Start Ask about dating

Ask about dating

She writes for "LIVESTRONG Quarterly" magazine and contributes to various military publications. It’s your companion's choice whether to discuss these relationships—he’s not required to explain his past. You should be motivated to gain insight into your partner's character—to learn what drives him, what gives him joy or what pains him.

Then tell him your non-negotiables, including respect (no name calling when they argue) and maintaining relationships with his other friends and his family.

So be involved to the extent that both you and his father are beyond clear that you expect him to be respectful (in person, online, or while texting) toward anyone he dates. Most important is for him to see how his parents interact. Now you may be thinking, "No way I'm telling them what to allow under their roof." But you have to communicate your rules to other parents so you can present a united front. This doesn't seem like a great idea to me, but I don't want to forbid it. Your job is to make your son aware that his girlfriend may have trouble communicating her personal boundaries.

If you aren't showing him how people should respect each other in intimate relationships, it's hard to ask the same of him. My 16-year-old daughter spends a lot of time at her boyfriend's house. If they disagree with you, have a mature face-to-face conversation about it—before your kids have been caught doing something they shouldn't. Teach him to ask her questions and to listen to her responses, both verbal and nonverbal (because a girl may say something is "okay," while her tone indicates the opposite).

De-romanticize this situation quickly by sitting both kids down and explaining several things: While you recognize their affection for each other, you vehemently believe they shouldn't be having sex. If people want to get together, they'll figure out a way.