Since my three recent posts, Dating Amongst Tweens, Dads Against Daughters Dating and At Some Point They Will Date, I've been thinking of the moms who do not have a husband at all to handle dating scenarios as they come up, and also those ladies who have a husband who is very hands off and unwilling in these matters.
I don't want to leave you out or leave you feeling discouraged that for whatever reason, your teens don't have a dad to enforce what you wish. Doing that alone is hard work. The answer to that dilemma is not easy. To be both roles yourself, or to find a father figure that your teen will listen to.
Through conversations I had with dads for those blog posts, some tips came up that might be valuable. I'd like to offer these out to everyone, but especially to moms in this situation. These tips can be used very well by dad or mom. In fact, in our house I enforce a lot of these myself, and just leave the big stuff to my husband. These are some steps that are helpful that will probably occur before dating even starts, so having some standards in place early on is helpful.
Here are some thoughts:
Our 16 year old daughter always has to ask us if a boy wants to be her "friend" on Facebook and we have to approve. She can not ask a boy to be Facebook friends first. She is not allowed to chat boys on Facebook either, unless she's related to them, or we know them very well. :)
We told our kids that they can't just give out their phone numbers willy nilly.
I've told my girls the benefit of giving out a google phone number instead of their cell phone number. With a google number, you can block people that you wish you hadn't given your number to or ever have a problem with. But the calls will forward to your real cell phone number.
In middle school, my daughter is not allowed to give her number to boys, therefore she can't text them either. She can ask me about certain guys and if I approve it, I get their number also, so I have a list of boys numbers that are approved and who they are.
We do random phone and contact checks to see who they are talking to. I know sometimes kids "hide" people in their phone by listing them under someone else's name. My kids have to be ready to answer for everyone in their phone.
I don't let my kids "friend" anyone more than a couple of years older than them of the opposite sex unless it's a good family friend we know well. There's nothing to gain by them "getting to know" a guy or girl that much older.
We don't allow friending adults without asking us first. Has to be approved first. Teachers or coaches don't get cell phone numbers either. (We personally had this understanding too-my daughter was told if an adult asked for a cell number, to just give them mine.)
I reserve the right to have my kids "defriend" or "unfollow" people if I don't like what I see. If they want to stay on social media, that's part of it.
Much of teens communication comes through these channels before dating ever starts, so having boundaries here in cell phones and social media is a good precursor to handling dating issues later.