Dating Program - What's New? Sept/Oct 1999
Mon Sep 27 16:37:58 EDT 1999
from: Smart Marriages
This article is by Char Kamper on the new CONNECTIONS curriculum
she presented at the July "Smart Marriages" conference. The program
is excellent for use in schools or youth groups.
Developing Skills for Sound Interpersonal Relationships
By Charlene Kamper
September/October 1999 What's New in Home Economics
Never before in American history has there been such a heightened
towards adolescent emotions. And never before have the Family and Consumer
Sciences and health curricula been more vital to focus on this issue
help our young people better understand how to relate to each other.
most difficult of these relationships begin in the confusing world of
Teens are keenly aware that they are growing physically, emotionally,
cognitively and socially at different rates over a period of years.
these changes is a developmental process that everyone experiences. These
changes are often accompanied with a sense of insecurity and self-doubt.
being connected with others is a way of increasing self-esteem and gives
sense of belonging.
Dating provides a way to connect with others in a significant way.
dating requires two important elements: maturity and skill. Maturity is
demonstrated by the ability to consider someone else's needs as well as
own. Skill develops over time, after individuals have a clearly defined
self before trying to build a significant relationship with others.
A Discussion About Dating
Begin a discussion about dating with the following questions: Have you
been on a date? Is dating a good idea? Why do people date?
Answers will probably center around, "Because you like someone;" or "For
reasons" or "Because your friends do."
Ask students to write about their best date or group activity with
Have volunteers share their experiences. Ask the class if there were
common from the experience that made the event a positive memory. Write
these common experiences on a blackboard under "DATING DOs." Again,
may center around "It was fun;" I liked who I was with" or "My date was
Next, do the same activity, but this time ask them to record experiences
were not good. Place common traits of these experiences under "DATING
Explain that dating is the same as any other important skill one must
like driving or studying. Learning more about an individual's personal
expectations helps them to define these expectations, such as:
A person should date a good friend (Yes/No)
It's best to go out with a group of friends first (Yes/No)
Going out with someone means you spend most of your free time with
It is important for your friends to like the person you are dating
A person should act or dress in a certain way to be noticed by someone
hopes to attract (Yes/No)
Stages of Dating
Students need to understand that in the beginning stages of dating, it
uncommon for individuals to feel pressures to move their relationship too
quickly toward physical intimacy. It is important to help them understand
the best relationships are those that develop over time and allow the
individuals to get to know one another in a variety of situations.
Four important areas of knowing another person are:
How does this person act around other people including family and
How does this person demonstrate emotional balance and control
What are the person's attitudes and belief systems (cognitive)?
How does this person show affection and caring (physical)?
Relationships that are built on true knowledge of the other person have
best chance of surviving. True knowledge is based on trust, to be able to
someone enough to disclose things about your true self. This takes time
be risky, but this trust is the crux of a strong relationship.
Helping students to clarify their personal expectations in any
help them to make better choices. Establishing and maintaining personal
standards can eliminate unwanted situations or feelings of regret at a
time. Adolescents -- and adults -- need to be reminded that maintaining
relationships takes work, practice and time. Sure the road can be bumpy
sometimes, but the overall intimacy of a good, healthy relationship, is a
fulfilling life goal.
Charlene Kamper is the author of the curriculum Connections: Dating and
Emotions, an interpersonal relationships unit for secondary students (The
Fund, 800/695-7975; c1999).
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