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How can I help my preteen navigate romantic relationships and dating?

Hi everyone,

I'm a parent of a preteen and I am looking for advice on how to guide my child through the complexities of romantic relationships and dating. My child has recently started expressing interest in having a boyfriend/girlfriend, which has brought up a lot of concerns for me. I don't know how to approach this topic with my child in a way that is informative and supportive, but also protective of their emotional well-being.

As a parent, I want to help my preteen understand what healthy relationships look like and how to navigate the highs and lows of dating. I also want to make sure my child is equipped with the tools to identify unhealthy relationships and how to deal with them.

Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

All Replies


Hi there,

I completely understand where you're coming from. As a parent, it can be tough to figure out how exactly to approach this topic. I think one of the most important things is to establish open communication with your child regarding dating and relationships. Make sure they feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns.

In addition, I would suggest teaching your child about consent and healthy boundaries. This is an important aspect of any relationship and can help prevent any potential negative experiences. You can also discuss the importance of respecting oneself and others, as well as recognizing red flags in relationships.

Finally, I highly recommend monitoring their online activity and social media usage. Unfortunately, the internet can be a breeding ground for toxic behavior and it's important to keep an eye out for any warning signs.

I hope this helps and best of luck to you and your preteen!


Hi everyone,

As a young adult who once went through the same phase, I have a few things that I think contributed to my understanding of relationships and dating. Firstly, I think it's important to frame the conversation in a way that helps prepare your child for the realities of dating. This can mean discussing what common issues and challenges people face in relationships and how to work through them.

Another thing is to encourage your child to trust their instincts and to have confidence in their decisions. As parents, it's natural to want to protect our children from heartbreak, but we also want them to learn from their experiences.

Lastly, I would suggest encouraging your preteen to have a diverse group of friends with a range of interests and backgrounds. This can help broaden their perspective on what healthy relationships look like and can make them more comfortable with people who are different from them.

I hope this helps in some way, and good luck to all parents and preteens out there!



As someone who's been through this, establishing a good parent-child relationship is key. This means being approachable so your child finds it easy to talk to you without any reservations. Create opportunities for conversations and discussions about these topics, find teachable moments in everyday situations.

Another thing you could do is model healthy relationships with your partner, if applicable, or even friendship dynamics with close people in your life. These observant pieces can significantly contribute to molding a child's perspective on relationships.

Lastly, encourage your preteen to take their time, to not rush into relationships just because they see others around them in them. It's vital to stress the importance of focus and independence at their age rather than jumping into something they may not be ready for.

These are just some tips that worked for my family. I hope they help!



As a high school teacher, I've seen many students navigating the world of dating and relationships. One thing that I think is important to consider is how your preteen's peers might influence their beliefs and behaviors. It's good to offer guidance, but remember that they may feel pressure to conform to the expectations of their peers.

Having open communication with both your child and their friends can help you get a better understanding of what preteens are going through in their relationships. You might learn about issues that you wouldn't have known about otherwise that your child is facing.

Another important concept to keep in mind is teaching your child how to set boundaries, communicate their needs, and be assertive when necessary. These communication skills can prove invaluable in areas beyond just romantic relationships - setting boundaries and verbalizing their needs is useful in both personal and professional contexts.

Overall, my advice would be to stay involved, pay attention to what's going on in your child's life, and offer guidance when needed. They need to know that you are there for them, ready to listen and support them whenever they need you.

Best of luck to you and your preteen!



As a parent of two preteens, I understand your concerns. I think one of the most important things to do first is to have an open and honest conversation with your child about relationships. Express your concerns, but also listen to what they have to say and offer guidance accordingly. It's important for them to understand the values and expectations you have as a parent.

Another thing I found helpful was to set clear guidelines and boundaries when it comes to dating. This can include curfews, rules around physical contact, and limitations on where they can go. By setting these boundaries, you are helping your child make good choices and feel safe.

Lastly, I would recommend staying up to date on what your child is doing online. Social media can be a tricky space where boundaries can be easily crossed, so it's important to monitor their online activity and set limits if necessary.

I hope this helps and good luck navigating this tricky topic with your preteen!


Hi there,

As someone who could have used some guidance navigating preteen relationships, I think it's worth mentioning the impact of healthy communication. It can be easy to underestimate the importance of talking openly about one's thoughts and feelings, but it's a crucial aspect of any relationship, even platonic ones.

Encourage your child to talk to their friends or even a trusted adult, like a school counselor, if they're experiencing relationship difficulties. Starting these dialogues early in life can help them build these essential skills.

Another thing is to offer positive reinforcement for behaviors that align with what you've discussed with them previously. Celebrate their individuality and their ability to be true to themselves in a relationship, rather than focusing solely on whether or not they are "successful".

Lastly, know that there is no one formula for raising a child who's equipped to handle romantic relationships. As with many aspects of parenting, a lot of it comes down to trusting your intuition, being present and actively involved in your child’s life, and having patience.

All the best to you and your preteen!


Hi there,

As someone who has been through the preteen dating phase, there's one thing that stands out to me, and that's being willing to let your child make their own mistakes when it comes to relationships. It can be tempting to try and control everything, but ultimately they will be the ones making the decisions.

As a parent, it's important to equip your child with the necessary information and skills to make healthy decisions, but ultimately they will learn by making their own choices.

Another key concept that I think is important to convey is that relationships should be built on mutual respect and communication. Encouraging your child to be open with their partner and to communicate their feelings is vital for the success of any relationship.

Lastly, it's important to remember that mistakes will be made, but that doesn't mean you should be harsh on your child. Instead, focus on the lessons that can be learned from the experience and celebrate successes.

I hope this helps, and good luck to you and your preteen!

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