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“An early love relationship can be a laboratory for how to be in a healthy relationship,” says Kantor. You can promote this. Talk to your daughter about her feelings. Remind her that both she and the object of her affection are young. With a good dose of mutual respect and communication, they can learn about romance together.

If Your Daughter is Sexually Active, Stay Involved

A lot of parents make the mistake of walking away when they realize their daughter is having sex. “This is when daughters need their mothers most,” says Kantor. You still have a role in protecting your daughter’s physical and emotional health. Ask if she is using condoms or birth control. If not, bring her to a doctor who can talk with her about protecting herself from unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.

On the emotional side, your daughter is still your daughter, despite her adult behavior. Ask her about the boy. Do they treat each other with love and respect? How has having sex affected the relationship? It’s important for her to know you’re still there for her, no matter what.

A Lifelong Conversation

Even though her mother never had The Talk with her, Kaufman felt it was her obligation to talk with her daughters about sex, dating, and peer pressure. “My main message was, ‘be your own person.’ Mostly they were uncomfortable talking about it.” Kaufman’s daughters are now in their early 20s. Sex and dating are still awkward subjects but the conversation continues.

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