Datingfor teens

07 Oct

Teen years are formative ones, and dating gives adolescents insight into who they are.

They learn about some of their own boundaries, such as what feels acceptable and what doesn't, what they do and do not like and what attracts them most.

And what hormonally driven adolescent boy doesn’t want to up the game with a hormonally driven adolescent girl that wants to keep her friends happy and excited for her?

When an adolescent ups the game in a group (and the group follows along), it’s called herd mentality. A group of girls and a group of guys decide to meet at the movies for a parentally sanctioned group date. "We'll cover for you and keep a look out while you and [girlfriend] do [whatever "it" is].

Just one parent that could verify that the kids entered and stayed in the theater would prevent things like this–something that nobody truly enjoyed, but everybody felt pressured to participate in, less being extruded from the "herd." The bottom line is that for young tweens and teens, any GROUP activity still needs adult supervision (ACTIVE supervision).

As children become teens, the pressure to “perform” and “comply” is stronger in groups – that’s HERD MENTALITY.

Unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, dating violence and date rape can be sources of worry.

I learned about it from two different girls who presented to me for STD testing, and one that I referred for psychological counseling.

It was a big story among the medical community and the community of parents. I don’t present this story to squash group hanging-out, but to emphasize the need for adult supervision–especially when group dating is going on among tweens and young teens.

Similarly, those same relationships and partner choices influence the development of identity as well as other components of the self-concept." According to Manning et al, "Adolescence is an exploratory stage where important skills and experience are obtained while dating which help teens to navigate later life relationships." Incidents of conflict and breaking up, for instance, are experiences for adolescents to endure and learn from.

These lessons can eventually foster "the emergence of more mature relationship behaviors." Teen dating is also a tool for the sharpening of adolescents' interpersonal skills.