10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Starts Dating

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Starts Dating

Written by: Ali Flynn

It seems like just yesterday my four daughters were donning pigtails, playing in the sandbox, and giggling on the swings at the playground.

Well, as the sun rises and sets each day, time has moved on and my “mom heart” now has to accept the fact that the giggling, chubby-faced little girls who once stood in front of me are growing up and on the brink of entering the world of dating.

It leaves me wondering… where did the time go?

The thought of my girls starting to date is exciting, yet, (if I’m being completely honest here), it also makes me fiercely uneasy, at times. Looking back on my own dating years, sure they were filled with heart-pounding excitement and anticipation, but they were also filled with plenty of nervousness and anxiety as I stumbled my way through trying to navigate a whole new world of relationships. 

And, I’m under no illusion – the dating world has changed significantly since I was 16 and a young, nervous boy picked me up at my front door. The hook-up culture, social media, dating apps, texting, location monitoring, pounding peer pressure, and the prevalence of sexting have put a whole new spin on dating that I fear my daughters may not be ready for. 

Still, I have to embrace this new stage my girls are entering and share with them the good, the bad, and the sometimes, ugly parts of dating not only to prepare them, but hopefully spare them from at least some of the pitfalls that surround today’s dating world.

For now, all I can offer my girls is a heaping spoonful of my honest “mom wisdom.” From my heart to theirs, here are 10 things I want my daughter to know before she starts dating… 10 things I think every girl should know. 

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Starts Dating

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please feel free to visit our Privacy/Disclosure Page


#1 What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like

Whether you’re casually dating or your relationship turns more serious, you need to strive for a relationship built on respect, honesty and trust – the building blocks of any healthy relationship. Sure, you both have a lot of learning to do and you’ll likely make more than a few mistakes along the way, but if you (both) set high standards from the beginning and look for (and expect) these key components in your relationship, you’ll save yourself a lot of potential heartache down the road. 

#2 Be Your Own Person… Don’t Change 

Dating and relationships involve a lot of give and take. But when you’re the one who’s always giving, allowing your date or boyfriend/girlfriend to decide where to eat, what to do or even who the two of you should hang out with, there’s reason for concern. Be willing to compromise, but don’t give up who you are in the process. Young love is a powerful thing and it’s easy to lose yourself in the flood of all those emotions. The key is to continue loving yourself.

On the flip side, don’t ever expect someone you care about to change for you. Just as they need to give you the freedom to be you, you need to give them the freedom to be who they are. 

#3 Take it Slow

So often, when teenagers find themselves basking in the warmth of a new relationship (and love is in the air), they want to spend every waking moment with that person. As hard as it might be, resist the urge to dive in with both feet. The best relationships grow slowly over time. Don’t rush things… you have years ahead of you to have fun, date and try on different relationships for size. 

#4 Don’t Give Up Your Friends

For years your friends have been the center of your world. They’ve stood beside you through thick and thin, they were the ones you called when you had a crummy day and the ones who lifted you up and made you laugh when you needed it most. Whatever you do, don’t give up on that.

It’s okay to date, get serious with someone and even fall in love, but don’t lose sight of the balance you need in your life. Your friends need you and you need them. Any guy/girl you’re dating who has your very best interest at heart will understand and support that. 

#5 Don’t Cave Into Pressure

Whether it’s moving too quickly in a relationship before you’re ready or feeling pressured to have sex – it’s easy to get sucked into doing something you’re not comfortable with when you’re being pressured by someone you like, someone you’re trying to impress or someone you care about deeply. But this is where the rubber meets the road… this is where you need to stand on your own two feet, maintain your morals and refrain from allowing anyone talk you into anything you’re not interested in, ready or willing to do. My dear daughter, always remember these three things: 

  • Your body, your rules
  • No one should ever touch you without your explicit consent 
  • “No” always means “no”

Also, this goes both ways. Never ever pressure anyone you’re dating into doing something they’re not ready or willing to do. Consent is a two-way street. 

#6 A Word About Sex

You’re growing up and I know there is going to come a time when you ponder the idea of having sex with someone you care about deeply or love. I hope my words of wisdom have sunk into your heart and you realize the magnitude of this important step in your life. Don’t allow yourself to “get caught up in the moment,” and don’t rush into it. Making the decision to give your whole self to someone requires a level of maturity and a conscious decision on your part and your partner’s part.

If and when that time comes, I hope you’ll feel comfortable coming to me so we can talk about it openly, honestly, and calmly. Yes, sex is wonderful… under the right circumstances, with the right person, in the right place, at the right time, at the right age.  

#7 Relationships Take Work

Brace yourself… relationships take a lot of work – especially when you’re a teenager who doesn’t have a ton of experience dating or building a strong, intimate bond with someone. Thankfully, that all comes with time, experience and, (truthfully), plenty of mistakes along the way. You’ll find you’re compromising far more than you ever did, thinking about someone else’s feelings, wants and likes far more than you ever did and even though you’ll likely be happier than you’ve ever been, don’t be surprised if you shed a few more tears than you ever have. 

Throughout it all, remember that your relationship needs to be respected and nourished and privacy is power. Don’t document your every move, where you go on dates or arguments you’ve had on social media – nothing ever really vanishes on the Internet. 

#8 Know the Signs of an Abusive Relationship

It’s not something I want to talk about with you, but it needs to be said. Abuse, even at your young age does happen. It’s important for you to know that abuse isn’t cut and dry. It doesn’t just involve physical abuse. It can include emotional, sexual and even digital abuse. Everything from isolating you from your family, friends and other people in your life and going through your phone to demanding to know what you’re doing 24/7 and trying to control what you wear or how you style your hair – these are all signs of abuse that can be masked as “I’m doing this because I care so much about you.” 

Keep your heart open to love, but also keep your eyes open for possible abuse. And, if it does happen, know that you can always walk away – never allow yourself to be controlled by another human being, no matter how much you care about them.

For the complete list of warning signs of abuse visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/resources/types-of-abuse/

#9 Have Fun – Relationships at This Age Should Be Easy

This is such an amazing time in your life! This is your time to laugh and run wild (within reason, of course) – certainly not a time for heavy stress, major relationship issues or constant arguments. Enjoy this time to figure out what’s important to you in a relationship, what your likes and dislikes are, and what makes you smile and laugh. If life gets heavy and you find the relationship is stressing you out and weighing you down, it might be a sign to move on. 

#10 No Matter What, I’ll Always Be Here to Support You

I know you may not want to tell me everything. I know there might be some things you don’t feel comfortable talking to me about. But I want you to know that I’m here for you… morning or night, rain or shine, seven days a week. I’m here to ask questions, vent or share the silly and serious moments of dating. Navigating dating and all of the ins and outs can be confusing and tricky – just know that no matter what you’re dealing with, no matter what you’re facing, you can always come to me. I’ll always be here to listen and support you. 

As a mom, there are so many things I want my daughter to know before she starts dating. But I realize she may not always take my advice or my lead. Sometimes, I need help determining what to say to my daughter and sometimes, she may want to figure things out for herself. Here are a few books that might help your daughter and you navigate the world of dating. 


About Ali Flynn:

Ali Flynn is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter, and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home, and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real. You can also find her on Facebook or Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Starts Dating,” here are a few other posts you might enjoy reading!

The Teen Hookup Culture: What Parents Should Know

Teens and Sexual Consent: 8 Steadfast Rules They Need to Know

Teen Dating Violence: What Every Parent Should Know

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment