Dating, for children and the parents, can be a time that is filled with confusion. It can be an exciting, but frightening, experience. There are many emotional dangers that could occur on this journey, as well as physical hazards. Helping the young person in your life become prepared and responsible in the dating realm is a way to make dating a safer practice. The end goal is to make sure that the young person is safe, but that they are also enjoying the process as well. 

First, you have to have ‘the talk’. If you aren’t sure what “the talk” is, or how to approach it, there are many books that can be bought online or at a bookstore, or borrowed at the library, which explain sound advice to young people in regards to their sexual health. The young person, during this ‘talk’ should be exposed to good advice in regards to that is to be expected no a date. If there is an important, respectable father figure or parent in the life of the child, try to ‘role play’ a respectable date scenario. The parent should show appropriate behaviors that should be displayed by the dating partner and this can set the stage for what should be expected on a respectable date. 

Help the young person decide on what clothing to wear. Make sure that they have a say in what they would like to wear, but also talk about how clothing varies depending on what activities are going on. Make sure that he young person wears that something that is comfortable and presentable, and preferably something that isn’t distracting.
Make sure that the young person understands that you are to know exactly where they are going, and what he or she plans to do on their date. If you and the young person in your life have talked about it, discuss having GPS or parent apps that tracks where the child is at all times. Talk with your child in regards to this being a safety issue. Explain to your child that they are going to have to make important decisions on the date, such as deciding what to eat and how to react to social situations. Have a plan of action ready if the date becomes uncomfortable and practice that plan, much like a fire escape plan at a school or workplace. 
Meet the date in advance, and do some research. While it’s not advisable to pry on the young person or who they are with, it’s important to make sure that the person is safe and that a dangerous record or abuse, violence or harm follow that individual. 

Explain to the young person on what protocol should be followed when it comes to sexual health. Explain the potential consequences of irresponsible behavior health. There are many emotional, physical and legal consequences that could occur if the date gets out of control. As part of the aforementioned plan of ‘exit’ or emergency, talk to the young person about emergency situations such as how to use condoms or how to obtain the ‘morning after’ medication. Again, this is for extreme emergencies only.

Author Bio: Paige Jirsa– I work with, which provides users same day STD testing in a discrete and proficient manner.