Dating adolescent

Due to the association between early dating experiences in adolescence, and later experiences in adult relationships, the following series of articles will focus on what to expect as an adolescent enters the dating arena.

Part 1 of this series describes dating patterns and the development of romantic interest from early to late adolescence.

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Whether teens learn to use effective communication with others, or resort to yelling and screaming during disputes, these interpersonal practices often accompany teens into adulthood.

With this in mind, it's important for adolescents to learn healthy ways to interact, such as active listening, communicating effectively and respectfully, and finding healthy ways to resolve conflict.

Teens become more self-aware through involvement in romantic relationships, and learn how to interact with others on an intimate level, says Anita Gurian, Ph.

D., clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.

Dating also gives teens the chance to engage in independent decision-making -- making both favorable and unfavorable choices -- which is experience they'll need in order to navigate through adulthood.

Dating helps teens develop their interpersonal skills.

Through romantic relationships teens learn how to listen to their partners, communicate thoughts and feelings, apologize and empathize with their partner's emotions, notes Gurian.

The skills developed during adolescence will largely influence the way teens interact with romantic partners in adulthood.

Although it's true that some people marry their high school sweethearts, adolescent relationships often operate much differently than those of adults.

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