Dating is a normal and important part of teen development. For younger teens, dating is more about having fun, hanging out peers and exploring what they like. As teens get older, they are more likely to become involved in exclusive dating relationships. For older teens, dating begins to focus more on companionship, sharing thoughts and feelings, and social support. Forming healthy relationships can help teens learn important skills such as cooperation, appropriate behavior, compromise, sensitivity and the ability to understand others’ feelings. According to Michigan State University Extension experts, these skills can lead to future healthy relationships in adulthood.
Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. That’s what makes dating and being in a relationship feel good. But if you notice that your teenager feels hurt, controlled or treated poorly, they may be in an abusive relationship. According to the Dribble Institute there are nine signs of a healthy relationship.
Parents play a very important role in helping their teens learn what is healthy in a relationship and what is not. Parents can also help teens better understand the feelings they experience and how to manage them. Overall, dating during adolescence can pose both promise and problems. While this can be stressful at times for parents, it can be an even more stressful experience for teens. Providing a safe and secure base for your teen to communicate with you openly about his or her relationships and helping your teen think about expectations and values in relationships can lead to a relationship smart teen!
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension.