Teen Guide to Smart Dating

Alyssa Pham and Allison van der Plas

Relationship Advice Column

Our advice for smarter dating as a teenager is that you should think about the consequences and how it will affect you mentally, socially, physically, and spiritually. Be sure to have good communication between you and your partner, and make sure you get to know them really well. Mainly, apply your common sense to situations that you feel uncomfortable with.
Healthy Relationships (Shelter from the Storm - Youth Advisory Council) Video.wmv

Benefits of Abstinence

Three benefits of staying abstinent are that you won't get pregnant, STD's/HIV, or any emotional guilt or regret. Physically, teens aren't completely ready to have a child, so it wouldn't be tiring and draining. Mentally, regret and emotional guilt are not likely to occur because of your values, beliefs, and your family's opinions. Socially, when you involve yourself in sexual activity as a teenager, you are a target for bullying, abuse, harassment, and name calling.

Avoiding Unplanned Sexual Activity

1. Avoid situations that involve alcohol or drugs. This could cause a lapse in judgement due to you being mentally impaired by being drunk or high.

2. Avoid situations where you are alone with your partner along with a sexually active couple. This could result in negative peer pressure to engage in unplanned sexual activity.

3. Avoid situations when you are alone with your partner without any parental supervision. This can result in negative peer pressure from your partner to engage in sexual activity.

Setting Boundaries for Romantic Relationships

To effectively create a safe and healthy relationship, setting boundaries can help support more communication, a better understanding of the other person's values, and guidelines when you are in a tricky situation. You can do this by sitting down with your partner, and talking about your own values and beliefs on certain subjects like drugs, alcohol, and sex. Next, set some boundaries for situations. How far are you both comfortable going, knowing the consequences? This can help you when you are faced with something. You will know what to do, and the other person will know, too.

Healthy and Safe Expressions of Affections

Showing affection can be tricky for some teens. What are my boundaries? What do normal people do? Should I go beyond my boundaries? These are just a few questions you may have. Everything you say and do with your partner means something. Some healthy ways to show affection to your partner are to start by holding hands, maybe an arm around their shoulder, or simply giving them a small gift. It really depends on you and your partners decision to move on to hugging and kissing. Some people want to save their first kiss for their wedding day, and others kiss in the first week or so. Make sure you have good communication between you and your partner.

Refusal Skills and Pressure Lines

Sr. Jeffers: You know I love you. [Moves in closer]

Rebecca: Of course, but I don't think we are ready for that yet. [Slowly moves away]

Sr. Jeffers: Aren't you curious? [Takes a step closer]

Rebecca: We have to get going if we are going to make the dinner reservations.

Sr. Jeffers: It will only take me a couple minutes.

Rebecca: Stop that, we have to get going. [Nudges him away]

Sr. Jeffers: Come on, Mike and Melinda have done it.

Rebecca: I have different values, you should respect them.

Sr. Jeffers: Fine, let's just go eat.

Rebecca: Okay, we can talk about this later.

Accessing Information

Source: Project For Teens

Address:

P.O. Box 3341
Mankato, MN 56002

Link: http://www.projectforteens.org/

Bio

Allison:

I am a teenage girl currently learning about Sexuality in health class. I know the struggles of going through changes and dealing with them. The main thing about dating is that you should really look towards your own beliefs and values. Make sure what you are doing is safe and healthy, and wont lead to any negative consequences.


Alyssa:

I am also a teenage girl learning about Sexuality in health class. The main thing I've learned for healthy relationships is that communication is important. Take time to discuss your boundaries between your partner also. Before doing anything serious with your relationship, be sure to get to know the person enough to trust them. Know each other's boundaries, values, and beliefs.

Reporting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Abuse, and Child Abuse

Name: Minnesota State University Reporting Procedure*

Site: http://www.mnsu.edu/safety/sexualassaultpolicy.html

Phone Number: 1-800-722-0544


Name: Police*

Site: http://www.mankato-mn.gov/CustomerService/

Phone Number: 911

Address: 10 Civic Center Plaza Mankato, MN 56001

*=Local (Mankato Area)

Consequences of Early Sexual Activity

Physical:

1. Pregnancy

2. STD's

3. HIV

Mental:

1. Increase in depression

2. Shame or guilt

3.Low self-esteem

Social:

1. Being Bullied

2. Friends leave you

3. Staying separated from people

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship

Healthy Relationship:

1. Good communication

2. Trust

3. Respect

4. Same values and beliefs

5. Boundaries


Unhealthy Relationship:

1. Poor communication

2. Too much dependence on other person

3. Arguments and Fighting often

4. Jealousy

5. Lack of trust