I was visiting with a friend who has two teenage daughters and we started talking about dating - when, where and how. Here is the advice I gave her:
- It’s important for teenagers to interact socially with friends, not just on facebook or texting. However, where, when and how that social interaction happens needs to be monitored by the parents.
- Going to the mall is fine, but put a time limit on the trip and have regular check in times. Know exactly which friends your daughter or son is going to mall with.
- Speaking of friends, know who they are. Invite your daughter’s friends to your house, so you can get to know them and take time to meet their parents.
- What about sleepovers? Here is my advice: Do you know the family? Would you want to have a sleep over at their house? If the answer is yes, then a sleepover should be fine, but again put a time limit on the trip and have regular check in points.
- Movies present special problems. I envision all kinds of inappropriate interactions going on while kids are sitting in the dark watching a movie. In addition, if the goal is social interaction, than sitting in a dark theater watching a movie doesn’t seem to be the right activity.
- Bottom line - If you were the one going on the outing with your friends, would you be comfortable? Would you feel safe? If you would, then establish the boundaries and let your daughter go have fun.