When it comes to dating, dads can get pretty protective of their daughters.

This clip from America's Funniest Home Videos (AFV) shows a dad trying to get his daughter McKenna to promise never to have a boyfriend. In his "repeat after me" attempt, he tries to get her to say, "I, McKenna, promise Daddy that I will not have any boyfriends..." But, McKenna just can't force herself to say the last part about not having boyfriends. Instead, she implores, "I just wanna look at them, though."

Perhaps getting your children to promise something like that will not work as a solution. A better approach may be to teach them about appropriate dating and how to find good people to date. After all, they will have to make choices without you by their side one day.

Watch what happens when this tiny tot announces he has a date.

Sit down with your children and make some big decisions together. Using your family values, religious beliefs and goals for the future as a guide can help show a clear path for appropriate dating. Important things to discuss include:

  • The age that it is OK to start dating - one-on-one versus group dates. Some parents may say they can start dating at a certain age, but only in groups.

  • What kind of touch is OK or not OK - hand holding, hugging, kissing and how much and where the line of appropriateness is for your family. Have an upfront discussion about sex and everything that leads up to sex. Again, discuss what the boundaries are. Read this article for help with the sex talk.

  • Curfew. What time do you expect your child home?

  • Talk about what kinds of people they want to date, and warn them of things they should watch for that could be dangerous - such as abusive relationships.

Adequately preparing your teen for dating and having an open line of discussion with them can ease a lot of parental fears. Of course, we will still worry but communication and a good relationship with your sons and daughters will help. Remember your example of a healthy relationship will be the biggest influence on what they look for while dating.

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