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4 Questions Your Dating Teen Should Know

You’re watching your teen discuss the new interest in their life. You’re struck by the perfection of the other person. You interject a question here and there and what is meant as a gentle reality check provokes shock and disagreement. You secretly hope they don’t get hurt since well, they don’t seem like as good a match as your teen makes it sound.

Although your teen in love can seem completely out of this world, you can teach them a systematic way to look at their relationship and more importantly look at themselves within a relationship. A great system of checks and balances makes sure they’re on the right rack in their relationship. Kaycee Jayne author of Frog or Prince? The Smart Girl’s Guide to Boyfriends has four questions that can put falling in love, less of a fall.

1. Are they a source of attraction for me?
Your teen is clearly taken by this person, and you can often tell by what they’re willing to do for this potential mate. They may even ask about a certain recipe or offer to get up at 5.00 AM for a run. You think to yourself you’re going to be up at 5.00A? These are the acts of kindness that are easy to do when you’re teen is attracted to someone. They don’t feel like a chore because they get such a rush for doing nice things for and with this person. However Ms Jane warns that this feeling isn’t confused with the physical chemistry someone feels in a relationship. The physical chemistry can make someone think they’re in love and is used unfortunately to make excuses for a potential partner’s bad behavior towards them. So your teen keeps doing nice things and attending to this partner’s needs while ignoring their own. Over time with little being given back your teen may not feel so good about getting up at 5.00A. If your teen is starting to complain about all the stuff they do for their partner, the answer to whether this person is a source of attraction for them might be, “No.”

2. Do I like myself when I am with them?
Jealousy, fear and anxiety are things that can happen when your teen feels like they don’t know enough about their partner’s feelings about them. Sometimes partners will consciously keep a mate guessing to be mean since it bring s up someone’s insecurities. If this happens for your teen they may notice that they don’t feel very cared for or loved in their relationship. This feeling makes them act desperate and insecure making your teen call, text or check up on their partner, ask about glances at other people or create drama to test the person’s love for them. Your teen becomes someone they don’t like when they’re with this person and that can be a huge revelation for your teen. If your teen is behaving like this with their new partner, the answer to whether they like themselves when they’re with this person might be, “No.”

3. Do I like this person as a person when they aren’t with me?
This is more than someone just wondering what others will say about my partner. This is about looking at this person with a critical mind and assessing what kind of person is this? Is this someone who helps an elderly person with their bags when they see them struggling near their car or is it someone who steals from the shopping bag as the woman has her back turned as she loads her car herself? Deciding whether their partner has admirable characteristics doesn’t mean they have to be a saint, but they should be someone of whom your teen is proud when others talk about them. These behaviors tell your teen a lot about who they are dating. If they find themselves saying, Wow, I don’t like having to defend who this person is to others because I don’t like their behavior, then the answer to if they like the person when they aren’t with your teen might be, “No.”
However the pull of physical chemistry can be so strong that your teen still makes excuses as to why their partner is acting the way they do. Your teen may even think they can change the partner for the better by staying in the relationship or that the person will change for your teen. This rarely happens; People change because they want to not because of a relationship.

4. Am I a source of attraction for them?
Just like your teen doing things for someone they are attracted to, the person they’re interested in should want to do things for your teen. When your teen seems to give a lot and get nothing in return in terms of compromise or acts of kindness, your teen should begin to wonder if this person is attracted to them or cares for them enough to make these kinds of compromises. If the answer is that this person is not willing to make such compromises for your teen then your teen’s answer to if they are the source of attraction for this person might be, “No.”
With four Nos, it may be best for your teen to consider ending this relationship. It doesn’t mean it isn’t hard since physical chemistry can make someone so heartbroken, but in order for your teen to create a healthy, mutually sacrificial and rewarding relationship they need practice asking these tough questions and listening to their even tougher answers.

Adekemi Oguntala, MD is an adolescent medicine physician, author, speaker, educator. She blogs at http://theteendoc.com/

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