When it comes to preparing our children to go out with friends or dating, it all starts with a plan. If you’re reading this and your child is small, the temptation is to think that this article doesn’t apply to you, yet. Think again. This is the time to think and plan for the future. Otherwise this time of training will sneak up on you and you will be unprepared.
Sit down with your spouse, or if you are a single parent, a trusted friend who shares your convictions. Begin by setting age limits for various social activities. Decide what age you will allow your child to: go out with friends alone, date, go out with a friend driving, go on a date with a date driving, ect. These may seem simple, but if you wait to think through these parameters, your child will be asking permission before your prepared to give the answers. As those time periods approach sit down again and decide what your family social interaction rules are. Set up a list of rules and the consequences if those rules are broken. This way you can sit with your child and be able to talk to them about your expectations and consequences if they break the rules in these areas. This will begin to help set up an open communication about the potentially difficult and frustrating parenting decisions about your child’s social interactions away from home.