Three Tips to Help Teens Date Smart

teen-datingAhhhh… the time is finally here. The holiday we all look forward to throughout the entire year that’s filled with candy, glitter, expensive dinners, cherubs, school parties, and cupids. Valentine’s Day!

Okay, I know most of us don’t actually look forward to Valentine’s Day all year. In fact, Valentine’s Day can be a hard time for people who may feel lonely as a single person or unhappy in their current relationship. After all, shouldn’t we all have romantic relationships that resemble the ending of a Hallmark movie?

Even though Valentine’s Day is a rather silly holiday (some debate if it’s even “real”), it can be a good time to slow down and think about how to date smart. If you’re a teacher or a parent of teens, now is a good time to talk to the young people in your life about dating relationships and making wise choices.

Right now more than ever, teens are constantly inundated with messages about dating, relationships, and sex. Thanks to the advancement of technology and social media, “finding your match” can be (or is advertised to be) only a finger swipe away. That’s why it’s important for teens have a strong foundation that will allow them to make wise, empowering, and healthy decisions when it comes to romantic relationships.

Here are 3 “D’s” for Dating that will hopefully lead to healthy, uplifting, and authentic relationships.

 Do: Discriminate

Be highly selective with your choices of dates. The problem is, so many people define their self worth by whether they’re dating someone that they “date for dating’s sake” and often settle for less, compromising their values along the way.

Tip: Know the qualities you admire and that attract you to another person; these are the characteristics that are right for you. Consider making a list of the “must-haves” (values, personality traits, interests, goals, etc.) you’d like in your future partner. And don’t settle for less!

Do: Discern

Be wise when you date. Too many people approach dating so impulsively and emotionally that they simply don’t think clearly. Understand what you want in a relationship, your goals, and expectations and have the courage to move on if it’s not a great fit.

Also, avoid unsafe situations before they happen and never force another person or allow yourself to be coerced into acts that compromise your values, risk getting out of control, or that you’ll later regret.

Do: Be Deliberate

Be patient when you date. This is often the hardest thing to do when the infatuation stage is intense. However, if the relationship is truly meant to be, it needn’t be rushed. If the other person wants things to move much faster than you, it’s time to move on. (Honestly, when I look back, most of my breakups were either from bad timing or when one party was rushing it.) Commit to really getting to know the other person and spending lots of time talking. And, don’t allow yourself to be so consumed with your new relationship that you curtail time with friends.

By applying these 3 D’s to your own life, you’ll set yourself up for long-term success rather than possibly settling for short-term, superficial gratification. You’re much more likely to find the Right One, with fewer peaks and valleys (and mistakes) along the way!


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