Most parents of 11-to-14-year-olds don’t feel prepared to talk to their kids about healthy relationships and teen dating violence.
My daughter often gives me an update on the social goings-on in her class.Last week she said, “Did I tell you that Allie broke up with Carter Smith?Parents should start by asking their child about his or her expectations.Roffman says excellent conversation-starters include: Use your child’s responses to talk about the values — such as honesty, respect or trust — that you expect him or her to uphold in any and all sexual experiences, including first kisses, says Roffman, who wrote “Talk to Me First” and “Sex and Sensibility.” “Those very early experiences can shape their behavior and relationships for years to come,” she says.” She went on to say, “They’d been dating for like six months, but she said she didn’t want a boyfriend right now. Eleven and trying to figure out the dynamics of a months-long exclusive relationship and using words like “dating” to describe them. The middle school years are a time of major transition for kids as nature forces them along the path toward adulthood.
So she’s not going to date anyone else for a while.” The kicker? It’s not like we, as parents, can prevent their sudden interest in the opposite sex because, well–But allowing that new interest to move quickly into a serious romantic attachment with a peer has its pitfalls.
For every upside to middle school romance, there’s a pretty harsh downside.
Rejection is hard at any age but especially so at a stage when you feel physically, emotionally, and socially vulnerable.
"Parents should take an active role in teaching and helping their kids understand what normal dating behaviours are." By understanding what "healthy" dating is at this age, parents can set limits and protect their child.
At the end of the day, "it's better than saying they shouldn't date at all." "What is healthy is being in a group of boys and girls and transitioning from same-sex-only groups into groups in contact with the other sex," says Connolly.
When parents talk to their kids about healthy relationships, they help protect kids from dating violence.