During your teen years, you may start to become interested in dating and finding someone who you are compatible with romantically. Sometimes, you may not be ready to start dating, but feel that you have to because everyone else around you is. Some parents of teens will be very restrictive about the age their children can start to date, leading teens to date in secret. Before you start dating, it is important to think about a number of things.
Peer Pressure to Date
If everyone in your peer group has started to date, you may feel that you have to as well. If you are not ready, however, dating could make you feel uncomfortable and unhappy. You should try and avoid dating until you are ready to do so. Real friends will understand and should not try to put any undue pressure on you. If you are being pressured, it may be time to find some new friends who really allow you to be yourself.
Media Influence on Dating
Most television programs aimed at teens feature numerous young couples. It can be hard to watch these and still feel like you shouldn’t yet be dating, especially if all your friends have started dating because of the influence of these programs. Popular media makes teen dating out to be normal and often gives a false impression of what relationships are like.
Problems With Teen Dating
Dating can give teenagers a sense of worth and companionship, but it should not be taken lightly. A number of dangers will be open to those who start dating that did not exist before. Peer pressure from a boyfriend or girlfriend can be even stronger than peer pressure from friends. This could lead you to do things that you are not comfortable with, not ready for, and potentially too young for. You may also feel pressure to dress a certain way to please your date. If your date is pressuring you to do things that you are not comfortable with or that are illegal, you should tell your parents or a trusted adult.
Pregnancy and STDs
Teenagers who are dating may feel pressured into taking part in sexual activities, but may not be ready or equipped to deal with the consequences. Sexual activity in teens can lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and no one form of contraception is completely reliable in preventing these. Some STDs have no symptoms, but they can cause severe problems for you in the future, as they can lead to infertility, which means that you may not be able to conceive children naturally when you are ready to do so. If you want to have sex, you need to make sure that you are ready, as it is a big step to take. Ensure that you are protected appropriately and speak to your physician about the best form of contraception for you. Even if you are taking other forms of contraception, only condoms can protect against STDs.
Emotional Dangers In Teen Dating
Teenagers can start to experience intense emotions when they begin dating, particularly if they have been dating the same person for a while. Arguments and breakups can feel like the end of the world for teens in serious relationships and can lead to feelings of despair and inadequacy. Teenagers may experience suicidal thoughts or develop eating disorders as a result of these feelings, so it is important to confide in your parents or another trusted adult to help you get through these difficult times. Parents should keep a close eye for signs of their teenagers dating so they can help them with the emotional ups and downs that occur.