Teen dating often gets a bad rap, but there are some advantages. Teens who learn positive dating habits often carry those skills into adulthood, making it easier to develop healthy, long-lasting relationships. Young teenagers may not be mature enough to handle the responsibility, but older teens often learn valuable life skills during the dating process.
Even though some teen dating relationships end in disaster and reputations are damaged in the process, respectful teen dating habits lead to healthy relationships. According to Psychology Today, teens can learn the importance of respect by keeping the relationship within the proper limits and making sure both individuals feel comfortable, safe and secure. Maintaining appropriate physical contact, respecting each other's individuality, allowing a dating partner to have other friendships and being accountable for dating behavior can help teens develop honor and respect within the relationship. Parents can monitor their teen's behavior and give valuable input to make sure respect is an important part of the relationship.
Teens often learn important communication and interpersonal skills while dating. According to the Center for Young Women's Health, the most important part of a healthy dating relationship is learning to communicate and listen. Dating encourages teenagers to step out of their comfort zone and instigate conversations about life, family, goals, dreams, hobbies and interests. Introverted teens learn to share their feelings with a dating partner, listen to their partner's opinions and expand their social skills. Dating teenagers often explore news ways to communicate, especially if they're not used to conversing with members of the opposite sex.
Healthy dating habits encourage unselfish behavior. Teenagers learn to consider other people's needs and feelings, rather than focusing solely on their own interests and desires. According to Sue Edgerley, author of "5 Keys Parenting," a teen boy can learn to be a gentleman by opening the door for his girlfriend, pulling out her chair before she's seated or helping her carry heavy packages. A teen girl can learn to express gratitude, appreciate her boyfriend's goals and be considerate of his other responsibilities such as family time, school assignments, work or extracurricular activities. The dating experience can help teenagers shift part of their thinking away from themselves and toward the other person.
Responsibility is a tricky part of most teen dating relationships. Some teens learn to exercise self-control, demonstrate accountability and uncover deeper friendships based on responsible dating behavior. Others take advantage of freedoms associated with dating and make careless decisions. Parents can encourage responsibility by having open discussions about treating a dating partner with admiration and respect. According to the website, Only My Health, parents can set curfews for date nights, encourage their child to go on double dates or group dates to avoid too much one-on-one time and discuss ways to control passionate desires. Parents can also make sure they're home when the dating couple is at the house.
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