Teen Dating Safety

Mental-Health-America-Porter-CountyLong gone are the days when a boy asks a father’s permission to take his daughter out on a date. Now, texting is the norm. It is vital for parents to educate themselves about the “lingo” children are using to communicate with each other and Mental Health America of Porter County would like to offer some translations:

55 = coast is clear, we can talk
CTN = can’t talk now
CO9 (Code 9) = parents are around
NOOB = someone inexperienced
F/F, F2F = face to face
GAFIA = get away from it all
HSWM = have sex with me
IMP = I might be pregnant
KPC = keep parents clueless
LMIRL = let’s meet in real life
NIFOC = naked in front of computer
UMFRIEND = “intimate” partner

To support your child during puberty, middle school, and high school is a challenge. Adding dating and technology into that mix can be just plain overwhelming! Here are suggestions for ways to ready yourself and your child for their first date:

Preparation should begin at home:

  • Create a “home-base” for the child that feels safe and supportive
  • Maintain open, honest communication to strengthen the parent-child relationship
  • Set rules with consequences to encourage your child to be accountable for their actions
  • Build-up the child’s self-esteem by showing interest in their life and meet their friends
  • Establish clear boundaries for computer and cell phone use – enforce the consequences


When your child shows interest in dating:

  • Have a conversation about relationships and sex, if you have not already
  • Create a code word together that your child can use to alert you that he or she needs help
  • Meet their date and confirm the planned activity
  • Follow-up afterwards – strive to give supportive, non-judgmental, and positive feedback


Mental Health America of Porter County offers programs that can assist individuals and families. Building Up Our Youth (BUOY) is dedicated to teaching adults how to instill positive self-esteem and security in the youth around them. For more information about BUOY or our other services please contact Jessica Howell, AmeriCorps member, Client Services Coordinator at 219-462-6267 or jhowell@mhapc.or