Teens and Dating
Dating: A Growth Opportunity for Teenagers
photo credit: reebs*
Dating can be a fun adventure for both adolescents and adults. One can meet their soul mate or can meet their worst nightmare. It is an experience that provides the opportunity for growth. If dating does not work out one learns how to deal with the loss of that relationship. If it is a gentle break up the teenager or adult may stay friends with the person they dated.
Dating is not always easy for teenagers who may be shy to get out in the dating scene and meet other people. As part of parenting it is important to decide with the teenager what age is appropriate for dating. If you feel your child is ready to date discuss pros and cons of dating as well as consequences of sexual activity. Allow the teenager to understand any and all risks before going out in the world on a date.
Teenagers may wonder where they can meet someone to go out on a date with them. A teenager who participates in a variety of activities is more likely to find a date than a teenager that does not partake in activities outside of school. School can be a good place for a teenager to meet a potential date. The problem with going out with someone at school is that if things fall through, the teenager may see the other person often. One teenager could start rumors about the other in order to hurt his/her reputation around the school. Teenagers can also meet potential dates at Church, Synagogue, or Mosque. The teenagers will have similar beliefs and may have a better chance of success due to their common religious backgrounds. Teens can also meet dates at clubs they are involved with. Teenagers involved in similar groups will most likely have similar interests and may have a higher chance of success due to the common interests.
Allow a teenager to understand that relationships come and go and as an adolescent they may not be ready for long term dating. The adolescent needs to understand they may not have all the skills needed to keep a relationship going. When a relationship ends for an adolescent allow them to vent their feelings and understand that they may feel like they will never have another relationship like the one they just had. It is important to listen to the youth and validate their feelings. Also take the time to educate the youth about dating being a learning opportunity and that there are other people they can meet when they are ready to move on. When a teenager hears this they may feel better about the situation and willing to move forward with their dating life. A book may be helpful in teaching the adolescent what happens in dating and how to cope when a relationship does not work.
As a parent or step parent remember to educate your teenager on dating. Have them understand dating is not always easy and takes a lot of practice to get it right.