Good advice for teens before dating |

Good advice for teens before dating

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

Being a teen nowadays is rough. Teenagers today are facing a wide variety of social, economic and emotional challenges.

One challenge facing teens is dating. Meeting someone for the first time can be exciting – especially if there is mutual attraction. Teens may be attracted to someone who seems like the perfect person on the surface: good grades, good looks and cool friends. But there could be warning signs just under the surface teens should be aware of to protect themselves and their emotions before getting involved in a serious relationship.

Warning signs of a potential abuser is a person making statements like, “I want you all to myself,” or getting extremely upset or jealous if you spend time with other friends or friends of the opposite sex.

Withholding affection – giving the silent treatment, repeated lies, broken promises and being threatening – are also signs of a potentially abusive person. Teens in this situation may feel flattered that this person is paying so much attention to them. Teens feel that this person really loves them. This behavior then develops into this person always wanting power and control over you by using verbal and emotional abuse, such as using derogatory names or criticizing you in front of friends – which, in turn, can cause low self-esteem.

Most dating relationships with these dynamics have a high risk of the abuse turning physical, and a teen experiencing an abusive relationship can be forced into sexual relations. Physically abusing anyone in any way is against the law. Abuse and violence happen in same-sex relationships as well.

Here are some tips on establishing a healthy relationship from the start:

n Communicate your boundaries clearly.

n Don’t use alcohol or drugs that impair decision-making.

n Trust your instincts and get to know the person before going out alone.

n Think twice about an individual who puts down others, uses alcohol or drugs, wants to be in control, has angry outbursts, exhibits extreme jealousy, or uses physical force.

The South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center is here to help and listen. Arm yourself and learn more about the dynamics of the cycle of violence. Knowledge is power – empower yourself today.

You can call our confidential 24-hour crisis hotline at (530) 544-4444 or our confidential business line from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (530) 544-2118. We are located across from the South Tahoe Middle School at 2491 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Our building was financed by a low-cost loan through the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

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