Whether you are sixteen or the parent of one, the world of teen dating is filled with many successes and failures. As children grow and mature into their adult bodies, interest in new relationships is an automatic process. Gone are the days of cooties and boys-only clubs, hormones have begun to pave the way to more serious relationships down the road.
Creating strong friendships is the first step toward a healthy teen dating life. As a teen, your friends will largely affect your self-esteem and enjoyment. Make sure there is always a balance between your time with your friends and your time with your date when you begin to explore dating. Don't waste all your energy on a new boy or girlfriend, only to have the relationship explode and you quickly notice you no longer have anyone to call and complain too.Along with friends for comfort and support, also comes the peer pressure naturally found in all teens lives. As you begin to explore a variety of relationships in your teens, try to listen to your inner voice, instead of the loud voices of your circle of friends. It can be hard to tone down the pressure teens feel in today's world, so before you make any decisions about who to date or how to behave, quiet down those outside voices. Take a silent walk alone or write in a journal. Your inner voice will know the right choices for you; just take the time to listen.
With all the conflicting messages in teen's lives, it can be hard to know what they want when it comes to dating and relationships. As a young teen, take some time to get to know yourself before you start dating. Join a variety of activities and explore your own interests. Not only will this make you more interesting as a date, it will help you appreciate the types of people you want intimately involved in your life.
Teen Dating Fun
When you are young, dating should be a fun activity. There is ample time in the future for more serious relationships. Many teens feel they need to have a boy or girlfriend, but what is really most important is learning to build healthy relationships. Utilize this youthful time to explore a variety of healthy attachments, including family, friends and dating. Your experiences now set the stage for developing love and secure relationships as you grow and mature.
Before Dating Begins
Okay, you have felt the spark and you know this person must be the one for you. What do you do? Well, it may sound a bit tedious but take out a pen and paper first. Before asking anyone out on that first date, create a list of the qualifications that you require in a respectable girl or boyfriend. Be specific and list both the things that are the should have's and the ones that are the should have not's. While analyzing a possible date, also think about what you have to offer to a potential new friend.
Once you have a good understanding of the type of person that would be the best for you, start planning that first date. Even before you have asked anyone out or been asked out, it is important to structure some basic plans. Going on a date involves some risk and planning, so the more you accomplish ahead of time, the better. Talk to your parents about rules and expectations, decide where and when you would like to out, and try to create some casual connections before taking the first big date alone together.
Love vs. Lust
There are many types of love: compassion for others, strong friendships or family connections. Teen love involves finding someone who you are attracted to who understands and appreciates you.Lust is a quick, intense physical attraction. Teen lust is sexual and driven by hormones. While it a normal physiological part of growing up, it can be very powerful and confusing.
It can be hard to tell the difference between love and lust as a teen. This complicates the teen dating scene significantly. Keeping a healthy perspective and appreciating that these emotions are significant and real will help facility the process. As a teen, allow yourself to feel these varying emotions but find healthy outlets for them. Savor your ability to learn control as it will benefit you in all aspects of your life as you leave your teen years.
Teen Dating Tips
- Communication is essential in all dating. Don't make assumptions and avoid the gossip.
- Make it clear whether your relationships are exclusive or casual.
- If you get turned down or rejected, don't waste time on it - move on.
- Before asking anyone new out, get to know them a little first. It will make it easier to know what their answer might be.
Even before your children develop into teens, take some time to create family rules around teen dating and relationships. There is no true standard; the rules will vary by the values and traditions in different households. The important step is to make sure you have the rules clearly in place. Some concepts to consider are:
- Age when your child can start to date.
- One-on-one dates verses group dating arrangements.
- Advice on how to behave on a date.
- Where are they allowed to go?
- Rules about being home alone.
- Internet restrictions.
Along with discussions around dating rules, it is important to revisit conversations about sex. Even if you have explained this process before, have that sex talk again. Realize that they know more than you think. While as parents we might feel anxious about this type of conversation with our maturing child, having a teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease is far worse. Don't rely on the schools to teach your teens about sexual relationships. Sex education in the schools tends to be more scientific and biological in order to remain politically correct. Their friends have a strong influence on their sexual information, and you can explain it far more accurately than any of their peers.