Researchers have known for a while that closeness to parents is linked to less risky sexual behavior by teenagers.Now, they're turning their microscopes on the dating rules parents set, with some surprising results: The limits you place on your teenager's dating may say more about your own love life than your teen's needs.Also, parents' satisfaction with their own life roles shapes the kind of rules they set.
While the reason isn't clear, the author suggests these parents may hold more conservative beliefs in general; many of the rules involved sexuality.
Ironically, in what other researchers have called the "Romeo and Juliet" effect, such rules may tend to drive teenage lovers closer; teens of these parents reported closer, more positive relationships.
Parents who are unhappy, dissatisfied or insecure in love, however, go beyond limits and try to dictate or control how their teens treat their dates, the study found.
These parents try to influence their kids to value certain things and act in specific ways.
Madsen says, is to emphasize constant, warm oversight over just setting rules.
She calls this setting "supervisory" rules, or keeping up a free flow of communication without intruding too much.
This means asking teens to disclose plans, check in by phone and inform parents when plans change.
Parents would tell teens to open doors for dates, "act like a gentleman" (or a lady), or resist letting a date "walk all over" them.
The goal may be to launch their teens on a romantic path happier than their own, Dr. But kids often regard this advice as intrusive, and again, it tended to have the opposite effect.