Teens and Dating (page 3)

By — University of Florida IFAS Extension
Updated on Mar 11, 2008

Support for Families through Cooperative Extension Programs

  • Dating in the teenage years is one of many ways to promote healthy development among teens. Programs serving youth and their families can promote a positive emphasis or resilience perspective on teen dating. However, the problems of dating in adolescence should not be overlooked in curricula/programming that serves teens. And, there are other ways to promote positive youth development, especially in the younger teen years.
  • Programs for parents of teens benefit from including teens in the program--in other words, promoting healthy parent-teen interaction. For example, a revised Florida-based curriculum, "Teening-Up with your Adolescent": Parenting Children Ages 9-16, is useful for both parent-only and parent-teen audiences.
  • Inform teens of educational opportunities and responsibilities that prepare them for adulthood. When youth are focused on their vocational and academic growth, they are less likely to turn to romantic relationships and risky behaviors to feel "grown up."
  • Ideally, parent-teen programs should focus on building parent-teen bonds, fostering communication, and bolstering parental monitoring and support of teens. Developing these parent-teen relationship assets helps teens to build healthy relationships outside the family unit13.
  • The relationship between parents or a parent and a romantic partner also sets an example for teens. Family programming should focus on strengthening relationships between parents and between parents and teens. Moreover, parents can be encouraged and motivated to set an example of healthy adult relationships with their teens.


Dating during adolescence poses both promise and problems. Understanding the impacts of dating on early, middle, and late teen years can help parents in their communication with teens. Strengthening family communication benefits families in many ways, including promoting healthy, happy teens.


1. Teenage Research Unlimited (2006). Teen Relationship Abuse Survey. Northbrook, IL: Liz Claiborne Inc.

2. Carver, K., Joyner, K. & Udry, R. (2003). National Estimates of Adolescent Romantic Relationships. In P. Florsheim (Ed.), Adolescent romantic relations and sexual behavior: Theory, research, and practical implications.23-56) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

3. Brown, B.B. (1999). "Youre going out with who?": Peer group influences on adolescent romantic relationships. In W. Furman, B.B. Brown, & C. Feiring (Eds.), The development of romantic relationships in adolescence. Cambridge studies in social and emotional development. New York: Cambridge.

4. Berk, L. E. (2005). Infants, children, and adolescents (5th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

5. Paul, E.L., & White, K.M. (1990). The development of intimate relationships in late adolescence. Adolescence, 25, 375-400.

6. Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Doyle, A.B., Markiewicz, D., & Bukowski, W.M. (2002). Same-sex peer relations and romantic relationships during early adolescence: Interactive links to emotional, behavioral, and academic adjustment. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 48, 77-103.

7. Quatman, T., Sampson, K., Robinson, C., & Watson, C.M. (2001). Academic, motivational, and emotional correlates of adolescent dating. Genetic, Social, & General Psychology Monographs, 127, 211-234.

8. Jones, D.S., & White, A.B. (1990). Correlates of sexual activity in early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 10, 221-238.

9. Neemann, J., Hubbard, J., & Masten, A.S. (1995). The changing importance of romantic relationship involvement to competence from late childhood to late adolescence. Development & Psychopathology, 7, 727-750.

10. Phinney, V.G., Jensen, L.C., Olsen, J.A., & Cundick, B. (1990). The relationship between early development and psychosexual behaviors in adolescent females. Adolescence, 25, 321-332.

11. Ward, M.L., & Friedman, K. (2006). Using TV as a Guide: Associations Between Television Viewing and Adolescents Sexual Attitudes and Behavior. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 133-156.

12. Doyle, A.B., Brendgen, M., Markiewicz, D., & Jamkar, K. (2003). Family relationships as moderators of the association between romantic relationships and adjustment in early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 23, 316-340.

13. Search Institute (2006). 40 Developmental AssetsTM For Teens Minneapolis, MN: Search InstituteSM . Accessed on March 24, 2006.

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