Teenagers experience pressures everyday. Not only are they undergoing unnerving biological changes, but they also are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Dating teenagers experience even more pressure as they focus on building a relationship in the midst of all these changes. Learn the potential problems facing teenagers who date. If a teen dating problem seems too difficult to manage on your own, ask a family therapist for advice.
A link exists between teen dating and substance abuse, according to a 2004 study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The study found that teenagers who spend 25 or more hours a week with a girlfriend or boyfriend are more likely to abuse substances. Compared to teens who spend less than 10 hours a week with a girlfriend or boyfriend, these teens are two and a half times more likely to drink, five times more likely to get drunk, four and a half times more likely to try marijuana and two and a half times more likely to smoke. The study also revealed that girls who date boys two or more years older than them are more likely to drink alcohol, try marijuana and smoke.
Teen Dating Violence
Dating violence takes several different forms, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This type of abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. Each year, 10 percent of students in the U.S. report that a dating partner has abused them in the past 12 months, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends educating teens about the dangers of teen dating violence by having them participate in prevention programs, such as the school-based program Safe Dates. For help and advice, victimized teens can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Risky Sexual Behavior
Teens who date may participate in risky sexual activity, which can lead to diseases or pregnancy. While 15- to 24-year olds comprise only 25 percent of the sexually active population, they contract almost one-half of all new sexually transmitted diseases, according to estimates from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pregnancy is another issue in teen dating, resulting from the lack of use of contraceptives, which often leads to low birth weight in babies and issues with prenatal care. Teens can use condoms to decreases the risk of unintended pregnancy and contracting STDS.