Teen Dating & Consent


The last time I wrote a blog about teen dating, I shared that my colleague, Lisa Allred, and I were learning new terms from the teens in our lives. One was “ship”.  Of course, the funny part was that although Lisa got the concept correct, she mis-remembered the actual term.  She thought the term was “boat” not “ship”. According to Lisa, her daughter told her that when you endorse a romantic relationship between a friend and someone s/he likes, you “ship” them…as in “relationship”. 🙂  We still chuckle over that one, but it reminds us that we are no longer in-the-know and that leaves us feeling uneasy.

One area we all have a hard time keeping up with is the dating scene among adolescents. It’s fine to talk about dating in the abstract, but when it hits closer to home, our anxieties begin to emerge. Our job as parents is to manage our anxiety and clarify our values/expectations as we guide our emerging adults in a way that prepares them to become relationally healthy adults.

One key area of expectation that we need to address with both our sons and daughters is consent. I think a video that most succinctly addresses this in a playful way that actually drives home the point is the YouTube video, “Tea and Consent” . A good definition is found on this same website: Sexual consent is where a person has the ability and freedom to agree to sexual activity. It is vital the person seeking and instigating sex makes sure their partner is participating freely and readily. To have sex without consent is to commit rape.”

Since I last posted on this topic, we have all heard many news stories where this principle has been violated…particularly on college campuses. If your son or daughter is college-bound (or even if they are not), you need to make sure they are prepared to act responsibly in this regard.  Your silence on this topic will not lead to the outcome you imagine: a relationally healthy and responsible young adult.

Don’t fool yourselves. Your teens are getting messages on this subject…from the media, from the internet, from their friends.  But are they hearing from you? I’d encourage you to watch this short 3-minute video together and have a conversation!


About Author

Page Cvelich

College/Teen Program Manager

Page Cvelich has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Work/Life Center from prior experience as a high school guidance counselor and parent education coordinator. Page has been responsible for setting up a high school college and career center, designing a career exploration program for teens and serving as a counselor at a backpacking camp in the Rockies. In her role as Teen/College Program Manager, Page enjoys interacting with small groups of parents and teens, as well as consulting one-on-one with parents and referring them to resources so that they are better able to provide the support and encouragement their kids need.

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