Your teen has started to show interest in the opposite sex. Here are some rules he needs to know before he begins dating.
Your teen is at a stage where he is trying to develop his own personality. He is asserting his independence and rebelling against whatever you tell him. Dating is a Western practice that is slowly gaining prominence in Indian
homes. As a parent, you are the best judge of the appropriate age for
your child to begin dating. However, once you do decide to give permission to proceed, be sure to set some ground rules for your teen. This will help him to act responsibly as well as safeguard him from any harm.
There is no set age when a teen should be allowed to begin dating. Girls generally mature faster than boys do. On the other hand, parents tend to be more protective about their daughters and may not allow them to begin dating
until they are in their late teens. Every child matures differently and
every culture has different standards. While some children, in some
cultures, are ready to date at the age of thirteen, there are those who
may not be ready until they are sixteen.
How do you decide if your teen is ready to date? In most cases, when your teen
starts spending hours in front of the mirror and is constantly seeking
compliments on his appearance, it means he has started taking an
interest in the opposite sex. From here onwards, it will not be long
before he asks you if he can go out on a date.
This is an area where parents face the most resistance from their teens. Your teen
may sometimes want to go on a date and stay out for the entire night.
It is up to you to decide what the appropriate time is for your teen to return home from his date. This will depend on a variety of factors. If your teen is just beginning to date, you will probably not want him to stay out beyond ten thirty. As your teen grows older, his curfew time can also be extended.
The next factor to keep in mind while setting a curfew time is the means of transport. How is your teen
getting to the venue for his date? Is he driving there or is he going
to be using some form of public transport? Are you going to be picking
him up after his date is over? If your teen
is going to be taking a public bus home, you will want to make sure
that he does not miss the last bus home. Otherwise, he will be
In the initial dating stages, a parent should ensure that the curfew deadline is being met. This may involve the parent waiting up until the teen gets home to ensure that he is not coming in after the curfew. If your teen comes in after curfew, set a suitable deterrent. This way, your teen will understand that the curfew time is non-negotiable. He will be more likely to follow the rules the next time he goes out.
Another concern relating to curfew time deals with safety. You will want to make sure that your teen does not find himself in a dangerous situation. Date rape is a serious concern, even in India. While the chances of your teen being attacked are rare, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Money is another factor in deciding whether your teen is ready to date. Is your teen going to be spending out of his ownallowance
for the date or is he going to expect you to foot the bill? If you are
going to be sponsoring your teen's date, make sure that you set a
limit. When your teen begins dating, you may give him money for movie tickets and some snacks. However, if your teen
wants to go to a discotheque, he should be willing to pay for his date
himself. It is up to you to decide if you should spend for your teen's
Even if your teen has a healthy allowance or is working part-time, it does not mean he can spend as much as he likes. Every teen needs some ground rules to be set as far as money is concerned. Also, tell your teen to be honest with his date regarding how much money he has. When your teen starts dating, he may not always be expected to pay for the entire date. Your teen should have a frank discussion with his date so that there are no misunderstandings later on.
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- The Indiaparenting Team
Does your teen go out on dates? What rules have you set for him regarding dating? Are you comfortable with your teen dating?
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