Raising a teenage girl can be difficult, especially when the time comes for her to start dating. It’s important that you have rules in place to keep her safe, but you also need to give her some space to learn things for herself. It can be difficult to balance the rules she needs with the freedom she should be allowed.
Not all of these rules are going to work for you and your daughter. Every family is different, and it’s important that you set rules based on the situation and what your daughter needs. Remember, these rules are supposed to keep her safe and help her have a good dating experience.
1. Have an Age Limit
Some girls are too young to start dating. Dating is healthy when you’re younger because it helps you learn what you want in a partner and how to develop relationships.
However, it requires a certain level of maturity, and many girls aren’t there as early as they may think they are. Though the age limit should be based specifically on your daughter’s maturity, parents tend to set the dating age at about 15 or 16 years old.
2. Have a Curfew
Make sure that you set a strict curfew for your daughter when she goes out on dates. Once it gets late, it is safer for her to come home. Curfews have advantages like making sure she gets enough sleep and helping her with time management. Curfews tend to be between 9:00 pm and midnight. Set a curfew and make sure that she sticks to it.
3. Only Group Dates
When going out with someone for the first time, it is a good idea to go on double dates or group dates so your daughter can get to know their date in a group of people. At least for the first few dates, you might want to consider making sure your daughter goes on group dates.
This is for her safety because she is less likely to be assaulted or pressured into something by her date if they are in a group. Make sure to get to know the people in the group so you know that they will help keep her safe.
4. Meet the Date First
When a girl is first starting to date, she isn’t going to be able to spot red flags in a person that might mean they are toxic or dangerous. As a parent that has dated before, you’ll be able to spot any problems much more easily. You should get to know your daughter’s date so you can make sure that they aren’t going to cause any problems for her, such as get her into trouble or degrade her.
As the relationship progresses, you should also spend some time with both of them together. You can get a window into how they treat your daughter. If they are treating her badly, she may not realize that it is an issue, so it is important that you see what’s happening.
Getting to know your daughter’s date/boyfriend can also forge a connection between you and your daughter. It can improve your relationship and help you get more context when you have discussions with her about her dating life.
5. Know Where They are Going
You should always be aware of where your daughter is when she’s on a date. She and her date should inform you about their plans and where they will be at all times. Some parents might even track their kids using their phones, at least for the first couple of dates.
If you do feel the need to track where she is, she should know that you are doing it. This way, she understands what the standards are and won’t be surprised if you talk about where they went.
6. Dates Should Be in Public Places
At the beginning of a relationship, there is a degree of trust that needs to be developed before the couple should hang out alone and in private.
Since you should already know where your daughter is going on her date based on the above rule, make sure all those places are public. Going to a private place with someone you don’t know very well can be very dangerous.
7. Check In About Dates
Once your daughter returns from her date, check in with her about it. Get the details about how it went, what she thinks about her date, and whether or not she will go out with them again.
Some girls will be more open about this than others. Don’t push her to share everything, but make sure that she knows that she can tell you about anything that she wants or needs to talk about.
8. You Have Veto Power
If there is a problem with who your daughter is dating, where the date is taking place, or what they will be doing, you should be able to veto any of these. Establish rules with your daughter that you can keep her from dating someone, going somewhere, or doing something.
Make sure that she understands that you will only use this power if you are worried about her safety and wellbeing, and don’t ever abuse this power.
9. No Sexting
Sexting is a big problem nowadays. Girls should never send pictures of their bodies to other people for a number of reasons. Even if they believe that they can trust the person they are sending the picture to, they may end up sharing it with their friends. Even when using an app that permanently deletes messages, screenshots can be taken and pictures can be saved.
If a girl is under 18, it is illegal to send pictures of her naked body because she is a minor. She can get into a lot of trouble if the image spreads around, and the picture can very easily be seen by people whom she never intended to see it.
Put your foot down about sexting and make sure she understands the dangers of it.
10. No Dating Apps/Strict Rules About Dating Apps
Dating apps are becoming more and more common, but they come with their share of problems for teenagers. While many dating apps don’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to create an account, it is easy to lie about your age.
Teens may use dating apps looking for someone older. Even if they want to find someone their own age, they might come across an adult masquerading as a teenager. People lie all the time online, and it may result in your daughter getting taken advantage of.
You might want to consider rules against using dating apps, requiring that all her dates be with someone she met in person. You can also allow her to use dating apps but have strict rules about using them.
For example, not letting her meet anyone online without a parent chaperone. This can help protect her against getting taken advantage of. Just make sure that she is aware of the dangers of dating apps and why you have the rules that you do.
11. Date Around for a Little Bit
Dating when you’re young is not so much about finding someone, but more about finding out what you want in a partner. You may want to consider making rules about dating around a little bit.
If a girl dates one person, she may think she knows what she wants and how she wants to be treated. However, by dating a lot of people, she learns more about what kind of relationships there are and what kind of relationship she felt the most comfortable in.
12. Limit the PDA
Public displays of affection are a surefire way to make a lot of people feel uncomfortable. Cuddling and kissing are normal and healthy, but not so much when it’s done constantly in public. If your daughter and her partner have been taking part in PDA, talk to both of them about how it makes you and other people around them feel.
13. Keep the Door Open
There are a few sitcoms with episodes where a teenage girl is alone in her bedroom with a boy. In these shows, one of the parents usually spends the whole episode trying to spy on them and see what they’re doing.
This is not something you have to do as a parent. Make them leave the door open. What your teenage daughter and her partner are up to behind closed doors is absolutely your business, especially in the early stages of a relationship.
14. Talk to Her About Sex
Don’t assume that your daughter knows anything about sex from school, friends, or television. It is important that you have a conversation with her before she starts dating about what sex is, identifying and avoiding sexual assault, and what the expectations are about sex.
Every family is going to have different rules about sex depending on values. Make sure that you are clear about these rules and why they are in place. Also, be sure that your daughter knows that she can come to you if something is making her feel uncomfortable or confused.
15. Talk to Her About Drugs and Alcohol
You also need to have conversations with her about drugs and alcohol and your expectations regarding them. Help her to understand the types of situations in which she might be exposed to drugs and alcohol. She needs to understand the consequences of drinking and taking drugs at her age.
16. Her Partner Should Treat Her Well
Some girls are attracted to toxic people that will make them feel bad about themselves or even abuse them. Before your daughter starts dating, talk to her about how a good relationship should make you feel good and happy.
Keep an eye on who she dates to make sure that they are treating her with respect and kindness, and that she is treating them with the same respect and kindness.
17. Be Her Excuse
While on a date, a girl may want to leave but doesn’t feel like she can just leave. She may not want to be rude, or she could be worried that her date might be dangerous and doesn’t want to make them angry.
Your daughter should be able to tell her date that she needs to get home right away because her parents said so. You should also set up a text signal with her. If she texts you this signal, you will call or text and say you need her home. You also should make sure that you are available during her date to come to pick her up.
Some girls may not want to take advantage of this rule because they are worried about getting in trouble. It may be helpful to include a “no questions asked” stipulation. You should make sure your daughter is comfortable talking to you about anything, but it is more important that she can get your help when she needs it than it is that you know everything about what went on.
18. She Can Always Talk to You
Maintaining a good line of communication is the best thing you can do when your daughter is dating. She should be willing to come to you with her concerns and questions. Let her know that you won’t judge her about these things and that she can get good advice from you about anything.
You may need to reach out to her in the beginning, even if it’s just about small things. Don’t pry, but let her talk to you and share what she is comfortable sharing. If you keep this up, she’ll be willing to come to you eventually.
19. She Gets Some Privacy
This may be a difficult rule for you to follow, but, though you should be keeping tabs on her dating life, your daughter needs some privacy. She should feel like she has independence and control. Not allowing her any privacy will just make her more likely to rebel and not be willing to come to you when it’s important.
If you instill good values in her and support her no matter what, she will probably want to talk to you more and keep you in the loop.