You may not remember your first crush,
but you can be assured that it was something you would have felt deeply.
Keeping this in mind, don't belittle any tender feelings your teenager may nurture towards another person. It is something very personal to them
and it is bound to be a sensitive issue. You're going to have to tread
gently or there is a danger that you might alienate your child. Don't pry.
Be sympathetic and most importantly, keep the lines of communication open.
Put your embarrassment aside and have
a talk with your teenager about the birds and the bees. It is very important that they be aware that losing their virginity is a decision that should not be lightly made, especially if it is made as a result of bowing to peer pressure. Teenagers also need to realize that sex is not just a recreational activity, but can have serious consequences like a baby or a disease.
You also need to inform your teenager
about the precautions they should take if they do have sex. You may not
like to think about it, but all your well-intentioned lectures may fall
on deaf ears. In which case, you want your teenager to atleast practice
If you sense that your teenager has developed a soft spot for another boy or girl, casually suggest inviting
him or her over with some other friends so that you can get to know him
or her better.
If you're lucky and your teenager is
open with you about the way he or she feels about that special someone,
then you can lay down a few dating rules.
The first thing you need to do is to
set a curfew and adhere to the rule strictly. If your child is going to
be late, he or she must phone and inform you and he or she better have
a valid reason.
They should inform you about where they're
planning to go.
Initially, suggest that they go out
in a group rather than one-on-one.
Money is another important issue that
needs to be tackled. If your child feels that he or she is old enough to
be dating, then he or she has to learn that he or she has to finance her
own social life. You shouldn't be forking out money for these 'dates.'
They should be budgeting for it in their allowance.
Tell your child, whether boy or girl,
that he or she must offer to contribute towards the evening out.
If your son or daughter is going out
on a first date, insist that his or her date come and meet you. It doesn't
have to be a formal affair. Just say 'hullo' and exchange a few pleasantries.
After all, it is not an inquisition. It's just a parent's way of reminding
themselves and the teenagers that they still hold the reins.
Warn them of the dangers of drinking and driving. The standing instruction should be that whoever is driving
should be in a fit state to drive. If he or she isn't, your child should
either drive or find a safe ride home.
Remember these are just guidelines
and it may not be easy to get your teenager to toe the line. But there's
no harm trying.
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- The Indiaparenting Team