Parents, UT Teen Health

Dating and Relationships

Dating isn’t what it used to be! With the addition of the internet and cell phones, teen dating has become more complicated than ever. The involvement of parents and families can be an important protective factor when it’s time for your teen to start dating.

You can’t keep your teen hidden away forever! It’s natural for teens to have romantic feelings and want to spend time with a romantic partner. But as the adult, you’ve got to be clear about the expectations of your teen in dating situations; state clearly what is acceptable and what is not. It’s all part of keeping your teen safe and helping them grow.

Teen dating, if it involves clear boundaries, can be an important way for your teen to learn about cooperation, compromise, manners, companionship and empathy. However, teen relationships that are not monitored can lead to early sexual activity and depression1. Talk to your teen about safe relationships, what it means to be a partner, and how important it is to find balance between romance and responsibility.

Need help deciding what to say to your teen, or do you think you see some warning signs? Read on to learn more about healthy teen dating.

1. Am J Prev Med 2004; 27(3):224-230.


What Every Parent/Adult Should Know

Here are some warning signs to look for if you feel your teen might be involved in a violent relationship.

  • Have they given up things that used to be important to them?
  • Do they fear their partner?
  • Do they seem sad and depressed, and are withdrawing from family and friends?
  • Do they frequently have marks or bruises that they dismiss as accidents?
  • Do they make excuses for their partner’s behavior?
  • Does their partner excessively text or call at all hours?