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Meeting your teenagers date for the first time

It is inevitable that there will come a time when your teenager starts dating, it is part of growing up, but it can be an anxious time for a parent. On the one hand it is good to know that your teenager is popular, and you want them to find love as they grow up. On the other hand, you know that they will probably get hurt at some point in the process and your natural instinct is to protect them. The first time your teenager brings their date home is a significant point in the parent child relationship.

You may have noticed them talking about one person at school more often than others and suspected that this may be a potential date, but nothing is official until you get to meet them. It is when they bring their date home to meet you, or the date collects them from the house that you know your teenager is acknowledging this person could be important and they want you involved.

Spare a thought for the date in this, for any teenager, meeting the parents of your potential partner is a nerve wracking experience. It has also become something of a ritual and the importance has grown in significance in a world where casual is the norm; the formality of meeting the parents has a slightly old fashioned air about it. Many teenagers see it as an endurance test, something to be got over, and then they can go back to the enjoyment of the date. As a parent you will see both sides of it and can make it less uncomfortable for all parties.

Your son tells you he has to meet his girlfriend's parents and is dreading it, this may be the first time he has actually asked you for help for ages, so do not let him down. Do not overload him with information as to how to behave and reassure him that they will like him. If he comes back from the meeting and it was a disaster, do not take it out on his girlfriend, she probably feels terrible too, and maybe she has difficult parents and could do with some support from you.

On the other hand, when it comes time to meet your daughter's boyfriend for the first time, do your best to treat him as a normal person and avoid interrogating him too much, you will have time to get to know him if you are relaxed on this first occasion. If you do not like your teenagers date, say nothing at first, be neutral, and allow time to see if they improve! Remember, your teenager is no longer a child, and maintaining a good relationship with them as they make the transition to adulthood is more important than liking their choice of date.

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