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“In third grade, he signed a ‘contract’ that said he would marry me” and in fourth grade, they proclaimed their love in journals, she says.
While they never dated, and Rod moved away after high school, they realized 20 years later what they “clearly knew from the outset” and finally reconnected and later, married.
Also, their kids must maintain good grades in order to spend time with their girlfriends/boyfriends.
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“As long as they are safe, staying neutral (as parents) gives them room to make mistakes and learn from them.” Supervision and discussion are important “in helping children develop healthy relationship skills and keeping an eye on safety issues,” such as sexual interactions as teens get older, says Weathington.
Also, stay connected to other parents, to help know what’s going on.
Be sure to follow up with your kids about what they’re discussing.
“Romantic relationships are a part of life for most people, and they play an enormous part in one’s overall happiness and well-being,” Poteet-Kight says.
Movies can be springboards for discussion and parents can share their own experiences.
“Talking about what relationships will look like, what the expectations are, and monitoring interactions (face to face and on social media like texts and Facebook) can help a child learn about relationships and keep them safe,” says Weathington.
“As they have begun to drive themselves, and have shown responsibility, they have more freedom and later curfews.” Poteet-Kight’s kids aren’t allowed to be at their interests’ homes without a parent present or alone together in a room with the door closed.
They aren’t allowed to talk or text late at night, and the Poteet-Kights monitor incoming and outgoing texts and calls after 10 p.m.
“Start the dialogue about dating relationships and sex early so it’s never a subject that’s looming and hard to broach,” says Poteet-Kight.
“If you start when your kids are already feeling weird about relationships and their bodies, then they’re likely to want to get as far away from the conversation as possible because it’s so uncomfortable.” If your child is interested in dating, discuss boundaries first and strive for continued open communication, Rhodes says.
“More traditional dating as a couple tends to happen in high school, especially when one person can drive.” Kids will likely “raise the issue of dating in a natural process as they are ready or interested, as long as parents show that they are open to those discussions,” says Weathington.