Teen dating might not be something you want to think about since you’d rather go with the theory that your teen isn’t dating until she’s around 50. But, it’s better to prepare your teen for the world of dating than not. Whether you are the parent of a teen boy or girl, you need to teach your teen proper dating etiquette. This isn’t just about holding doors open for ladies and using manners during dinner; it’s about respect, courtesy and what’s appropriate when it comes to dating as a teen.
Be a good role model for your teen regarding the appropriate way to treat -- and be treated by -- the opposite sex, advises Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. When your teen sees his dad treating you with kindness and respect, he is more likely to treat girls and women the same way. The same goes for the way you treat his father; if he sees you treating his dad with kindness and respect, he’s more likely to expect that treatment from girls and women as he gets older. He will learn compromise, friendship, love and respect when you are good role models of each.
Teach your teen self-worth, advises Dr. Phil, on his website. When she learns to be proud of herself, to respect herself and to value her self-worth, she is less likely to engage in risky dating behavior, including sex and violence. Do this by praising her good behavior, disciplining her when she misbehaves, treating her with respect and trusting her. Additionally, talk to her about her self-worth and help her build the confidence she needs to remember that her own self-worth is more important than how others perceive her.
Instill the meaning of the word no, and the conviction to say it with meaning, for both boys and girls. When it comes to teen dating etiquette, one person might be willing to go further than the other, and your teen needs to learn to say no when he or she is uncomfortable with the situation. When your teen says no, it comes off with more conviction and finality than, “I don’t know,” or, “I’m not sure." Additionally, you need to teach your teen that when his or her date says no, it is not negotiable and he or she should stop right there.
Go over the rules of teen dating etiquette with both your son and daughter. Inform your son that he should get out of the car and ring the doorbell of his date’s home so that he can meet her parents. Tell him to shake their hands and introduce himself, to be respectful and to have her home before her curfew. Tell him to keep his hands to himself, to hold doors and to engage his date in interesting conversation. Tell your daughter to invite her date in so you can meet him, to be respectful and to thank her date if he pays. Although the list is a long one, the aforementioned approaches to dating are just a few on a list of many; the bottom line is that your teen respects his date and his date's personal boundaries.
Explain to your teen why you do not want him having sex, advises Dr. Phil. Do not just tell him you don’t want him to have sex; instead, explain your reasoning behind it. Use examples, such as the statistics behind teen pregnancy, the risks of STDs, the risk of his reputation and the emotional meaning of engaging in intercourse. When you provide reasons rather than just forbidding something, your teen is more likely to consider what you are saying.