x
Breaking News
More () »

Toledo news, weather, traffic and sports | Toledo, Ohio, | wtol.com

Tackling 'The Talk' with your teen: How to discuss healthy relationships, dating and consent

The dialogue on dating is a popular comedy plot on TV. But it doesn't have to be that way in reality. Here's how handle the important talk when your teen is ready.

With spring upon us, love is in the air. 

It's the time when hormones begin raging, romantic feelings develop and your son or daughter starts considering a significant other.

So now may be the time for parents to talk to teens about dating.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Aimee Drescher says it's hard to anticipate when kids are going to be ready, but it's also important to talk to teenagers about not only dating in general to promote healthy relationships, but about dating violence.

"It's important to remember that teens mature at different rates," said Drescher, "so it's important to talk to them before you get to the point where they want to start dating."

The best time to begin is when they start to bring it up, or when you start to notice that their friends are dating.

Of course, acknowledging that some of these conversations will be extremely difficult and uncomfortable for your kids is a key part. But you'll want to talk realistically about sex and explain the differences between lust, infatuation and love.

"Sitting down and lecturing them isn't always the best way. I think empowering them by asking questions is a really powerful way to talk about boundaries and what they're comfortable with," said Drescher.

As a parent you'll need to set expectations and boundaries, and then have an honest conversation about consent.

"I do think that's really powerful, where parents share their experience and talk about how things have changed and help kids understand why there are those concerns and them empower them to make positive and good decisions."

Drescher also suggests that as you talk about dating, you'll also want to keep their close friends in mind too, since their friends may not in the same place emotionally or maturely, or their families may view things differently since dating, culture and religion really factor in to that.

She also says group dates are a great way to get started and if you have a good relationship with the parents of your kid's friends, it's a good idea to let them know you've begun discussing dating and get on the same page with them, if possible.