The trend in events of life changes over time. The dynamics of dating among teenagers a decade or two ago obviously is different from the present day. The use of words and the definition of relationship matters is different now from the way it used to be. Therefore approaching it the way it used to be will be making a grave mistake. This is a common occurrence in our world today. The technology and the age has brought about these changes. There is massive pressure these days on teenagers about dating. The dynamics create a sense of belonging when you are in the game. These changes in activities makes the person not yet in the game to feel out of touch with the latest trend. This takes me to my teenage days.When I was in high school, there were these, ” Game player”; group of guys and gals that are perceived to be in control of the affair of things. They command respect in the school. Your parents have to be renowned and connected before you can be a part of the clique. I felt intimidated, so are many other people not in their “so called class”. In social affairs, they are seen as encyclopedia; custodian of knowledge. They celebrate their special dates in parties and lots of exchange of gifts. There are some of them that give gists of how their day went with their girl friends the previous day and how they were engaged sexually without their parents knowledge. It got to the point where their focus on study was divided. Just about that time, I have a friend whose objective was to come top of the class academically. He influenced my focus and changed the “clique driven pressure” to “intellectual driven pressure” . I looked like an old school who was not ready to explore life to its fullest.
I asked myself ; what was responsible for the initial longing to be part of the group?The following were reasons i was able to come up with: 1. I want to be a part of the respected clique, 2. I want to express myself sexually. Not primarily about friendship but romance. 3. I want to explore life because I am of age. 4. It seems as what was right to do at that moment
The dating subject has controversial views both from parents and teenagers themselves. The issue of how old someone should get to before dating? Some parents have fixed time while some teenagers as well have there own different perspective to the age issue. It should be noted though that age does not automatically translate to maturity. Maturity are attained at different times. Some at earlier age while others at later teenage years. The following are key indicators of a teen’s readiness for dating that Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler pointed out;
1. Is he or she often influenced by peer pressure? 2. Is he or she most attracted to the people his or her own age? 3. Does he or she intend to date for friendship instead of romance? 4. Has the teen committed himself or herself to sexual purity and determined not to compromise that commitment? 5. Does the young person have his or her parents’ permission to date? 6. Is the teen’s self-image based on whether or not he or she is dating? 7. Is he or she able to resist immediate gratification in other areas? Does he or she display a preference to strive for future satisfaction and fulfillment( over immediate gratification) in other areas.
Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler stated that a “NO” response to any of the above questions imply more growing up before considering the dating game.
The intellectual driven pressure I eventually engaged in my teenage years took my attention away from the dating and helped me focus more on my academics.
What happen when one is now ripe for dating?
First and foremost, a teenager or older person ready for dating must come to terms that decisions had to be made. Decisions as it relate to setting boundaries and defining how far he or she will go in the relationship. Deciding what time is to be provided, the understanding of the concept of dating, the role of parents or guardian etc. It should be noted that at this stage, you will need the input of some of your responsible friends because there is a possibility for you to isolate yourself from your friends. You will need the help of your same sex friend as much as the opposite sex. They may play accountability or advisory role that will be helpful to the success of the relationship. All these factors are to be seriously considered and weighed to know whether you are truly ready or not. In relationships, there are alerts you need to be sensitive to because discovering it early enough will inform the suitability of your decision, whether they are right or not.
RED ALERTS TO NOTE
1. He or she not truthful The foundation for any successful relationship is TRUST. When openness is missing, understanding will be difficult to achieve. Lies are negative virtue that destroy trust. Taking trust out in a relationship is squeezing life out.
2. He or She creates embarrassing scene
Whenever you have disagreement or differences in opinion, it should not translate to public ridicule. No one truly in love will make his or her partner feels bad by the way he or she is spoken to.
3. He or She monitors you
Asking you about life generally is okay. But if you are constantly called and expected to know details of where you have been and who you have been with calls for a concern.
4. He or She Threatens to Hurt self w
hen threatening statement are given. The statements that depicts taking of life if something goes wrong with the relationship can be considered a red alert of manipulation on your emotions.
5. He mounts pressure on you to have Sex
Sex doesn’t just mean intercourse. It can mean a whole range of activities including oral sex or even just touching. If your partner forces you to do anything physical that you don’t want to do, then that should alert you. Anybody who cannot wait and respect your decision is not fit for your love.
6. He or she expresses anger repeatedly Everyone gets mad sometimes, and that’s okay. But if it becomes continuous at every little disagreement, then you need to have a re-think.
When you have mentoring relationships, some of these alert that you might not notice, could be picked by any responsible mentor you chose. There is therefore a need for you to have accountability partners in addition to mentors(Which could be your parents, guardians, or friend’s parents).
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