My teen daughter’s rules of dating?

boy and girl in loveAnd so the time has come that my teen daughter (15) has a boyfriend who comes over and hangs out with us. He’s a delightful and eerily respectful young man who sometimes seems more interested in impressing me than my daughter, but maybe that’s just because I’m an intimidating guy? I like him and am glad to see my girl stepping into the more adult world of dating and relationships.

Problem is, I’m now waaaayyyy out of my comfort zone but I do feel like it’s important to have some “rules of dating” for my daughter so that we don’t slide into trouble before she’s ready (heck, before I’m ready!) to deal with it. I already prohibit them from being together without an adult around (e.g., studying at one of our houses) and when they’re in my place, the bedroom door has to stay wide open if they’re upstairs hanging out.

Complicating matters, of course, is that we’re talking about two households because she also spends time at her Mom’s place with her fella…

To open up this discussion, here’s the email I sent my ex this evening about this topic:

[Young Mr X] was over this afternoon and my rule with them is that they can hang out in A’s room (away from the little ones) as long as the bedroom door remains open. When I went up later in the afternoon, however, they were both laying on the bed and my impression was that they had been making out a bit. She denies it, but…

I’m a bit out of my depths with this stuff because I don’t know what are reasonable boundaries and limitations for their behaviors and activities. A’s only 15, but… she’s 15 in our modern culture and there’s a lot more sexualization and sexuality in the air — even at her school — than when we were her age.

I can certainly get a parenting book to read up on best ideas, or ask a family therapist for a recommendation or two, but it seems to me that it’d be smart and safe for her to have normalized behavioral parameters at both of our houses, and then perhaps even send a carefully worded note to his folks as we agreed was appropriate.

What do you think?

In a similar spirit, let me ask y’all, my faithful readers, for recommendations on how to allow my teen gal the freedom to begin her exploration of relationships with this boy while still creating healthy and age appropriate boundaries so that they don’t stray into dangerous territory before it’s appropriate?

If you’ve had teens, particularly teen girls, what rules have you made and how’d they work out? If you’ve read a book or two on raising teen girls — and I do think that it’s different to have a daughter than a son vis-a-vis all this dating stuff — what could you recommend to me?

Thanks. I need help. 🙂

5 comments on “My teen daughter’s rules of dating?

  1. hate to say it bro but where there’s a will there’s a way. if they want to do something they will find a way, no matter what kind of rules are in place. that said, it sounds like you’re doing it right.

    • oh – i didn’t let my girls go on one-on-one dates until they were 16. Before then it had to be a group date. Always had a curfew based on what they were doing and what I thought was a reasonable amount of ‘free’ or travel time. Sometimes I checked and asked to see movie tickets or such – maybe that was a bit much – but I wanted to know that they were not lying to me about what they were doing. It’s just a whole other world and you just have to learn as you go. Some kids are more rebellious than others and each need their own set of guidelines/rules.

  2. I’m a 67 year old single dad with a just turned 15 year old daughter who spends most of her time with me. Don’t think that’s not a chllenge? Fortunately because she spends most of her time with me I feel like I am in the loop and know where she’s at with relationships . . . of which there isn’t one as of yet. She has great girl friends, is active in sports which I think helps greatly by taking up a lot of her time. My only advice is to be acutely aware of any signs that might indicate a change in routine, friends or interests. Be totally open with her and although I am a male there are still some insights I can offer her in her development. I might even throw in a “scary experience” or two for empahsis. Blessings to all . . . and spiritual involvement doesn’t hurt either.

  3. A good book on the subject of raising adolescents is “Parenting for today’s adolescent” by Dennis & Barbara Rainey. It takes a hard look at many of the big traps that teens will face during their journey from 13 to 19. Topics covered are:

    Peer pressure
    unresolved anger
    substance abuse
    the tongue
    false gods

    My wife, daughter (10) and I are reading the book together and discussing each chapter. It is an interesting experience in learning what goes on in 10 – 12 year old’s mind as well as what to expect.

    Grab a copy and give it a read.

  4. There is a great program offered called Our Whole Lives- the 5 circles of sexuality offered via books or at a local Unitarian Universalist Church. Great stuff (I’m a 30yr old woman/former kissing on the couch 15yr old)

    My parents didn’t have the birds and bees talk, really seriously at least, till after their divorce (I was 17) at the time and so they really missed the boat on that one.

    Talk about safety, respect, options. Inform her that you want to be involved and that you are a safe space. Perhaps give her a ring, necklace or a token from her special man (you) and let her know that she has that gift to give to whomever she chooses to be her special man (boy she will be intimate with that you will try not to KILL) … will be very hard for her to give that token up and it will make her think more seriously about that other special gift you are really trying to protect ;0)

    Good Luck DAD!!

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