Everyone who knows me knows that I am constantly following teen trends. In my roles as a clinical psychologist and a mother I have the privilege of talking to teens frequently. And, they open up to me. I think that they love that someone is both fascinated by and interested in the specifics of their unique culture. I have been wondering constantly about the "hook-up" culture and teens' tendency to connect physically without accompanying dates. I will tell you more about teen relationship terms later but first I would like to share some good news. I went to a Main St. in Anywhere U.S.A. and asked teens about their idea of an ideal or dream date. See for yourself what they had to say. You will be surprised and maybe even shocked by their responses.
I was just blown away. Teen after teen described the ideal date as one during which they would go to dinner,the beach, picnics and even European vacations! Secretly, our teens are still romantics at heart even though they are growing up in a hook-up culture. Perhaps there is hope that there will be a shift away from this culture. Nothing would please me more. It appears that nothing would please this group of romantic teens more either.
And now for a glossary of teen relationship terms that I have gathered by talking to many teens over the course of the past few years. When teens these days say that they are DATING that means that a couple is emotionally and physically involved and have acknowledged their relationship on some form of social media. No surprise here, right?
Now for a description of "hook-ups" -- this occurs when two teens become physically involved with each other while attempting to keep emotions at bay. This is not always an easy task. Frequently, one member of the pair has hopes for an emotional connection and gets more than disappointed when their Saturday night hook-up doesn't acknowledge them in school on Monday.
I must tell you that it is both the males and the females who express this disappointment.
On to some relationship terms that every parent must know. How about "A THING?" Teens who exclusively hook up with one another are described as having a thing. When teens are "TOGETHER" that implies that they exclusively hook up with one another. YIKES!
I'm not even finished yet. When two teens like each other but their relationship is restricted to flirting then they are involved in a "FLIRTATIONSHIP." This differs from "SKINNY LOVE" where two teens seem to like each other but their feelings are not expressed. And, how about a "HALL PASS?" Here, teens give each other one time permission to hook up with someone else.
So, what is my goal here? I want parents and adults to know that even though teens may shy away from formal dating they still admit to wanting to go on romantic dates. Any ideas for how to move them back to good old fashioned dating?