Well, there is no denying that teen dating is a topic that will remain a debate for years to come.
And while the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, there is no denying those tales of people who married their high school sweethearts and lived happily ever after. In other words, jumping into a cage with a lion does not necessarily mean that you will be eaten, however, is it wise?
Well, before we get into the debate, let’s understand the concept of dating, what constitutes teenage dating, and its resulting consequences.
The Concept of Dating
The urban dictionary defines dating as:
‘…when people go out with other people to configure compatibility’.
Basically, it’s hanging out without any clear commitment; a prelude to actually being in a fully-fledged relationship that can take weeks or years.
From the above definition, dating is not a relationship but it can develop into one under the following circumstances:
- When the parties dating realize they are compatible
- If the people dating can’t find anybody else to date them
- If the parties involved are lonely
- If one person is only attracted to the other but pretends to be in love with them. This results in a false sense of love that often leads to cheating.
How It Will Be In A Teen Relationship
In most case scenarios, teenage dating involves:
Teenagers are notoriously bad at texting. From Good morning to Good Night. From have you had your breakfast to brunch, lunch, and dinner?
They’re likely to spend 24/7 checking their phones for their date’s feedback. To them, nothing is as bright as seeing a notification from him or her. In a way, this is to be expected since the teenagehood is a phase the kiddo is craving for approval, and the form of rejection can lead to detrimental effects.
Therefore, being in a sense of love with a person (their date in this case) makes them feel accepted but there is also the need to remain at the top of mind of the significant other which results in non-stop texting.
The problem is, teenagers, can spend 24/7 obsessing over their dates in that; even when with their respective families, they could be physically present but mentally they are lost in thoughts and imaginations.
In the modern world, dating is taken to mean having intimate activities, and teen dating is no exception. This is important for you as a person in that; if you don’t want to engage in sex then you should steer clear of dating.
Statistically, teenagers are bad at using condoms and birth control methods especially the pills. This can be attributed to their affordability and availability in nearby stores. The downside is, there is no prevention method that is 100% guaranteed especially when utilized improperly which begs the question, are teenagers educated enough to understand the side effects of whatever prevention methods they choose?
Silverlining, their informed choice of utilizing pills and condoms shows they are responsible as they attempt to prevent the horrible possibility of teen pregnancy and contracting STDs.
It’s worth noting though that not all teens take dating to equal a full-fledged relationship. Some teenage relationships could be innocent involving just the ‘top stuff”. That is, kissing and snogging or some fumbling on the sofa.
It is a wonderful feeling having to spend time with someone you feel attracted to, right?
In their “hang” teens are likely to engage in talks, hikes, walk in parks, watching sports or movies. There is no telling how productive these hangouts are for sure, and while kids deserve privacy there is every need to analyze the situation lest risk them falling under bad influence.
Lesser Date Options
You will find it hard to start dating because you’re under your parent’s control. After finish high school, you can set your own rules. Believe me, it’s easier to start a relationship when you don’t rely on parents for money and transport to date someone else. For example, you can only go for dinner nearby because your parents are worried about you.
Problems of Teenagers Dating
Assuming your teenager starts dating, there are possible scenarios that can play out such as…
- Doing illegal stuff such as sending nudes and experimenting with drugs.
- Being sexually active
- Getting pregnant or worse contracting STDs
- Having controlling or manipulative significant other or worse someone who is a bad influence which could ruin their view on relationships
- Being distracted from studies, sports, and such other important activities. This is unlikely but it’s a possibility when dealing with a bad influence as the significant other
- Restricting themselves to certain things mostly those they view as of importance
- Having possessive partners who are likely to forbid their communication with people of the opposite gender. Now, this can ruin one social life if not handled with care. This could also lead to violence in teen relationships.
- Getting lost in another world (world of thoughts, fantasizing and imaginations) more often
- Getting too excited & got into a relationship & realize that’s the relationship bored/not so interesting very soon.
- Having eye problems as teens are likely to spend most of the time glued on their phone, laptop, or tablet waiting for their text, calls, or status updates. And,
- Going through life crisis after a break up which can be something like depression, isolation, lost hope in life and people, and in a worst-case scenario – suicide (literally, real-life Romeo and Juliet).
Silverlining, dating is a learning curve and thus teenagers may end up discovering themselves or what they would want in a partner in the process.
So, Should They or Shouldn’t They Date?
Well, when all is said and done, the balls remain in the parent’s court. Why?
First, a teenager is not yet an adult which means as the parent, you’re still responsible for them, for their action. Two, upon allowing your teenager to step into the dating game, they are taking your relationship baggage into their dating process.
Simply put, they’ll be portraying your image out there when dating they date. It could be a stable, respectful kind of a relationship or a case where that teenage boy thinks women are gold diggers hence no need to spend much on them or where that little girl thinks that she has to kiss so many ‘frogs” before finding her prince. That’s because three, teens do not know enough and if you aren’t their biggest influence then there is social media and the messed up technological world.
So, as a parent do you want them to go out there with all these dating stereotypes in their mind where the will end up experimenting, or will you have them wait a little longer so that you can explain what it is really like in the dating world? Will you advise that teenage girls that she doesn’t have to kiss the ‘frogs”, she is not obligated to and that she can just accept that walk in the park, or an ice-cream stakeout without having to engage their dates further?
Now that it’s clear that the decision remains in the hands of the parents, and who would refuse? No one else understands your kiddo as you do, no one has the best at heart for them as you, besides, you were once a teenager and thus got some clues with regards teens dating scene – in short, you’re fully armed to make such decisions. Therefore, ask yourself the following:
- Is my teenager mature enough to be dating? That is, does the kid understand what dating entails, or is he/she doing it out of mere curiosity? Out of the desire to fulfill their lust, their need for affection, or to just brag amongst peers of having a boy/girlfriend, to fit in with the crowd
- Is my teenager healthy enough to be dating? Note a teen relationship is as healthy as the least healthy person in it.
- Does my teen understand his/her worth? Their self-worth will determine the sort of first experiences they want to have especially when it comes to fully-fledged relationships say sex, first boob hold, first kiss, etc.
- Does the kiddo respect themselves and others?
- What sort of a relationship are they getting into and with whom?
If you feel cornered, remember it’s your job as a parent to steward and shepherd them in the right direction. That is, don’t feel guilty of letting your teenagers know that you’re don’t trust them and that your job is to not trust them till they prove they are trustworthy. Therefore, you can form a pact with them where the more respectful and trustworthy they behave, the more they earn your points in which case they’ll start dating on reaching a set mark.
Teen dating is a personal decision but as an overall verdict, teens should not date as they do not know enough. With the evolving technology and decreasing morality in society, teen dating is a critical topic that requires ultimate care and wisdom.
Additional: Some Tips For Teen In A Relationship
Teenage relationships are a type of special relationship during a teen’s life. At this age, they learn how to love and have a special relationship with another person. As a teen, if you want to have a relationship, you must sacrifice a lot. Here are some tips for you.
Skip The Drama!
Every teenager loves to deny this. Admit it, dating in your teenage life means a lot of drama. Couples tend to quarrel a lot causing stress among them because they are immature. So, avoid the headache by being single! Now you can have more time for your own things! Pamper yourself and flirt with others are some examples of things to do when you are single.
Keep Your Privacy
Having a partner makes it harder to keep a secret. You want to share everything with your partner. The best way to keep your privacy is to just do your own thing. You can take care of yourself, succeed all by yourself, discover your own dreams, and go after them on your own.
Know Your Boundaries
It’ easy to lose our mind when we’re in love. Don’t be those mindless idiots that fall for everything in a relationship. Know your boundaries and think logically when making a decision. If something doesn’t smell right, keep away! Don’t make those mistakes we mentioned above!
Still Single? Don’t Worry, Be Happy
You are young and wonderful so there’s no better time to be single! You have to believe that your family still loves you. We hope that a future partner is waiting to love you somewhere in the world. Being single allows teenagers to be happy. When teenagers know that no one is holding them back, they are free to do all the things they love and wanted to do. So get out there! Meet new friends to start a conversation, get yourself a part-time job to have some working experience, start building some really useful skills, explore the world, or wink at the cute boy sitting next to you!