February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and in honor of that, I thought I would talk about teens and dating relationships.
Teens are starting to have dating relationships sooner rather than later and we as adults need to teach them how to show respect in a relationship and treat each other in a healthy way.
So what is a healthy relationship when it comes to a teen? It looks similar to an adult healthy relationship, but with a lot more respect. Teens are at a vulnerable age where they are trying to figure themselves out and to do that they will try anything! They will try every sport, music trend, fashion trend, driving fast, talking back, etc. They are learning what they like, what they don’t and what they really hate during their teenage years. When it comes to a dating relationship, teens need to trust their partners and respect their partner’s decisions if it doesn’t match their own.
We as adults need to teach them how to speak up for what they want, how to compromise with their dating partner, how to be supportive, and how to respect their partner’s privacy. The last one is a major one. Teens become can come infatuated when in a dating relationship and can forget that their dating partner needs space sometimes. I know my husband needs space from me sometimes, but the difference is that I do not have a teenage brain anymore and I understand that is normal. Sometimes teens do not understand that and will constantly text their dating partner.
How can we teach teens these important dating “rules”; well by talking to them and demonstrating it in our relationships. Teens watch us every day and mimic what we do, so we need to pay attention to what we are teaching our future generations.
4-H & Human Development News
By: Anne Pitts, Harvey County Extension Agent, 4-H & Human Development