"The problem with that attitude is that your kid still is a kid.And he or she needs your guidance and support right now." You don’t want them learning the rules of dating from peers or the media, without your input.Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York.
Pay attention to how they respond when you start a conversation about dating.“Of course it will probably be uncomfortable for both of you,” Anthony says.“But if he’s so uncomfortable that he gets angry or shuts down or otherwise just can’t continue the conversation, that’s a big sign that he’s not ready for this.” If so, assure your child that there’s no hurry to start dating.Instead, if they answer your questions or seem eager to date, you can steer the conversation toward reassuring them that these feelings are normal. Are they just trying to keep up with their friends?Sometimes dinner is on the go, sometimes it's in shifts and sometimes it's fraught with interruptions.
If this sounds all too familiar, perhaps 2013 should be the year to incorporate Sunday family supper into your repertoire.The more you talk to your kids about what it means to be in a healthy relationship, the more likely they are to experience that, whenever they start dating.James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.Michelle Anthony, Ph D, a developmental psychologist and learning therapist in Denver, suggests an opening line like: “It sounds like a lot of kids are talking about dating now. ” If you can't tell what dating means to your kid, try discussing dating as shown on TV shows or in movies that are age-appropriate.For instance, Atkins suggests asking your child why they think someone acted the way they did, and whether they made a good or healthy choice. It's your job, as their parent, to figure out if your child is ready to handle the level of dating they have in mind.It can be hard to get teenagers to listen to anything you say, let alone get them to practice good manners.