When should you intervene in your teen's dating life? What are some tips for approaching your teenager about who they are dating?

Wanting the best for your children involves a lot of careful tiptoeing around boundary lines the older they get, and when teens start dating it's sometimes very difficult for mom not to interfere. It's one thing if your child's chosen boyfriend or girlfriend is clearly dangerous or age inappropriate, but what about someone you just think isn't good enough for them? How do you handle navigating your teen's new dating life?

24  Answers

3 36

This IS a rhetorical questions, right?! OF COURSE a parent should be involved in their teen's dating life, along with the rest of their life! It's all in HOW you're involved. We have 6 children, 4 of which are teenage girls at the moment, and they talk to us about everything - especially boys. Actually, their friends (boys and girls) even come talk to us about dating and relationships. We never thought that would be the case because we are VERY STRICT parents, but our kids know their boundaries, and I believe that makes life a little easier for them. They always know where they stand us. The first step in your children becoming well-rounded, emotionally stable adults with healthy peer relationships is having a good healthy relationship with them at home.

14
42 25

I don't allow my teens to date although we talk about it often. They can have friends but dating one on one is not an option. School is just too hectic to deal with and to include dating in the mix is not going to make them better in their school work. I have talked to them both about finding a person who makes them feel valued, who respects their opinions and who doesn't have an unnatural hold on them... when they are ready. I know bad mouthing the new boy/girlfriend will do the exact opposite of what you want but I'd rephrase some of the points I've made to find out if this friend is making your child feel valued, respected and free to do other things without them. If they cannot answer these questions in any positive way, hopefully the response will get your child to see that this person is not for them. But as a parent, if my child was to answer negatively to any one of them, then the dating would be over. End of story.

7
4 0

That's a really funny story, but I hope you don't think they're actually listening to you. What, do you follow them around school all day? You are opening the door and welcoming resentment.

14 34

This is what has worked for us in the past couple of years. I do NOT talk negatively about their dates, but if they start complaining or say something negatively about something that was said or that happened, I will open a conversation with them that starts with " Does it bother you when they do that?" Or "Is this (behavior) something that you can live with or is it a deal breaker?" or "Do think that what they said or did is right?" ... This helps open the conversation and I actually let them decide whether this is good for them or not. Most of the time they make a really good decision and choose to end the relationship. A couple of times they decided to forgive the other person, or decided to put up with some of the behaviors, and then later chose to not do that any more. As far as the sexual behavior - we talked extensively about the negatives of sex and the positives. And we talked about protections and the ups and downs of that. What helped my 2 with making some positive choices on that, was seeing what happened to a couple of their friends that did not have such parental support. Both made decisions based on what they knew and we have been blessed with some decent decision making by our children - because they had our support to make those decisions. Where they perfect? No! But they did the best they could and they did it knowing they had our support...

6
27 79

I did not have much choice on this matter and my daughter is only 15. One day we was at therapy session and we was discussing relationships and the lady asked do you have a boyfriend and she said YES like it was a kodak moment. I was in shock and I was angry at first but, then I realized the more I show that I don't like the boy the more that she wanted a relationship with him so, I started playing it cool. I invited the boy over and made him feel welcomed. Now she can't stand him because he is always on my side. This worked for a while and when she misbehaves with me, he gets on her case too and she hates it, he even gives her ultimatums that she cant come over until she behaves at home. She now knows that moms only want whats best for her and now she looks on me for advice.

4
1 0

You are responsible for your teen so you should be all up in there business. Only you know your teen and some are more mature and responsible than others. One of my teens is in a serious committed relationship. I rarely have to get involved but I do put my 2 cents in when I feel it's necessary. My other teen is 15 and she really immature and untrustworthy so she's not allowed to date or spend the night with friends. I monitor her facebook but I wouldn't go as far as to read her journal unless some red flags or unusual behaviour popped up. As far as interfering as to the person they are dating not being good enough, find out what your teen really likes about the other. Don't be afraid to voice your opinion in a nonjudgemental wa. Try to get to know the other teen to see if your feelings are justified, you may be wrong. If your feelings are strong against the person make sure your own feelings are not causing them. For example, they may remind you of a loser that you once dated. If they are still strong, than gently point out the fears and your teen just might surprise you and say " mom, I think I figured out what you were saying about ..and I think your right." Any overbearing advice or feelings will be met with total defiance or rebellion.

4
4 61

I totally agree

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12 11

Well lucky for me I have a teenage daughter and son. Before they reached the age of teenagers I instilled in my son that he is the protector of the family so to speak. He should look out for them. There are also boundaries set that they know and respect. With that said, They can go hang out if either of my husband or myself accompany them or they accompany each other. As far as Im concerned interfering is not a word that exist in my house because they are still my responsibility. Nothing I do should be considered interfering in their life unless they are totally sufficient adults. As long as they need my guidance I will be in their business.

3
14 17

It's always acceptable. We are the parents and they are the child. Teens are lucky the parents allow dating at all. I'm tired of parents asking what is acceptable, next we,ll be asking this question to the teens to see if it's ok with them.

3
44 89

I have a 14 year old that looks much older for her age that wanted to date a 21 year old boy. I sat her down and told her she cannot base her relationship on dating someone that is so much older. She is so badly rebellious, but she also agreed on this one. I gave her all the pros and cons of an older person that its extremely unhealthy. Im divorced just 3 months ago and i told her searcing for love in the wrong places will definatly get her into trouble. Its really hard for for her and her sister(12 years old) they dont get to see their father at all. Im always there for them.

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0 63

My husband & I started talking about to our children long before they were even old enough to think about dating. We have established a relationship of trust and honesty in our home, but also where we make the final decisions in our home. As Bible believing Christians, my husband and I believe it is our job to 'guard the wall' for our children. That comes with friendships as well as dating. 2 of our 4 are in high school, and they are both so busy with school and different activities they don't have time to date. But, for the few dates they have been on, they have asked us about the girls they were going to ask out, and they have made good choices.

We have shown them that God has given us wisdom as their parents to help them see all sides of a situation, and to help them make informed decisions. We have also tried to reveal truths about what the culture sees as ok, and what we know to be ok. We hope to raise our boys to be Godly men, who are leaders and protectors of their homes and families, and who are totally in love with thier wives. For our daughter, we want her to find a man who loves God first, and her second. A man who would lay his life down for her.

2
1 22

Our 14 yr. old daughter started "dating" when she was 13 by permission of her mom and step dad so her dad and I didn't really have a choice in the matter. However we were very pro active. He came to church with us and I even escorted them to the mall and gave them a time limit and everything to meet me at a certain place an hour and a half later. Now she is a freshman and he broke things off with her and had her first crush break her heart. We have open communication with her and she shares things. All of her boyfriends are my friends on facebook so I can keep track of them. I even have their cell numbers so they can text her when she is with us and I can keep track of the history.

2
23 22

Thinking someone isnt good enough is not a very great way to go. It teaches your child that you have to be a certain way or type. Everyone deserves someone and if your daughters special someone is a bum off the street or a garbage truck driver it shouldnt matter, as long as she is happy and being treated right. The more you hold her back, the more rebellious she will be. You just have to trust you have raised her to make the right decisions.

1
2 8

I've always expressed to my son that I wouldn't CHOOSE his friends FOR him, but I will ALWAYS let him know what I think. That being said, we've had countless conversations that usually begin with, "Mom, you know you were right about.........". My son is in college now and we STILL have these discussions. I tried to lay the foundation so if something looked odd to him, he'd be willing to share it and get feedback.

1
5 20

THERE ARE NO BOUNDARIES....
When your child is dating and you want to know what you can find out, look for every sign and ask alot of questions...DO NOT HESITATE to be nosey!
IF YOU DON'T ASK....They won't tell..They have this underlying code to keep parents out,,,COMPLETELY out...NEVER to be let in under ANY circumstances...
PARENTS..It is your responsibility to enquire and find out who, what, where and when...

NEVER TIPTOE AROUND YOUR CHILDREN....THEY CAN STILL HEAR YOU!!!

1
34 25

My daughters 15 and 17 have had boyfriends but by title only, meaning they call themselves boyfriend/girlfriend but they don't go on dates, call or text or even eat lunch together at school. I guess I'm lucky to have girls who are more interested in sports, extracurricular activities and college than boy's. Don't think for one minute that I don't have my eyes wide open though because I am my childrens number one protector and I don't take that role lightly. Parents have the right to do as they see fit in the safety and well being of their children until they reach 18, then you can only hope your child has learned from you and makes the right choices as an adult.

1
2 19

Firstly I would like to say that neither of my teen daughters (age 18 and 15) are dating at the moment. This is not because I told them they couldn't or discouraged them in anyway not to. I speak with my daughters as openly and honestly as I can about many topics especially dating. I taught them to respect themselves and to chose people who do the same. They are both very active teens and have a large circles of friends. I also encourage them to share with me what their feelings are about friendship and other relationships. I think communication is the key to all teens making the right decisions in chosing a boyfriend/girlfriend. If they feel valued at home they will chose people who make them also feel that way. Not to say that they won't pick up the guy or girl that has you straching your head asking why, but unless there is a real substantial reason they shouldn't date other than I don't like them, I will try to mind my business and not give my ones t opinion of them.... lol I remember dating guys I knew my Mom wouldn't approve of just to annoy her sometimes. She never said much about it and I moved on. Lesson learned.

1
1

I want to sex with it

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19 0

The only time I would intervene is if she started bringing different boys home. My 16 y.o. has been dating the same boy for nearly two years and they have always been sexually very active and he does stay over regularly, but that is fine with me. What wouldn't be fine is if she had serial boyfriends.

0
153 0

My 15-y-o daughter has had one boyfriend for about three months until she saw him kissing another girl at school. There were no solo dates, just hanging out with a large group of teenagers, usually at our local park (shepherded by adult counselors) or at our house. When she discovered his activity with this other girl (he told her this girl was 'an easy lay' since I don't get any from YOU') she dropped him flat. No texts, calls, blocked him on facebook, spammed him on her email account (both of which I monitor routinely) and most of their mutual friends are ignoring him at school because of what he did and what he said to her about it. She has an older counselor/friend (22) who treats her like a little sister and won't let her backtrack one little bit. Peer pressure can be a motivating factor as well as parental involvement, and I am VERY involved in my daughter's life. She KNOWS no solo dates, groups of at least 6-8 kids, I know where she is at all times and she knows when she is expected to be home. She has missed curfew twice, once by only 10 minutes, second time by nearly an hour and I called the police because I was sick with worry when she didn't answer her cell phone. They found her exactly where she said she would be - at the park - lost track of time and the police dragged her home in a squad car. She was never late again. She was mad as hell at me, but she learned a valuable lesson to make sure to check in with mom, even if you have to borrow someone else's cell phone. I am at her high school at least twice a month, she is in our church teen program at least twice a month and all kinds of positive, healthy activities for teens, both boys and girls. She had one girl friend who had been banned from our home (pregnant twice before 15) and my daughter doesn't want to get the reputation by association. She has one other girl friend that I don't like for manipulative tactics she has used in the past but will tolerate if she behaves properly.

0
8 34

The moment your kids are starting dating and they are still on your roof there should always a ground rules and respect. Responsibility and priorities should be discussed. Also inculcate the teachings of moral values. It is always important to talk to them their self worth and that will be their guidance in making decision ~ which always we pray for the morally right. Let them be aware as well of the laws involving dating and what trouble they could get if they are living dangerously in a relationship. Teens could be rebellious but consistency with your teachings and rules. Respect your kids and they will respect you in return. Be a friend to them.
Always be vigilant of the change of behavior of your kids... be mindful with the school work and languages they use then you could tell trouble is coming. Stop before it gets worst and you can no longer bend it. Sometimes as a parent we get busy and we postponed talking to our kids. Take time and let other member in your family (husband, grandparents or aunts/uncle) intervene if you cannot talk to your kids. One way or the other there are members in the family they would listen to.
One thing really help me through it is PRAYERS. I know some doesn't believe in anything above or beyond this earth...but PRAYERS and Faith help me all the struggles.

0
168 24

I don't have teenage children of my own. I do however have a 14 yr old asister that I keep a close eye on. I know she's having sex, so does our mum. It's not always as simple as that. Mum keeps her at home when she's with her boyfriend as much as possible. She talks to me about alot of issues. I bring alot of them up too, not just her. But she is open and honest about things. I don't always tell Mum everything. I think not breaking that trust is more imprtant than anything else. However if she says something to make me worry I DO mention it to Mum, and Mum can deal with it. I've even taken my sister to the doctors to get her put on the pill. Mum didn't mind because atleast she was willing to do it if I took her. I was one to talk to Mum about all the issues that came up, my sisters not. It's hard to be that middle person sometimes. To decide what's not important and what needs to be passed on to Mum. I've even had the school counsellor ring ME instead of Mum. I'm just hoping that it's good practice for when my own children get to that age.

0
168 24

My older siter and brother, and my younger brother, all happily go to mum when there's an issue. My sister is just not interested. It's not always as simple as knowing when to intervene and when to ignore things. My sister recently ended up in hospital with a UTI because she thought it would go away and that if she told mum she'd get in trouble. It was extremely hard for both of us to convince her that asking for help is not going to get her in trouble.

6 5

I think it's fine to date for say, homecoming or prom but I don't believe the teens need to date exclusively. I think that's just asking for trouble, if you get my drift.

0
236 440

I'm another one whose kids are not allowed to date. They're involved with several groups of kids who are likewise not allowed to date individually, but they go out and have fun together all the time, with plenty of adults present (parents). Last weekend they played paintball, shot a funny video, and played board games with one of those groups. The whole point is learning to have a fun teen life without having to have all the drama and heartache. All of the parents involved emphasize schoolwork, the future goals, and our beliefs in why they should do this, teaching them this really very young before it really matters, but making a bigger deal of it at age 11 or 12. My two oldest are now 15 and 12. The 15-year-old had his first girlfriend at 12, and really was clueless as to why she was upset with him (and he knew he wasn't supposed to have one, but met her at a convention we help run). They're good friends now, but she hated him for a year. The next year, he again picked up a girlfriend the same convention. He tried to be a "better" boyfriend, but it also fizzled out. He realized the following year (same convention) that it was really a bad idea, that he really wan't mature enough, and this past summer managed to get through the convention without making any exclusive attachments, although he hung around with a group the entire time. This time, though, he refused to pair off. As a result, he had a much better summer for the rest of the summer, and miraculously wasn't depressed for the first time since he started having girlfriends. He now no longer wants to dabble in it.

His little sister, 12, looks at least 16. As a cheerleader for both jr. high and high school teams, she attracted a lot of attention. At first she enjoyed it, but after one kid was FB messaging her and made some inappropriate suggestions to her (which I saw because my kids let me see their FB stuff), first her brother sacked him really, really hard at football practice a few times, and told the coach what had happened when he was asked. And now the kid's no longer on the team.

I should also mention what recently happened to the daughter of our close neighbors, whose kids have played with mine since they were all little. She's a good kid, good student, but she got involved with the wrong boy. She's 15 and they met when she was 14. He was trying to take up way too much of her time so that her grades started slipping. He's a stalker, and would even stand across the street when her mom told him to leave their property, and just stare at the house. He finally convinced her to run away, and hid her. When they found her, her mom and step-dad sent her an hour away to live with her dad and step-mom just to get away from him, and even though he couldn't drive, he found a way to see her every single day. She ran away again, and again he was hiding her, but lied to everyone for over a week that he had no clue where she was! Now, because of his involvement, she has a juvenile record, and he has a restraining order and will soon have a record. This was a *good* kid, that everyone thought that was a good kid and had good grades at this time last year. Once it started getting out of hand, it went south really, really fast. This happened with in weeks of my daughter's problem with the football player, which happened weeks after two of older friends of the family got pregnant. My kids are in a bit of shock, and they really don't want to go on individual dates. They've seen the bad ending of several scenarios up close and personal.

0
17 36

I as the mother of daughters 5, 6, 17 & 20 have actually been involved in their lives more that I am sure they would like but I am also one of the moms that all the kids come to and have alot of kids on my friends list on facebook. But couple years ago my 2nd daughter was dating a kid older than her and he was controlling her and being emotionally abusing. I did step in and end their dating/friendship and when it was all over with his parents knew nothing of what he had been doing to her. His parents knew their son was trouble but did not know to what extent he had been to my daughter who they did really like.
I say us as parents have to be involved completely and even though they may not want us to be it will be appreciated in years to come.

0
173 27

I think that if you are seeing things that need guidance, i.e. signs they are having sex, then it's time to step in (or even before that if you even have a HINT that it's coming).. and talk about safe sex and birth control. I may get a lot of flack for saying what I think right now, but that's fine. Believe it or not, OUR teens ARE having sex... my twin girls are 16 years old. I am not blind to the fact that they have boyfriends and I now know they have had sex. I had them tested completely by their doctor for all STD's, a female exam, and birth control now. They need to be smart about it if they are going to be doing it, and whether we as parents like it or not, if they really want to, they WILL!! So, if they are dating someone age in-appropriate, there are easy legal recourses you can take to stop it if you need to.. I did turn my daughters cell phone into the authorities after I found a bunch of messages from men in their early 20's talking to my daughters in inappropriate ways... the police are dealing with that right now as a matter of fact. If you just don't like the guy, but she does, whether you like him or not, she will see him if she wants to. If you really stress the fact you don't like him and she can't see him, in 99% of the cases, the teen girl will resent you and rebel and do more to see this person... I try to keep an open mind with my daughters about who they are dating. I have even had to deal with one of them dating a female. I tell them all the time the best advice I can give: "It doesn't matter what sex, color, their looks, etc., as long as that person treats you good and you treat them good back".. Ahh.. the life of raising teenagers... not an easy task.. but I am told by my friends and co-workers it too shall pass! ;)

0
1 5

I have to agree here. My 17 (almost 18) year old daughter is dating a 16 year old boy that is just not right for her. He is manipulative and controlling but she just won't see it. I know that sounds weird because she is older and should not be able to be manipulated but he is good. None of us, not me, my husband, her siblings, or her friends like him. He is rude, immature, sneaky, lying and as I have said manipulative and controlling. But, the more we all say no the more she is determined to date him. We are also undermined by the fact that my daughter has severe bi polar disorder so it makes things difficult. All I can do right now is sit back and hold on. We pray everyday that she will see the light and realize that he is all of these things but until she does I really don't know what else we can do.

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30 0

MOMS , DADS, I AM A 14 YEAR OLD MALE , I KNOW I AM IMPERSENATING A WOMEN BUT IF U NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT UR CHILDREN ASK ME . I AM 14 I KNOW HOW UR CHILDREN THINK AT THE AGE OF ADOLESCENCE SO FEEL FREE TO ASK AND I'LL TELL U WHAT I THINK , AND I HOPE I'LL BE HELPFUL :) TY

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