|Wednesday, June 16th, 2010||| CWK Producer|
“Girls, definitely, tell me that they feel like they have to do the sexual requests, they have to honor the sexual requests of their boyfriends or they will get dumped. And there are a lot of girls that are feeling pressure that way.”
– Nancy McGarrah, Ph.D., licensed psychologist
A recent study entitled "Dating and Disclosure," published in the Journal of Adolescence, says that when it comes to sharing details about dating, teenage girls talk more with their parents – and it's more likely to be mom. Perhaps most parents would like their kids to kiss and tell – and some might have special worries about daughters dating an older boy. According to another study, it turns out they have good reason to be worried.
Sarah is 19 and her boyfriend is 22.
"Because I am dating an older guy, you know, I am very more open to alcohol, just because, I can ask him, 'Hey can you go to the store and buy me something?'" says Sarah, 19.
She says another risk of dating an older guy is being pressured into having sex. "I think a lot of guys especially in high school will go for younger girls just because they'll give it up, you know."
In fact, according to a study by the non-profit group Child Trends, one in five girls has dated a boy at least three years older and 10 percent say they've had sex with an older boy before they turned sixteen.
"Girls, definitely, tell me that they feel like they have to do the sexual requests, they have to honor the sexual requests of their boyfriends or they will get dumped. And there are a lot of girls that are feeling pressure that way," says Nancy McGarrah, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist.
What's more, according to the study, girls who date older guys are less likely to use protection, more likely to become pregnant, and twice as likely to acquire an STD.
"Frequently the younger girl is naïve. Sometimes she doesn't have the assertiveness to stand up for herself and demand that a condom be used," says McGarrah.
"When guys are older...girls will trust them, 'Oh he knows what he's talking about. He has more experience," says Lim.
Experts say parents need to set ground rules, they can only date someone one grade above or below, only group dates until they're sixteen and if they argue...
"Explain to them that you trust them and you know that they are a mature person but at the same time there's different levels of maturity and just like they are not ready to get married they are not ready to have babies they are also not ready to be in relationships with people significantly older than they are," says McGarrah.
When it comes to talking to parents about most dating issues, teen girls tend to disclose more than boys, and both sexes generally prefer to talk to their mothers.
However, a new study found that girls and boys are equally close-mouthed about issues involving sex and what they do with their dates while unsupervised. And in this case, teens were no more eager to talk to their mothers than they were their fathers.
Parents can talk with their teens about what it means -- and the qualities – of a healthy dating relationship. When a boyfriend or girlfriend uses verbal insults, mean language, nasty putdowns, gets physical by hitting or slapping, or forces someone into sexual activity, it's an important warning sign of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. Ask your teen to question whether his or her boyfriend or girlfriend:
Hopefully, you and your significant other are treating each other well. Not sure if that's the case? Take a step back from the dizzying sensation of being swept off your feet and think about whether your relationship has these qualities:
Encourage your teen to think about the qualities they value in a friendship and see how they match up with the ingredients of a healthy relationship. Work on developing those good qualities in yourself — they make you a lot more attractive to others.