I spotted a story about teenage dating on the main page of USA Today this weekend. A recent study showed a connection between violence in teen dating and the long-term impact on these individuals adult relationships.
Here’s the highlights:
When researchers analyzed data from the same young adults five years later, they found notable differences:
- Girls victimized by a teen boyfriend reported more heavy drinking, smoking, depression and thoughts of suicide.
- Boys who had been victimized reported increased anti-social behaviors, such as delinquency, marijuana use and thoughts of suicide.
- Those of both sexes who were in aggressive relationships as teens were two to three times more likely to be in violent relationships as young adults.
Last week, I quoted another study about a link found between “hooking up” and depression. (Here’s a conversation that was started as a result) With the data from this study, it seems as though a case could be made against unmonitored casual dating among teenagers. (By unmonitored I simply mean that sometimes parents tune out and are relatively uninvolved as a third-party in the dating life of their teenager.) The simple reality is that if they are sexually active with someone casually or if they find themselves in a controlling and/or abusive dating relationship, the cost is quite high both now and in the future. In other words, parents need to be all up in the dating lives of their teenage kids even though its uncomfortable.
This study brings up some teaching points for your next parents meeting.
- Emotional and physical boundaries in dating relationships.
- Warning signs that their relationship might be controlling or even abusive.
- How you handle relationships in your ministry.
- Signs of a healthy adolescent relationship.
Idea: Partner with a local counselor and create a community-wide parent meeting exploring some of the latest research of teenage sexuality. You know, Good News to parents in your neighborhood.