Are my teenagers not too young to be dating? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I have teenage children, and sometimes it feels like all they think about is dating. Surely are they not too young? I want them to focus on their schoolwork, but they won’t listen. Any suggestions?

Teen Dating

Chris says,

Hi Teen Dating!

Teens face powerful peer pressures to date, and it isn’t entirely a bad thing. Dating increases their self-confidence and helps them feel more independent and mature. They learn important social skills, the importance of trust and honesty, what to look for in a partner, and how to deal with rejection!


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Teens who date successfully go on to have better relationships as adults. But for many, there are serious downsides, especially for those who start too soon. Their schoolwork suffers because they can’t concentrate. 

There are higher risks of drug use, alcohol abuse, smoking, delinquency and promiscuity. Many teens find their partners make them feel bad or self-conscious about themselves.

Begin by never giving them a hard time if they start to tell you something embarrassing so that they will always talk openly with you. Talk with them about their romantic relationships, ask them what they think dating’s all about, and set right some of the myths they will have picked up from the internet.

Make sure your current relationship is a good example for your children because it will form the basis for what they expect to happen in their own lives. Be supportive of their dating, but set rules and make them stick.

All the best,