Teenage dating has evolved over the last few decades. Many parents find themselves at crossroads on what to allow in their teenager’s dating. Social media and the availability of cell phones have made teen dating more complicated.
How Much Time Should My Teenage Daughter Spend With Her Boyfriend?
The time a teenage girl should spend with her boyfriend depends on age, maturity, other involvement such as school, and the length of dating. One hour per day could be ideal for a school girl to see her boyfriend. We look at the advantages of dating, signs of unhealthy relationships, and tips on how to help your daughter have a healthy dating relationship.
Why Allow Teenage Dating
As a parent, the thought of allowing your teenage daughter to date could be scary. You have mixed feelings of anxiety, joy, and fear of the unknown. However, teenage dating has advantages when your daughter is involved in a healthy relationship. Some of its advantages include;
- It helps in building social skills such as thoughtfulness and caring for others.
- Dating could help boost emotional growth in your teen daughter.
- It could help develop communication skills.
- It could lead to self-discovery and might bring more happiness.
- Healthy teen dating could help her build self-esteem and worth.
Signs Of Unhealthy Dating
As sighted above, healthy dating could be advantageous to your daughter. On the flip side, unhealthy teen dating could be harmful to her growth and studies, and in the worst case, lead to death. How can you tell a dating relationship is unhealthy?
Sudden Change In Behavior
If you notice a sudden change in your teen daughter’s behavior, she could be in an unhealthy dating relationship.
Behaviors that could raise a red flag include
- Desire to please others at the cost of her happiness.
- If she neglects her studies, interests, and hobbies.
- She spends most of her time on the phone with her boyfriend.
- She starts sexting, sending nudes, and semi-nudes to the boyfriend.
- She stalks her boyfriend.
- She starts having a fake lifestyle in real life or on social media.
She Shows Signs Of Abuse
More than half of the teens in the US have experienced or know someone who has been abused while dating. Abuse could be physical, emotional, verbal, digital, sexual, coercion, or threats.
If your daughter has gone through any form of abuse and has not been able to get help, she could show signs of anxiety, depression, withdrawal, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
A healthy relationship with your daughter could help her open up when she has any issues. You could report the abuse to the authorities and get her help.
If your daughter starts withdrawing from family and friends, it could indicate that she is in an unhealthy relationship. She could be withdrawn if the boyfriend is a narcissist, is possessive, and does want her to spend time with other people.
Plummeting Grades In School
If your teenage daughter is in school and suddenly her grades start dropping while dating, it could indicate that she is not paying attention to her studies. If you can, advise her on how to balance school work and dating. You could also involve the teacher or a counselor who will help her navigate her education and dating.
A disturbed teen daughter might experience sleep disorders. She could develop insomnia, oversleep or have short stints of sleep. If you notice such changes, have a candid talk with your daughter.
Unhealthy dating could lead your daughter to be overly cautious. For instance, if she starts apologizing unnecessarily, becomes so cautious when talking to people, or is conscious of her looks, words, and actions, the boyfriend could be bullying her. She could also start unhealthy eating habits to fit her boyfriend’s desired body shape. Such poor eating habits could compromise her health.
If your daughter comes home with unexplained injuries after a date, she might have been abused physically by her boyfriend.
Tips On How To Help Your Teenage Daughter Date Responsibly
It is crucial to help your daughter date responsibly. Teenagers are often confused on issues of romance and intimacy, and if not well guided, they could end up in unhealthy relationships.
- Have a candid talk with your daughter about teenage dating. Do not assume she knows what she should do or how to do it. You could guide her on how to respect her values, respect others, safety, courtesy, time management, how to behave, and how to handle peer pressure.
- Set reasonable boundaries. For instance, agree on how long she can be on the phone with her boyfriend, visiting hours, where to meet, and the frequency of seeing each other. However, expect her to break the rules once in a while.
- Allow room for independence. It could be so annoying to your daughter and her boyfriend for you to police them. Let them know the boundaries and consequences of breaking set rules. For instance, if your greatest fear is that they get to engage in sex, let them know they are not allowed in private places alone.
- Be a role model. If you are dating, set an example to your daughter,
- Get to know the boyfriend. You could arrange dinner or lunch together and get to know each other. The boy will most likely behave decently when you know them.
- Encourage your daughter to maintain friends and engage in other activities such as sports, hobbies, and her interests. If she can continue a healthy relationship with other people, it will help her relate better with her boyfriend.
- Support your daughter. Castigating your girl for having a boyfriend could make her secretive and unwilling to speak out in case of abuse.
In conclusion, one hour per day is the ideal time your daughter should spend with her boyfriend. However, the time will vary depending on age, other activities such as school, length of dating, and health of the relationship.