Q. Is it normal for my 17-year-old son to have a different girlfriend every few months?
A. Sure it's normal, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. The world needs more boys who believe that real men are never careless about others' feelings and dignity. Obviously parents are the ones most likely to make that happen. So be involved to the extent that both you and his father are beyond clear that you expect him to be respectful (in person, online, or while texting) toward anyone he dates. He must also insist on being treated the same way. Most important is for him to see how his parents interact. If you aren't showing him how people should respect each other in intimate relationships, it's hard to ask the same of him.
Originally published in the September 2008 issue of Family Covers magazine.