Significant dating most commonly begins in late adolescence, ages 15 - 18, during the high school years.
By "significant" I mean when young people want to experience a continuing relationship that involves more interest and caring than the casual socializing or friendship they have known before.
Maturational changes are simultaneously occurring within the individual in a number of critical areas: physical development toward adulthood, regulation of emotional expression, increased cognitive abilities, and expanded social interactions.
While these changes are normative and expected, the new emerging self presents the adolescent with uncharted situations requiring skills that have not yet been mastered.
This increased vulnerability and intimacy requires greater trust among peers.
Thus, during the adolescent years, teen peer groups become increasingly important as teens experience more closeness in these friendships and more gratifying relationships with their peers as a result.
Because acceptance by a peer group becomes so important, teens may modify their speech, dress, behavior, choices, and activities in order to become more similar to their peers.
This increased similarity among peers provides them a sense security and affirms their acceptance into their chosen peer group.
If one does not have a secure sense of personal identity and self-worth, trying to establish friendships or dating relationships can be a source of confusion and disappointment.They want to pair up, at least for a while, to experience what a more serious involvement is like.At this juncture, it can be helpful if parents can provide some guidelines for evaluating the "goodness" of a relationship.Watch TV shows together that focus on teen relationships.Use these shows to examine positive and negative interactions between characters. Use concrete examples to remind him of how good it felt when someone understood what he was saying or feeling.