And we can celebrate, knowing our boundaries and commitment played a part in their lifelong dream of independence. One day our teens will receive their reward by becoming the responsible adults that God has made them to be. Knowing this limitation eliminates verbal boxing matches. Unlike the singing talent show, we don't eliminate our sons or daughters. We remember their dreams, cheering their wins and comforting their losses.

Notice what "dating" seems to mean to your child and then talk about it.

Michelle Anthony, Ph D, a developmental psychologist and learning therapist in Denver, suggests an opening line like: β€œIt sounds like a lot of kids are talking about dating now. ” If you can't tell what dating means to your kid, try discussing dating as shown on TV shows or in movies that are age-appropriate.

For instance, Atkins suggests asking your child why they think someone acted the way they did, and whether they made a good or healthy choice. It's your job, as their parent, to figure out if your child is ready to handle the level of dating they have in mind.

Pay attention to how they respond when you start a conversation about dating.

"Parents can be so uncomfortable with the idea of their kid becoming more grown up -- we wish our kids could stay kids," Atkins says.

"The problem with that attitude is that your kid still is a kid. Be prepared to answer teens when your boundary is nonnegotiable. She answered, "Choose one, not both." If your values aren't compromised β€” compromise. Another mom's son asked for long hair and a piercing. Shows like promote lies, betrayal and pain β€” not the life-long commitment of marriage. The goal of is to reach the destination and stay in the running. One mom keeps a "no rated R movie" standard even if the rated R movie is borrowed from dad's. Show your teens you value faith through your lifestyle. I tell my son Justin to pray during his algebra tests. With separated or divorced parents, know your boundaries and keep them, even when they differ from your ex's. John Townsend wrote in his book, , "Good parenting means letting your teen move away from you spiritually while at the same time keeping her pointed toward a connection with her Heavenly Father." My friend allowed her teen the freedom to volunteer as a cameraman for the church service instead of attending youth group, which he didn't enjoy.is an owner's manual for anyone who once had cute little girls and now has teenage daughters and is trying to figure out what happened.