Summer Lovin’

Related Articles

News Roundup for Dec 5, 2022. The How To Be Stupid edition.

Readers who aren't stupid — ie those who read...

News Roundup-ette for Tuesday Nov 29, 2022. Misinformation edition!

How's that climate change emergency crisis narrative going? Not...

Obi-Wan Kenobi did not come from Saskatchewan.

People from outside of England say Worcestershire sauce like...

The Article

When I was seven years old I was heartbroken because my mother wouldn’t let me see the movie Grease. My friends were all seeing it, but Mom said it wasn’t appropriate. In retrospect, I’m not sure if it’s the movie itself that was inappropriate. I wonder if the behaviour that it extolled was also counterproductive, even for those much older.

We may like to romanticize those days of “summer lovin’”, as Travolta and Newton-John crooned, but is teenage dating really all it’s cracked up to be? Most of us have episodes in our past we would much rather forget. A recent study out of the University of Minnesota found that prolific dating isn’t even related to future successful social skills. It turns out that 15-17 year-olds who date a lot are less likely to have stable, healthy relationships in their 20s than those who date only one or two people, or not at all.

If we think about the motivations for dating, perhaps this makes sense. Most people date, I think, because it’s supposed to be fun. If that’s the case, though, then why are teenage lovers often so miserable? And how many of us have gotten over our first loves? It’s not that we would necessarily trade in the person we wake up beside every morning for the pimply-faced guy who kissed us goodnight at 15, but somehow getting one’s heart broken at 14 or 15 bears a pain that is quite unique. It’s not always easy to turn off feelings, and when the feelings jump ahead of reality, as they often do during the teen years, hurt is bound to come. That’s probably why teens who date a lot are more likely to suffer from depression and even to commit suicide than their wallflower friends.

Another reason to date is to find a mate. “Playing the field” helps us hone in on the type of person we would want to marry, doesn’t it? Yet how one acts when one is 15 and dating bears almost no resemblance to how one will act at 25 and married. Besides, dating a bunch of people in a row doesn’t teach you how to commit to someone. It teaches you how to bond and then break that bond. And it breaks your heart—or theirs—in the process.

And let’s not forget the other significant reason teens date: in order to have sex. I won’t even bother to comment much on why that’s a bad idea, but let’s just say that pregnancy, STD’s, possible future infertility, and the heartbreak that goes with it aren’t worth it. There are no condoms for the heart. A recent American study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found that 72% of 15-17 year-old-girls and 55% of boys who had been sexually active wish they had waited longer.

Many parents, especially those of us haunted by regrets from our early years, want our kids to avoid these problems, but we feel like there’s little we can do.  Well, let’s have a bit of a pep talk. We parents have far more power than we give ourselves credit for. On survey after survey, when kids are asked who they want sex education and advice from, parents top the list every time. But they’re not getting it from us, because we’re afraid to broach the topic. My daughter’s entering her teenage years soon, and I’m practicing my speech. It goes something like this:

These teenage years are precious. You can figure out what you’re good at, what the world is all about, and what’s important to you. Use these years to concentrate on yourself. Figure out who you are, and then you’ll be able to share that person with someone special when you’re in your twenties. That time’s not now, even if it may feel like it. Don’t throw your heart away on boys when you’re too young for a relationship to go anywhere. You’re worth more than that. Besides, if he’s the right man, he’ll still be there when you’re 20. Until then, learn how to be the right woman. That’s far more important in the long run.

Avatar
Latest posts by S. Wray Gregoire (see all)

You can use this form to give feedback to the editor. Say nice things or say hello. Or criticize if you must. 

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Message

    Do you Have a File to Send?
    If so, choose it below

    This is just a question to make sure you're not a robot:

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    — Normally this would be an ad. It's a doggy. —spot_img