Dating guidelines for teenagers

Let them know that if they’re romantic with somebody, you want to meet that person, and you want them to be honest about the nature of their relationship. Does your gut tell you that they might try to do something dishonest?

Discuss your rules: no overnights with a romantic partner, no being in the room with the door closed, etc. If they don’t have your trust, how can they regain it?

This is the same talk I hope any parent would have with their kid about sex, gay or straight.

Sometimes when the talk comes to safer sex, parents aren’t quite sure what to advise for gay, lesbian, or bisexual teens.

The feelings, desires, and heartbreak they may encounter are exactly the same that a heterosexual teen would encounter.

Talk with your teen about your values and hopes for them when it comes to romantic relationships.

A big question that often comes up for parents is friendships versus relationships.

While your average 15-year-old boy is unlikely to ask if a girl can sleep over (although some do), a gay teen may have many friends of the same sex whom he sees without supervision, talks to behind closed doors, or asks to spend the night in his bedroom.

(You may be fine with them spending the night, or unsupervised time, with a romantic partner; if so, there is less negotiating to do.) Tell them you will trust them to comply with these ground rules, and to tell you which peers they apply to. It’s very important that all of this is communicated to them openly.

Talk about consequences if they do choose to break the rules. Make sure that your reservations come from your teen, and not from discomfort around their sexual orientation.

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