get through the dating years?  We get to watch our kids grow up and our kids experience a hard time – how do we deal with it?!?

1.     Communicate.

Your kids will worry you and drive you crazy. To maintain a strong relationship with your teen during the dating years, make sure to keep communicating.  The last thing you want to do right now is alienate your child.   If you cut off communication, your teen may not trust you to speak with them calmly about dating, relationships, and even sex.

2.     Breathe.

I know it can feel like we stop breathing during every big change in our kids’ lives – but take some time to breathe.  You take a few deep breaths, and let your teenager do the same.  By giving each of you some space, you’ll be allowing your teen to develop the responsibility in the dating game to confidently navigate without getting into any sort of trouble.  You also give yourself a break, and a chance to focus back on yourself.

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3.     Do things together.

Even when your teen is dating – try to find times to do stuff with them as well.  Have one night a week that is a family night.  Once a relationship begins to get more serious, this can be a fun and easy way to introduce the girlfriend or boyfriend to the family as well! If you have a special bond with your teenager, make a date night with just you and them occasionally to catch up, see how their relationship is going, and keep the lines of communication open.  Putting it in the middle of the week is usually a safe bet – not a common date night and also perfect to blow off some steam from the week.

Navigating the world of teenage dating is hard.  Preferably, all of these are a good idea for your teenager – but that isn’t always the case.  Sometimes your teen may not want to communicate, or spend time with you outside of necessary interaction at the dinner table. They may constantly be going so fast that you feel like you’re drowning – but it’s OK.  The main thing to remember is that your teenager is likely smarter and more careful than you give them credit for, and that you need to let go and trust them.  They are not your baby anymore, who needs hugs and reassurance – what they need is your trust, respect, and support.

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5 First Date Tips For Single Moms

Have an Engaging Conversation

While it may seem that your life revolves around your kids, keep in mind that your date may not have children and may want to know some information about your child—your date doesn’t necessarily want to know everything. Talking about your child can be a conversation killer, because your date may not be able to relate and therefore it ends up with you talking and you date listening the whole time. The conversation should be engaging for both parties. Use your judgment--if your date is asking many questions about your child(ren) and seems interested, by all means talk about them. However, if the conversation is just dragging on for the sake of conversation, find a topic that you are both interested in.

5 First Date Tips For Single Moms

Avoid Talking About Your Ex

Your ex may come up in the conversation but you want to keep it vague. On the first date, you are trying to determine if you and your date are compatible enough for a second date—save the details about you and your ex until you know things are going to get more serious between you and your date. Otherwise, many single moms end up talking negatively about their ex, dissing him, blaming him, etc. This makes you come off as dramatic and your date will want no part of it. Instead, spend less time talking about your ex so that your date will know that you have moved on and are ready to find someone to spend the rest of your life with.

Don’t Over Dress

One of the biggest mistakes made by single moms on their first date, along with many women in general- with kids or not, is feeling the need to over dress. These women believe they need to look overly sexy in order to catch their dates attention in hopes of guaranteeing a second date. Whether it be a short dress, big heals, a busty neck line, or a tight fit, these clothes can be uncomfortable and distracting. If you are looking for a long term partner, you don’t want to be dressing for a one night stand. Instead, wear something that you feel confortable and attractive in. The last thing you need is for a wardrobe malfunction on your first date—then you may be too embarrassed to go out with him again.

Be Present

Being a single mom usually means that you are going to have to hire a babysitter to watch your children while you are on your date. You need to hire a sitter that you trust because if not, you are going to be checking your phone non-stop throughout the night looking to see if the sitter is having any problems. It is completely normal to worry about your kids while you are out, however you need to ease this stress with a good sitter so that you can be present in the moment on your date and not having your mind somewhere else.

Don’t Introduce Your Date to Your Kids

Many single moms want their child to meet their date before or after the night out. This is a terrible idea—your child, especially if they are not used to you dating, will feel overwhelmed and potentially threatened by a new person in your life. Instead, wait for a few more dates until you can determine if he is going to be long term or not.

 

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