My 16 year old Son Has A Girlfriend – Don’t Panic

Tara Cunningham Teen Issues

As mom it's hard for me to think of a lady in my son's life that is more important than me. But that is just the narcissist in me and I need to get past that. It is also a positive move in his life as he progresses towards being a man. Here's how we moved through this phase.

16 year old has a girlfriend. There are a few issues that come to mind when discussing teenage relationships. It's important to keep everything on a mature and open level. Here's how we kept on track.

1. Keep talking
2. Have an open Sex Ed chat
3. Ground rules in the home
4. Balance of romance and Study
5. Love Hurts

It was important for me to know about my son's new girlfriend. This was definitely a new phenomenon but something I had to be open to. Obviously the day was going to arrive when I wasn't the only lady in my son's life. Reacting in the correct way was key. Here's what we discussed.

Keep Talking

Parenting a teen is not an easy task. I sometimes think you need a college degree in Teens to get you through. There's a lot of walking on eggshells to avoid the tantrums, door slamming or the hours of silence.

But I always have to remind myself that I am the adult at all times and keep the lines of communication open. This is definitely more challenging with a boy.

I have a girl and a boy. My girl, yes, went through the blank stare stage but nothing compared to my son. Sometimes he answers a question, sometimes not, sometimes the mumble is so indecipherable he may as well have not answered.

But we can't just throw in the towel. We have to keep trying and this is never more important than when a romance starts to blossom.

I found if we spent most of the time quarrelling then he would end up telling me nothing. It also was important for me to realise that asking too many questions also produces a clam shell! I needed to keep the conversation light.

I tried to keep up with any sport scores I knew he was watching. I could then confidently talk about scores and games that sometimes (but not always!) would lead to further conversation. This was the case with my son when I realised that there was a young lady on the scene.

We live quite a bit out of town and so if either of my children need to go anywhere they need a ride.

This meant that my son (possibly reluctantly, but hopefully not!) had to spill the beans on his new relationship quite early on.

It was all announced very casually.
"Can I go to town this weekend?"
I, none the wiser, "Yes, of course, who are you meeting up with?"

Well, when he said a girl, I was a bit flabbergasted. I hadn't seen this on the cards. However, I was internally very pleased.

You want your teens and children to hit all the markers and milestones, and at 16, I thought, yes, he's ready for his first relationship.

Without seeming too eager I tried to get as much information as possible, which is quite the task with a teenage boy. It was all very vague and all seemed innocent enough. But that in turn led me to my next topic.

Have an Open Sex Ed talk

At 16, my son had obviously had al the Sex Ed talks in school and the general talks at home but when a girl appears on the scene, well things turn up a gear.

We can't be naive to think they are just chatting and holding hands, even though that might be just what they are doing.

Teen pregnancy is very much a reality.

Just because we have a son doesn't mean he would hold no responsibility if that were to happen. At 16 my boy is just starting his adult life and I certainly didn't want his route altered by a baby.

We also need to be mindful of the risk of STI's. They are very much on the increase and unfortunately many have little or no symptoms.

I was by no means encouraging any form of sexual interaction but we have to be open about what could or might happen and they need to be prepared.

The only protection against STI's is a condom. Depending on where you are in the world, depends on your country's age of consent.

Most countries are between 16-18. So if you have a son or daughter in a relationship then they need to be prepared.

Have an Open Sex Ed talk

At 16, my son had obviously had al the Sex Ed talks in school and the general talks at home but when a girl appears on the scene, well things turn up a gear.

We can't be naive to think they are just chatting and holding hands, even though that might be just what they are doing.

Teen pregnancy is very much a reality.

Just because we have a son doesn't mean he would hold no responsibility if that were to happen. At 16 my boy is just starting his adult life and I certainly didn't want his route altered by a baby.

We also need to be mindful of the risk of STI's. They are very much on the increase and unfortunately many have little or no symptoms.

I was by no means encouraging any form of sexual interaction but we have to be open about what could or might happen and they need to be prepared.

The only protection against STI's is a condom. Depending on where you are in the world, depends on your country's age of consent.

Most countries are between 16-18. So if you have a son or daughter in a relationship then they need to be prepared.

Ground Rules in the Home

Initially they were meeting in town for coffee or a shake but then came the "Can I bring her home?" My answer was of course Yes, but there definitely were some ground rules that needed to be put in place.

My son has an older sister, so he knew this was coming. Even if I was a little easier on him, there's no way I would get away with it, as my daughter would insist that the same rules were applied to her brother as she had to endure!

And so the rules were as follows:
No upstairs
No in his bedroom (I know that his bedroom is upstairs, but sometimes it needs to be spelled out!)
No home alone. (This also wasn't really an issue as both my husband and I work from home and generally there's always someone in the house)

But I wanted him to understand that it wasn't just about our house rules. I needed him to have respect for himself and for her.

That being in a relationship is not just about the physical. The time for that has to be right, and not just because everyone else is at it. I know that doesn't stop a lot of teens but I wanted my son to make decisions that would have a positive outcome.

He was understandable with our house rules. I even felt that it took some of the pressure from him. He could blame me about not being allowed in his room with her and so could defer the rush of having to take things further.

It allowed him to go at his own pace until he decided it was time. I hoped that this would also be the case when he visited her house. That her parents were also in the same mindset as us.

It turned out that they were. However, this may not have been the case, and I needed him to be strong enough to carry our values with him.

Balance of Romance and Study

Young love can be all consuming. Talking for hours on the phone. Spending all weekend in each others company. But it can't take over and be the only thing.

My son is quite focussed. He's very involved in archery, in fact on the National Squad. His new love would have to be ok with this, and for the most part be second best to it. Most weekends are either competitions or training camps.

He also has great ambitions to study architecture at University and that doesn't happen by accident. He will have to work really hard to achieve this goal.

It's difficult to balance sport, study and have a relationship. I haven't in any way discouraged the romance as I understand he needs time to socialise aswell but he does have to realise his priorities.

It's all very well having a relationship but we don't need anything too serious at such a young age. And currently, it all seems to be quite relaxed.

Love Hurts

No matter what age your teen is, if a romance starts to go south it's tough on everyone. But when it's your first love, it's particularly hard.

You never want to see your child hurt but unfortunately these are all the stages that teens have to go through and all part of growing up.

It's important that they understand that first love will ultimately come to an end. It can be either party that is first to realise that its coming to an end.

As a mom I find that I can usually tell when a romance is coming to a conclusion. But I have to let it run its course.

You have to be there to support them. If they are being dumped, it's very tough. They think that life will never be the same again.

They miss the night time and the early morning texts and feel there is a great void in their lives. It is important to keep them talking and keep them busy. Even if all they want to do is mope in their room. Each day that goes by it will get easier.

On the other hand my son could be the one doing the dumping but I didn't want him moving from one girl to another. He needs to have respect for himself and any girl that he is in a relationship with.

He needs to learn how to handle being on both sides of a situation. I have always told both my teens that they need to be kind to everyone. They need to treat people as they would want to be treated.

Always make the best possible choice and have respect for everyone, including themselves.

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Mum, Graphic designer, Website owner, Writer at Tweentotwenty | Website

Tara Cunningham is a Mum and Graphic Designer. My children's education has always been very important to me. I feel that if you are willing to put in the time they will appreciate the effort.
I hope that you find our thoughts and ideas useful and interesting.