When children are younger, it is easy to notice when things are a miss, for one they will likely let you know but once they transition into teenagehood, they no longer share as much. They are moody all the time and shifty around you.
They no longer want to spend quality time with you and instead demand to be left alone in their rage of hormones. As you ponder on how to navigate this stage with your child, this situation could soon get worse when you find out they are dating.
Teenagers will do all they can to hide this secret from you but as a parent you will always know. They will spend an awful amount of time on their phone not to mention how self-conscious they will get with their outfits and general outlook.
If you suspect your teenager may be dating but don’t know how to handle this situation, here is what you can do:
Yes, it is scary, imagining your little girl or boy having a romantic relationship with the opposite sex, but do not overreact. Teenagers are naturally rebellious and will definitely go on the opposite direction, be calm and collected. Think about how you want to handle this situation.
Since you are merely suspecting them to be dating, it would be wise to use this to your advantage. Once you ask them about it, they will know you are onto them and wont lower their guard. Watch their movements, places they always claim to be going, this is the point where you helicopter parent in the shadows.
The thing about teenagers is that the longer you act dumb about the situation, the more they think they have it under wraps. Do not attack them or berate them for keeping secrets, but instead have a chat with them. It will be much easier for both of you when you are open with one another.
It’s no secret teenagers know they are too young to date but still do it anyway, what you need to find out is why. Do they like this person or are they simply having misplaced priorities. If it is the former, it is very important to chaperone this phase and be in the picture.
While most would want their children to keep the relationship in the shadows, wouldn’t it be much easier if you personally knew this kid? Invite them over for lunch, get to talk to them and know them. Insert yourself into the situation, understand their intentions and make your own clear. Talk about boundaries and your expectations to both of them.
Once they know you know, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Have the sex talk, if you already did, do it again. The sex talk is not just about them getting intimate but also about consent and being sexually abused. Make it clear to them and the consequences of their actions there on.
Not all teenagers are open or willing to give information about their personal life, if this is the case find someone close to them to be your third eye. Let them inform you of what is going on in your teens life and if you feel the need to intervene, please do, you are the adult after all.
- I am a young Kenyan interested in new media and dissemination of news and information as it unfolds.
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