Today Show Segment this morning on “Boyology”
Let’s face it, most parents are traumatized by the idea of dating and teens. That’s why I love Sarah O’Leary Burningham’s great new book, Boyology.
Here a few take aways from Boyology that Sarah and I shared this morning on the Today show with Al Roker:
Don’t encourage pairing up too soon. A safer approach is to ease your teen into the dating scene by first sticking with groups (which is “in” these days – yes!). So open your home so teens have safe turf. You’ll get to know your daughter’s friends and boyfriends, and keep an eye on things. It’s ok to check every once in a while but there’s a fine line between being there and actually hanging out with the kids.
Insist on a meet and greet. Once your teen is dating do insist on personally meeting each first date and ideally in your home. Though most parents-especially dads-would like to curtail dating until around 35 the average age is 15 or 16 though many start dating as young as 13 or 14. The actual age isn’t the issue: a teen’s maturity level and self-esteem (especially a girls) matter more.
Talk R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Discuss appropriate dating behavior and how dates should treat each other.
Set a curfew that must be followed. A brief one-liner in front of the date is sufficient. You should talk about curfew BEFORE he comes to get her and then all you have to do is tell him“Kelly’s planning to be home at 11.” And if it’s a special date or the prom, consider extending the curfew (trustworthy teens need a few perks!)
Stress that No means NO! Most important do stress in your daughter that NO means NO! Then review when and where they are going with the date. This is the one time to let your kid borrow a cell phone for “just in case” scenarios.
Be her excuse. A lot of the teenagers I interviewed used their parents as excuses to get out of uncomfortable situations, from just wanting to go home to having a weird feeling.
Be there when she gets home. Your teenager counts on you. She might not act like it all the time, but she does.
Know your influence. Don’t underestimate how much your opinion about sex matters. Studies show that daughters whose moms talk with them about sex and express disapproval over their teen’s having sex are much less likely to have sex than peers. So TALK! (and talk and talk).