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Life Mantra
Anu Goel
Teenage dating: Why teenagers fall into relationships 23 July, 2016
Teenagers face a lot of pressure and not only do they undergo biological changes in their body, they also face the transition from childhood to adulthood. With too much pressure, stress and increasing maturity, they start developing a feeling of attraction towards the opposite gender.

They develop romantic feelings and fall into relationships at a very tender age. Romance in adolescence, strengthens teens’ identities and interpersonal skills and allows them to explore intimate boundaries.

There is, however, also an abundance of risks adolescents are exposed to in the world of romance. Entering into intimate relationships too early can leave teens ill-prepared to handle typical problems couples face and without the support of peers at the same stage of romantic development.

The following are some reasons why teenagers fall into relationships:

Immaturity: Teenagers are immature and get easily attracted toward the opposite gender. They think they have fallen in love when it’s only an infatuation. They do not know the proper meaning of relationships and hence are driven into one just for the sake of experience. This immaturity, both of experience and emotion, can cause teens to experience low self-esteem, devastation and depression when the relationship ends.

Pressure: Teenagers may also feel the pressure to be in a relationship when they don’t want to be in one. Friends may ask them to be with them or do things for them to prove how much they ‘love’ them. Teens may find it difficult to judge a situation properly and may end up giving in to the pressure, despite their will. 

Feeling unwanted and loss of self worth: When a teen feels that he is not loved by anyone- parents or by the near and dear ones, he/she feels lonely and craves for love.

This feeling of being unwanted is also one of the primary reasons why teenagers date. When in a relationship they do not feel the lack of self worth and enjoy receiving the attention of their partner.

Social status: Being in a relationship can increase the social status of teens. They are considered ‘cool’ and hence gain popularity. Being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend and raising one’s social status means everything to a teenager. On the negative aspect, break ups ruin social statuses and destroy public image.

Curiosity: Curiosity is also one of the reasons why teens start dating. They are eager to know how it feels to fall in love and be loved. They want to gain sexual experience and know more about the opposite sex.

While there are several reasons as to why teens date, teenage dating also faces several problems:

The pain of break ups: The most common problem of teen dating is break ups. Teens do not understand the significance of relationships and are inexperienced and so end up in misunderstandings and fights with their partners. They do not realise that their attraction is infatuation thereby ending up ties, leaving each other heartbroken. Teens find it difficult to cope up with the pain of a break up and often go into depression or even attempt suicide. They lose self confidence and are unable to bring back self worth. They depreciate their mental health and find it even more difficult if the relationship is driven by criticism and contempt.

Lack of faith: End of relationships cause teens to lack faith in love and humanity. They don’t realise their mistakes, instead lose faith in people. They are unable to cope with the betrayal from people whom they once loved and so lose faith in the entire concept of love.

Lack of help: Teens do not want to share the sad story of their break ups. They sometimes seek help from their friends, who again are teens and therefore lack support. Teens fear telling their parents about their relationship and hence are stuck in the vicious circle of helplessness.

Inability to concentrate anywhere: Whether a part of a relationship or in a broken one, teens find it difficult to concentrate in things not involving their relationship. School grades and studies are often hampered thus leading to a fall in one’s confidence.

Risky sexual activity: Teens who date may participate in sexual activity leading to teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Teens do not now the ‘do’s and dont’s of sex and hence land in trouble.

Substance abuse: There exists a link between teenage dating and substance abuse. According to several studies, it has been found that teenagers who spend 25 or more hours a week with a girlfriend or boyfriend are more likely to abuse substances. They are more likely to consume drugs and alcohol, smoke or try marijuana.

Teenage dating violence: Teenage dating violence is another major problem of teenage dating. Teen dating violence (TDV) is a pattern of behaviour that includes physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse used by one person in an intimate relationship to exert power and control over another. It adversely affects mental health.

Most of the problems teens face are because of immaturity and lack of experience. It is perfectly normal for a teenager to be attracted to the opposite gender and have sexual feelings.

Teens should be guided by their parents and teachers and explained the importance of relationships. They should be told what is right and wrong for them. Parents should not feel anxious or nervous while talking to their kids on such matters. They should relax and have a comfortable talk with their children, involving both their opinions and arguments. It is only then that teens will be able to understand the importance of relationships and wait to find their true love rather than crave to be in a relationship.

(The article is jointly written by Anu Goel (Counselling Psychologist) and internIshita Mishra)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Mrs. ANU GOEL is a Counselling Psychologist. She has practiced in Mumbai for 5 years, and is currently practicing in Delhi since the last 7 years. Goel, who can be contacted at 9313320146 and anugoel75@gmail.com, is a member of the Counsellor's Association of India, and has been a guest speaker on several occasions.
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