What parts of a relationship make your child most happy? When your kids are preteens, it’s time to bring sex into the discussion.Besides biology, bring up some of the risks and moral considerations.In my family, there’s an old saying that the teenagers will always come home safe and sound and on time from a date because they know daddy’s waiting on the front porch with a shotgun.While meant as a joke, the story says something about parents’ age-old concerns for their teens when they begin to date.The old worries about teen pregnancy, tarnished reputations and broken hearts still apply, but today there are new risks due to rising rates of dating violence and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
Model Healthy Relationships Being a good role model to our kids as we interact with our spouses and others is the first step toward ensuring they’ll develop healthy connections as teens and adults, Ponton and Brown say.Enforcing rigid gender stereotypes or engaging in harmful relations ourselves can set our kids up for relationship woes later on.We caught up with two local experts on teen relationships and sexuality and asked for their tips on setting guidelines for kids entering the dating game.Lynn Ponton, University of California San Francisco professor of adolescent psychiatry and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers and The Romance of Risk, and Nancy Brown, a developmental psychologist and education projects manager for Palo Alto Medical Foundation, both agree: Parents should set the stage for safe dating long before their child becomes a teen.Talking about relationships once they reach school age is step two. ” Share your values, but be sure to ask your child what he thinks creates a healthy, loving relationship.
Parents should inquire about their children’s friendships, Ponton says, asking questions like: “What makes a relationship work well? Parents can find good conversation starters both in the media and in real life scenarios.