Standing awkwardly next to one another at a school dance and maybe holding hands?
Possibly a slow dance, one hand on shoulder, other hand on hip, plenty of daylight in between bodies? Don’t misunderstand us: we’re not so naïve as to think all middle schoolers are lily-white innocents, and you shouldn’t be, either.
Back to the cute note: parents generally don’t get freaked out at that point, because we know it’s got no teeth – at least we hope so.
By that we mean that most kids at that age don’t even know what they mean by the question actually entails.
When you’re talking to your teenager about creating boundaries – and this goes for friendships, too – it helps to think of them in three categories: Healthy boundaries are based on respect. This may cause some static at home – you can imagine the tantrums, but you can handle that.
Your teen may need help defining their emotional, physical, and digital needs at first, but once they understand the concept of healthy boundaries, they’ll catch on quickly. , for instance, is a good default place to start with regards to physical boundaries. Boys and girls alike need to know that when they make a decision about a particular boundary, be it emotional, physical, or digital, then communicate that decision to a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend, that’s it: that’s their rule and it should be followed. One child may be ready at fifteen, another might not: all fun details for you to work out over family dinner.
When our kids reach this stage, we smile and reminisce. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us parents admit we still have work to do in our relationships with our spouses, partners, or romantic interests.
Whether we’re divorced and dating casually, in a decades-long marriage, or in a serious committed relationship, virtually everyone has more to learn about how to keep relationships happy, fulfilling, loving, and above all else, healthy.
Your teenager should be aware it’s inappropriate for their romantic interest to pressure them into anything.
From having sex to saying “I love you,” tell your teen those things need to happen on their schedule and in the manner in which they’re comfortable. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will admit we usually learn the importance of setting firm boundaries in relationships after it’s too late.