Is your teenager ready to date?

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Tips for teenage dating

You probably want your baby to stay a baby. But, sooner or later, you'll have a teenager in your house, and inevitably raging hormones. If you have a teen or tween, here are some tips from local and national experts to deal with dating dilemmas.

1. Communicate and make sure you and your teen share the same definition of "dating," says Princess Fralin, adjunct instructor and program developer for the TEACH institute at Anne Arundel Community College. Some younger teens might think dating means simply having someone to call "boyfriend" or "girlfriend," while older teens might want more exclusive relationships.


2. Parents should set boundaries and rules for dating. Most parents would prefer their children not be alone with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Some parents might want to supervise all dates of younger teens, says Fralin. Parents should also set rules for when teens are allowed to text, talk on the phone or use the computer.

3. A child might be ready to date if they show signs of responsibility, says Mary Jo Rapini, a psychotherapist and author of "Start Talking: A Girls' Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever." If your child is responsible with money, chores, homework and other obligations, they might be ready to date.

4. Pay attention to your child and stay involved, says Rapini. Though teens won't want a lecture, they will want to know someone cares.

5. Support and trust your child, says Rapini. Listen to your child, be willing to spend time with their boyfriend or girlfriend and be their constant source of love and comfort.

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