Talking to Tweens About Dating? The age group of 8 to 12 years also known as ‘tween’ is a delicate period for all children and the parents. This is the time when children are introduced to the concept of dating and sex. Nowadays when children ask permission about dating, parents have a habit of giving a straight ‘YES’. The parents need to understand that they must seek the truth underlying such requests.
If you ask 50 tweens the definition of dating, you will get 50 different answers. One needs to ask them what exactly they mean by dating and why they want to go on a date. These initial discussions will ultimately grow into critical discussions as the children grow into fine young adults. The good news is that tweens are also very eager to have a chat with their parents. Believe it or not, kids still value the opinions of their parents and rely a great them on them for advice. So the parents need to come closer to the kids and lay the groundwork for a healthy relationship during the adolescence period.
Talking to Tweens About Dating
Ask a lot of questions
Many parents wrongly assume that their kid has no interest in the opposite gender as he/she has not said anything about it. They understand that the kids of the same age are into dating but are not convinced that it can be their son/daughter too. Parents think of dates as mere physical events like going to the movies. But, in reality, tweens nowadays socialize a lot online which are invisible to the adults. So the parents might think that their daughter has never dated in life but in reality, it could be her 3rd boyfriend. To bridge this gap, experts suggest that parents should ask a lot of questions to son their daughter about their whereabouts, classes, and friends and find out whom he/she chats with and whether he/she is part of any group.
Give them real answers
As soon as the topic of dating and relationship rises, many parents do not understand what to discuss. You must understand that your daughter or son probably wants to speak to you about his/her feelings when he/she sees a particular someone. This is very common at this age. Many parents have the habit of jumping the gun and unintentionally begin to lecture the tween on sex and the different kinds of protection. This is unnecessary as tweens are generally not interested in sex and their questions are innocent. You must listen to their conversation and try to understand what exactly he/she wants to know. Lastly, when your child is sharing his/her feelings, never try to trivialize them as it will severely hurt their self-respect and esteem. Kids want someone to hear them out.
For parents who belong to the old school of thought often find it amusing that kids nowadays hook up or break up through Facebook and Twitter and this whole exercise is not only alien but scary to them. Parents should establish some ground rules even before the kids develop any curiosity. The kids should know beforehand the stand of their parents when it comes to their digital lives and actual dating. They should be made aware of the consequences if they fail to follow the rules or deviate from the path laid out for them.
You must let your kids know that their social media pages will be checked regularly along with the browser history. There is no denying the fact that the majority of the tween romance unfolds over chat sessions. The parents must read the chat logs regularly and ensure that all conversations are appropriate and innocent. Taking to tweens about dating crosses over in talking to tweens about social media.
This kind of extensive monitoring must be extended to text messages as well. Simple text messages like ‘LOL’ and “Wassup?” will not tell you much but the volume of the texts from a particular number will surely tell you that something is wrong. Also, check his/her Facebook and find out who comments the most on the posts and do check the relationship status from time to time. If at any point in time, you find something different or suspicious, do not bring the house down by shouting at your tween daughter/son. This will never solve any issues; it will only strengthen their resolve to do the wrong/something different and even try to conceal it from you. Speak to him/her in a relaxed manner and make him/her understand all about dating, relationships and what kind of behavior is expected from them at this age. Lastly, do not be worked up about these things all the time; if you have survived tween romance, then your kids will too.