When is Your Teen Ready for a Relationship?

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There certainly isn’t an automatic age where teens are ready to begin a serious relationship. Instead, it depends on your teen’s maturity level. While some teens are ready at 15 to have a romantic relationship, others are far too immature to handle the responsibility. So avoid making a rule that says, “No dating until you’re 16,” or something along those lines. Instead, base it on your child’s maturity level and skill level.

Does Your Teen Have Healthy Relationship Skills?

Any teen who wants to begin a relationship should have healthy relationship skills. Otherwise, entering into teenage romance can be disastrous. A teen who wants to enter a serious romantic relationship should have these skills:

  • Assertiveness Skills   Sometimes relationships come with a lot of pressure. Teens who are dating may feel pressure to become sexually active or pressure to spend a lot of time together. It’s important for your teen to be able to speak up for herself so she can say no when she’s feeling uncomfortable.
  • Problem-Solving Skills A romantic relationship will create different types of problems that your teen may not have experienced before. For example, a teen may have to decide whether to spend time with a friend or a boyfriend or she may need to resolve problems that result from a misunderstanding over social media. Problem-solving skills are essential if you want to help your teen maintain a healthy relationship.
    • Emotion Regulation Skills The teen years can be tumultuous by nature, and romance certainly stirs up a lot of intense emotions. It’s important for any teen to be able to deal with stress, loneliness, anger, jealousy, and sadness in a healthy manner.
    • Conflict Resolution Skills – A relationship will likely bring some level of conflict, whether it’s a disagreement about a miscommunication or an argument over how the other person is behaving. It’s important for your teen to understand how to resolve conflict in a healthy way.

      Does Your Teen Understand Healthy Relationships?

      Teens also need to know what a healthy relationship should look like. If you haven’t role modeled healthy relationships, it’s likely that your teen’s view of what a healthy relationship really is may be a bit unclear. But, even teens who have witnessed healthy relationships still don’t really understand how to create a healthy dating relationship.

      Make sure your teen understands issues, like dating violence, and jealousy. Talk to your teen about the importance of maintaining healthy relationships with friends even while dating someone. It’s also important for your teen to be willing to remain involved in school work and extra-curricular activities without allowing a romantic interest to interfere.

      Has Your Teen Had Plenty of Education About Sex and Sexuality?

      Make sure your teen has a clear understanding of sex and sexuality issues. Your teen should know what to expect when entering into a romantic relationship and to understand the dangers of engaging in sexual activity – like STDs and pregnancy.

      Even a teen who insists she’s not ready to have sex, should still understand the potential consequences.

      Does Your Teen Have a Healthy Self-Worth?

      If your teen hasn’t yet established a healthy self-worth, it could dangerous for her to enter into a relationship. If your teen doesn’t feel good about herself or hasn’t yet established a healthy identity, she may tie her self-worth into the person she’s dating. She may seek attention to feel good about herself or may be willing to tolerate unhealthy behavior.

      It’s important to have ongoing conversations with your teen about dating, relationships, and sexuality. If you absolutely forbid dating of any kind, your teen may rebel and begin dating without your knowledge. Try to allow your teen some freedom but make sure you keep your teen safe by establishing healthy dating rules.

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