Your teenager should be aware it’s inappropriate for their romantic interest to pressure them into anything.
From having sex to saying “I love you,” tell your teen those things need to happen on their schedule and in the manner in which they’re comfortable. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will admit we usually learn the importance of setting firm boundaries in relationships after it’s too late. We take on other people’s problems as if they’re our responsibility, we try to fix people, we make excuses for behavior we know isn’t healthy, and we give people a thousand and one second chances.
Then we learn that despite our best intentions, we can’t really do any of that at all: at some point – usually after some hardship and heartbreak – we learn to take care of ourselves in relationships.
We learn to set firm, appropriate boundaries and stick to them no matter how hard it is.
Back to the cute note: parents generally don’t get freaked out at that point, because we know it’s got no teeth – at least we hope so.
By that we mean that most kids at that age don’t even know what they mean by the question actually entails.
Standing awkwardly next to one another at a school dance and maybe holding hands?
Possibly a slow dance, one hand on shoulder, other hand on hip, plenty of daylight in between bodies? Don’t misunderstand us: we’re not so naïve as to think all middle schoolers are lily-white innocents, and you shouldn’t be, either.
Notice that in the twelve-year span between 19, the percentages dropped about 0.4% per year.
Then in the two-year span between 20, they rate of decrease doubled to about 0.8% a year.
And we all know it’s very difficult to unlearn unhealthy habits, especially when they’re the first habits we learn. It’s that simple: if a friend or romantic interest ignores their wishes and steamrolls their emotional, physical, or digital needs, then it’s time to re-evaluate that relationship, and perhaps label it as something other than friendship or romance.
The foundation of healthy dating lies in building realistic relationship boundaries. We won’t try to tell you when your son or daughter should start dating – that’s for you to decide. A heads up: if you have more than one child, the right time might be different for each.
We’re not saying your sons and daughters will never experience heartbreak. We’re not saying your big-hearted kid shouldn’t go out of their way to help their friends, and at times put the need of others ahead of their own.