Advice for parents about teen dating

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First relationships are like a mirror: Kids see themselves as others see them and find out how their words and actions draw people closer or push them away.Tweens and teens also learn about their values and goals, explore their feelings, and practice communication and commitment through dating, says teen life coach Melissa Kahn: “In some ways, teenage love is the purest, sweetest love of all — the kind that is about attraction and fun.” But that doesn’t mean young love is easy. Being admired and desired is exhilarating; getting disregarded or dumped can be crushing. Phil says that teenagers, especially younger pre-teens, don’t need to have boyfriends and girlfriends.

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For parents, watching kids try on identities is a bit like watching bad comedy: Although the characters are awkward and unbelievable, it’s almost impossible to look away.

Given that 1 in 5 high schoolers experience dating violence, you’ll want to be sure you do your part to help your child understand what a healthy relationship feels and looks like.

Below you’ll find information and tools to help you talk to your kids about healthy relationships, guidelines on how to navigate their world of cell phones and social networking and how to talk to your kids about being an upstander vs. If you suspect your teen may be a victim of abuse, you are the most important resource and advisor for your child.

If you think your son or daughter may be controlling, abusive, or violent with his or her partner, tell your child that abuse and violence are NOT acceptable and that violence will not solve problems.

Let him or her know when you truly care for someone you don’t hurt them or try to control them.

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