Adolescent Dating and Romantic Relationships

Adolescent Dating and Romantic Relationships

by Josalin Mitchell

About Josalin Mitchell

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Josalin Mitchell began her writing career in 2009. She has written web content as well as grants, training manuals, reports and brochures for nonprofit agencies. Mitchell has a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching in English education.

Teen relationships usually last about five months in the early teen years and about two years for older teenagers. Young teens don’t usually take their romantic relationships very seriously. According to the University of Florida, teens usually take their friendships more seriously and date for fun, socialization, peer acceptance and curiosity. Older teens begin to explore emotional intimacy, desire more mature companionship and affection and look to their partners for emotional and social support.

Learning and Growing

As long as teens don’t start dating too early, too often or find themselves with an emotionally or physically abusive partner, dating can be an important and positive experience for them. Teens learn communication skills, assertiveness, cooperation, compromise and appropriate dating behavior. Teens can also develop emotionally by having a romantic relationship with one of their peers.

Negatives

On the other hand, kids who date too young or too often may be at greater risk for problems. Teens who come from troubled homes may find themselves dating people who replicate the abusive behavior they have become used to. According to the University of Florida, based on responses from over 1,000 teens, more than half of teens who have dated say they have dated someone who made them feel bad about themselves. About 20 percent have been physically abused in some way.

Parental Guidance

Teenagers are just learning to date. They don’t yet have clearly developed boundaries and expectations in relationships. Though you don’t want to force relationship decisions on your kids, it’s important to communicate several ideas to them. According to MSNBC, a teen should know she does not need to stay in a relationship with someone who abuses her, likes to manipulate her or makes her feel bad about herself. Your teen also needs to know that if she simply doesn’t have any feelings for someone, she can break up with him without feeling she did something wrong. Teens need to learn to assert their own values and make their own choices.

Dating Rules

Parents must make dating rules to ensure the safety of their teens. Make it a rule that the teen’s date must meet the parents. Boundaries should be clear. Know where they are going, for how long and when they are coming home. The date should know what they are allowed and not allowed to do on the date.

Teen Dating and Sex

Parents should talk to their kids about sex. According to MSNBC, you should also take your teen to the doctor and allow him to discuss his sexual issues in private and receive any necessary attention. Teens need to know sex is an intimate, important act and they should not feel any pressure to have sex. The dangers, such as sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, should be made clear to them. Teens may not consider that different forms of sex, such as oral sex, are still sexual acts.

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