I remember my first date with one of my first teenage boyfriends. I remember where we went, what movie we saw, what he wore. I also remember the names of all three of the friends who joined us.
Not much has changed. It’s quite common now for teens to hang out in packs, then eventually settle down with a special someone. But there may still be a “group” mentality when it comes to socializing.
And as painful as it may be for you as a parent, now is a good time to talk with them about sex. Research shows that the more informed kids are about sex, the better their decision-making is. It’s an important counter-point to all the misinformation out there being spread from friend to friend, and an important factor in withstanding the peer pressure to engage in sexual activities.
Encourage your teen to bring their friends — and significant others — over to hang out at your place. It allows you to get to know all of them and to keep an eye on how the relationship is progressing. Young romances are fine, but they shouldn’t be all-consuming. If your teen is starting to hang out with his girlfriend to the exclusion of pretty much all other activities, including ones that he used to enjoy, you might want to chat with him about what’s happening in their relationship and find out what’s going on from his perspective. Start a dialogue, stay open and collaborative, and position yourself as a “coach” or consultant who might have some helpful thoughts on how things are going for him, rather than being seen as a know-it-all parent who can’t keep her nose out of other people’s business!