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June 2015 Newsletter

Talking With Your Teen About Dating And Relationships

by Randall Rubida, MFT

The day has finally come -- your child has grown into a teenager. The days of wanting a new toy have been replaced by the desire to socialize with friends, go to the mall, stay up late talking, and develop romantic feelings for others.

Communication is key during this stage of a teenager’s development, as navigating the waters of teenage life can be especially difficult when it comes to dating and relationships. These relationships are extremely special to teenagers, as this other person is joining them in experiencing all the wonderful, horrible, and embarrassing moments that provide the foundation for who they will become.

A common mistake parents make is to belittle the relationship, by referring to it as “puppy love,” or questioning their teen’s ability to know what true love is. Yet, parents accept hearing “I love you Mom and Dad” from their teen with open arms and no judgment.

Teenage dating can present a scary situation for parents, and being in denial that our precious child is blossoming into an independent teenager is a typical defense to fall back on. However, having open communication with your teen will allow him or her to go off and explore, knowing that he / she has your support and will not crash and burn.

Below are some tips for having a successful discussion with your teen about dating and being in a relationship.
  1. Define what a healthy relationship is. Explain to your teen that healthy relationships involve trust, honesty, respect and communication. Explore what healthy boundaries are with your teen, and emphasize that a healthy relationship allows both partners to maintain outside interests and friendships.

  2. Explain the difference between lust and love. Discuss with your teen the difference between the physiological feelings of lust (butterflies, goose bumps, not being able to eat or sleep), and the emotional feelings of love. Love takes time to grow and mature, whereas lust is more instantaneous.

  3. Talk openly about sex. While it may be enticing to skip this part, it is in your best interest to have this discussion with your teen instead of having him or her hear it somewhere else. Ask for your teen’s point of view about sex, openly discuss the pros and cons, and answer questions your teen may have honestly.

  4. Offer your support. Let your teen know you are there to support him or her in the dating process. Offer to pick up or drop him or her off, communicate that you are there to listen when needed, or help with acquiring birth control if that is part of your parenting / belief system. The goal is to let your teen know you are available.

  5. Discuss different types of abuse. There are many forms of relational abuse including verbal, physical, sexual, digital abuse and stalking. It is important for your teen to be aware of these, and to identify the warning signs for each form of abuse. For more information on this issue consider visiting a website such as or

  6. Know when to ask for help. If you feel you are struggling with talking to your teen about dating and relationships, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Teaching your teenager the meaning of healthy relationships is too important to leave to chance, and support can be found through individual or family therapy to promote healthy conversations about dating.
Would you like additional tips and suggestions to help your teen? Visit our Los Gatos Teen Therapy blog to read more articles, or contact us at 408.389.3538 to learn more about our parent support counseling services.

About The Author

Randall Rubida is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Los Gatos Teen Therapy, with 10 years of experience working with teens and their families. He has advanced training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, crisis intervention / management, and substance use and abuse, with additional interest in depression and oppositional and defiant behaviors. Randall was previously a Clinician for the MATRIX (intensive wraparound services) Program with EMQ Families First providing individual therapy, family therapy, case management, and crisis services to teens and their families.

Group Therapy: A Great Way To Connect With Other Teens And Get Peer Support

Los Gatos Teen Therapy is excited to offer several teen therapy groups! These groups allow teens to connect with peers who understand what they are going through. Group sessions are $75* and 75 minutes long. The weekly groups are ongoing, and an 8-week commitment is requested. Visit our website or download / print this flyer for more information.
  • Social Skills*
    • Saturdays 9:00-11:30 AM; Co-Ed Group – Ages 15-18
* The Social Skills group is $175 and 2.5 hours long. This group will take place out in the community rather than in the office so the teens can practice the skills they are learning in real world settings.

To sign up or learn more about our teen groups, please contact us at 408.389.3538.

Summer Therapy Services Available

If your students or children would benefit from therapy services over the summer, Los Gatos Teen Therapy is happy to provide: For more information, please contact us at 408.389.3538 or visit our website at

Space Still Available! Parent Education Night:
Technology & Boundary Setting

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Joy Linn from Los Gatos Teen Therapy will be speaking about Technology & Boundary Setting at Fusion Academy Los Gatos on Thursday, June 25 from 5:30 - 7:00 pm. Local parents of teens are welcome! This is a great opportunity to learn more about this common challenge and get your questions answered. 
Click here for more information and to RSVP.
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Los Gatos Teen Therapy provides individual teen therapy, family therapy, group therapy, parent support counseling, and in-home teen and family coaching 7 days a week, including afternoons, evenings, and weekends. For more information, contact us at 408.389.3538 or
Copyright © 2015 Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, All rights reserved.

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Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley
246 Union Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95032

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