Start talking casually about what constitutes a healthy relationship to build the framework they’ll use when they’re reading to start dating.
This kind of group stuff is a safe and healthy way to interact with members of the opposite sex without the awkwardness that a one-on-one scenario can bring. For many kids, 16 seems to be an appropriate age, but it may be entirely suitable for a mature 15-year-old to go on a date, or to make your immature 16-year-old wait a year or two.
It can be alarming and uncomfortable to think about your child dating.
But don’t pretend it’s not happening (or that it won’t at some point), whether your child has brought it up or not.
When you’ve made a decision, be clear with your child about your expectations.
Explain if and how you want your child to check in with you while they’re out, what you consider acceptable and appropriate behavior, and curfew. We may use terms like “puppy love” and “crush” to describe teenage romances, but it’s very real to them.
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In high school, strong romantic attachments can be formed and things can get serious, fast.