Modeling Dating for Teens: 5 Things You Should Know

dating with teenagers

Oh, yes, they’re watching! Teens may not always seem interested in what their parents are doing but when it comes to dating and love, they are watching every move. Here are some tips on how you can model healthy dating and help the next generation steer clear of some tough situations in their own relationships.

1. Money Matters

Dinner and drinks can add up to over a hundred dollars in no time. Finding fun, healthy activities that are free or low cost will show teens that quality time getting to know someone does not have to mean you go broke in the process. Go for a bike ride, take a walk or just sit on the front porch talking. Dating does not have to be expensive; every moment does not have to include a limo and a bottle of champagne.

2. Mental Math

Leading with logic is the best way to keep from making unhealthy choices. By demonstrating that you are keeping your head engaged and not letting your heart run wild, you will influence how your teen views relationships. Make your list of “deal breakers” before you begin dating and keep your children’s needs in mind. Tip: location, location, location. Most teens don’t want to move. Dating someone who is geographically undesirable will typically cause unnecessary stress for everyone.

3. Physical Fitness

Personal touch and closeness is every teen’s love language. When they see (or hear) that adults are keeping healthy physical boundaries, it makes it easier for them to embrace the idea of personal respect when they begin dating. Talk with them about what to expect in terms of affection and always consider their perspective. One rule that should not be overlooked: never have someone from last night’s date sitting at the breakfast table the next morning!

4. Emotional Energy

Dating can be an emotional rollercoaster if not kept in check. Be honest and open about your feelings while keeping the drama in neutral. Encourage your teen to express their feelings about the process and their perceptions and carefully respect their views. Slow and steady is the best example to model healthy dating. If you need to break off a relationship, do not involve your teenager.

5. Spiritually Savvy

While each person has their own set of values, morals, and beliefs, be careful not to compromise in areas you have raised your teen to view as sacred. This can send a mixed message that will probably backfire when they begin to date. Be clear about your beliefs up front with the person you date and don’t settle for something that will undermine the family framework. Even slight variations in this area can cause big problems down the road.

Finding love in this culture is not easy. Dating, with kids that live at home, is a big commitment but with a few simple practices in place, the journey will be far less bumpy. During the teen years, parents have the amazing privilege and the responsibility to show their kids how they will navigate relationships, dating, love, and even marriage. The caution is that teens today live in a world of entitlement and speed – both of which cause accidents. Teaching teens about healthy love is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give them.

Love is Closer Than You Think

how to find a soulmate

After a long drought, it’s tempting to think it will never rain again. Here’s why you should keep looking up.

People who are single, but don’t want to be, find it easy to grasp Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. He once said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

Anyone wanting to spend time with a pretty girl or a handsome man, but instead has endured years of fruitless searching, has no trouble picturing the “hand-on-a-hot-stove” analogy. The prospect of another day alone can feel as if time has stopped entirely—and that love will never arrive.

“Never” is an infectious word, like a flu virus. Once you’ve caught it, everything loses its luster. Exhaustion and depression become lead weights strapped to your feet. All you want to do is stay in bed and pull the covers over your head.

As justifiable as this state of mind may be (the stove really is hot, after all), it’s not very useful. Because unlike the real flu, this one won’t go away on its own.

Fortunately, there is a cure. Just as your condition began as an idea—that true love is a rare creature you are likely to never see—it can end with one as well. Here it is: Love is always closer than you think. That’s not another empty greeting card slogan. It is the truth. Love is always nearby, even when all appearance argues against it.

The romantic comedy “Love Actually” begins with a montage of touching scenes filmed at London’s Heathrow airport. One after another, people come through the arrivals gate and are greeted by someone they love. They embrace and kiss. They cry, they laugh. Hugh Grant narrates the imagery:

“Love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends … If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that love actually is all around.”

When you are resolved to resist words like “hopeless” and “never,” you will see evidence of love everywhere you go. You’ll stop visualizing vast distances between you and the love of your life. Rather, you’ll imagine that he or she is just around the corner. You’ll recognize the love you see between a small child and her grandfather at the park, or best friends huddled for hours over coffee. It is a ubiquitous current that never ceases to flow—and that is presently carrying you and your partner toward each other.

Love is always closer than you think. Write these words on sticky notes and wallpaper your world with them. Put them on your bathroom mirror, in your car, beside your bed, on the inside of your front door, so it’s the last thing you see before you go out. It will help make the hours of waiting for romance seem like minutes instead.