Teen dating – how to help them build strong relationships

Good Day!

I’m so excited to dive into today’s topic because it is something I have dedicate my heart and soul to for so many years!

Dating!

Hmmm… perhaps I should clarify. As much as I’d like to brag that I was hot stuff and spent my life going on extravagant dates and living the life, what I mean to say is I have dedicated a career to exploring relationships and helping people find true love and fulfillment.

That’s just as cool, right??

Some of you may not know that while my studies were in the development and empowerment of young girls and women (specifically around things like healthy identities, including the four pillars), my career focus was on relationship coaching. My passion is to help people have amazing relationships and I draw from my studies in order to support that work.
Today we get to chat about creating the groundwork so your tweens and teens can go on to have amazing relationships!

The truth is, even though you may not even be thinking about them someday finding a partner and maybe getting married (ack, they grow up so fast), they need to get a strong foundation now so you don’t have to worry about them the rest of your life.

That’s right – you may not want to think about your little ones in romantic entanglements, but how amazing would it feel to know that actually, if you have the right information and offer them the right guidance, you actually may never have to think too hard about it again? A little pain for a ton of gain!

Well, I think I need to level with you right from the start…

I wasn’t exactly a hot commodity in junior high and high school. When I was in grade 6 (I was a mere 10 years old at the time) I noticed this thing called “dating” was happening around me. People were pairing up with other people and they were holding hands and committing to each other for almost a week at a time! They were KISSING! It was bananas!

Being 10 I felt incredibly confused: I wasn’t sure how over the course of one summer everyone I knew went from playing with our My Little Ponies and wearing ridiculous child-appropriate clothing to wearing sassy jeans and lip gloss and making out behind the tennis court.

I apparently hadn’t gotten the memo.

I was pretty happy to stay a kid. But the more I saw myself being left out, the more I realized my “dateability” was somehow linked to my worth…so I unconsciously started to measure my success as a person with whether I would get a boyfriend that year.

Sadly, it ended up being a 10 year long wait and the struggle was real!

Yeah, my first boyfriend didn’t happen until I was 20 and in my late years of undergrad. It lasted a week (so in some respects, my first boyfriend was no different than my grade 6 peers…at least I had gotten something right). Yup, I was that cool.

I had to wait two more years to really have my first relationship. By then I was so desperate to be loved and wanted that I chose like…a really terrible dude.

I look back now and I think, if I had been more willing to explore dating and all it has to offer when I was younger, I wouldn’t have spent the better part of my 20s in an on again off again toxic romance that made my family question my safety and sanity.

I don’t want you to be that parent, questioning whether her daughter will be ok. Worried she is not getting the treatment she deserves and the love she is worth.

I want to help you to help your tweens and teens explore what (age appropriate) dating and relationships has to offer now, before they make decisions that could cause damage.

So hold on! You’re telling me I need to be OK with my tween or teen flirting, dating and OMG everything else that comes with that??

Well…sorta?

I’m not saying that you give them a 100% free pass to do whatever (and, yikes, whomever) they want. I am saying we need to first understand why girls are making particular relationship choices before we shut them down completely. We need to teach them about healthy dynamics and help them make empowered decisions about what they are and are not ready for so they don’t succumb to pressure.

Studies have shown that full out preventing girls from exploring, experimenting, and expressing themselves can have negative repercussions for her ability to have healthy relationships in the future. And let me tell you, as a relationship coach who then sees these girls as clients when they are 20, 30, and beyond, it can be extremely painful for them to unlearn negative messages when all their friends are falling in love and getting hitched. I see the after effects of not having the right foundations set early enough.

Girls who are allowed to explore what is developmentally appropriate relationships, who are given correct sexual and dating health information early enough, and who are provided options and choice around their social and romantic desires end up being much healthier and more well-adjusted than teens who are not afforded this type of support.

Understanding girls’ motivations can help you create a world for them that they feel powerful in – on their terms! One where they have choices, and can express themselves authentically in such a way that empowers them and elevates their self-esteem.

How would it feel to you knowing that you have created that opportunity for them?