Teach Your Teen To Date

The new “dating” is “hang-out, hook-up, sleep-over, break-up”. Gone are the days when someone actually picks up a phone, calls someone to ask her/him on a specific date, and then picks her/him up at their home and goes on their date.

There is nothing wrong with hanging out in groups, however, teens need to learn how to relate to another person on a one to one basis.The major goal of dating in the teen years is learning how to handle yourself in a relationship.

This can be broken down into five areas:

  1. Know yourself well enough to speak your truth. Let the other person know what you like, what you want and how you feel.
  2. Learn how to communicate in an appropriate manner, to be able to handle yourself in any given situation.
  3. Explore how it feels to be yourself with another person. Feel confident and like yourself enough to really have fun and not worry what the other person is thinking.
  4. Learn ways to get to know another person and have fun with them. Be sensitive to other’s feelings. Learn how to listen to others.
  5. Set boundaries and feel comfortable to explore new territory. Be able to say, “No”.


It is critical for teens to understand the rights of an individual in any relationship:

  • The right to say, “No”
  • The right to disagree
  • The right to your own opinion
  • The right to reciprocity / equality in the relationship

Other Teen Dating Tips:

  • Go somewhere casual and fun on first dates
  • Whomever asks, pays
  • Eat!
  • Respect personal space
  • Do something active – play a game or a sport
  • Pace your dating and see each other only once a week for a date, as time progresses you can see each other more frequently
  • Beware of texting! Especially when you first start dating. I cannot emphasize this enough – texting is useful for many many things, but having a conversation is not one of them.
  • Betsey O'Brien7 years ago

    Kappy! Love this blog. How wonderful that you are promoting dating as a skill and an experience to be encouraged. It is the practice round that can help us discern whether the person we’re seeing is worth getting closer to. David Richo called this part of a relationship “investigation.” It makes room for wise discernment.