If you’re the parent of a well-behaved teen, you hopefully don’t feel the need to snoop on web chats or read text messages when he or she isn’t around. However, you can’t help it if you overhear a phone conversation from time to time. If, during these accidental incidents of eavesdropping, you hear your teen mention certain terms, such as “hooking up,” “hanging out” or “dating,” you may be wondering what exactly is being said.
1. What is “Dating?”
When teens talk about dating, they don’t necessarily mean going out on a date to the movies. “Dating” in today’s world generally means being involved in some sort of committed relationship. “Going out” is another common way to describe the typical boyfriend/girlfriend connection. To hear that your child is “dating” may be a bit odd for you, especially if he or she is too young to spend time with the opposite sex without supervision. However, it’s probably one of the better options considering that it usually involves staying true to one person and doesn’t necessarily indicate that sexual activities are taking place. Kids today often start “dating” long before they even think about having sex.
2. What is “Hanging Out?”
When your teen says that two people have been “hanging out,” it usually means that they are in the early stages of dating, hooking up or both. People who are hanging out are interested in each other in some way, but they are not necessarily looking for a committed relationship. If you find out your teenager is “hanging out” with a member of the opposite sex, you might want to consider having a talk about birth control. Sometimes “hanging out” may indicate a friends-with-benefits style relationship.
3. What is “Hooking up?”
“Hooking up” is a term that encompasses any form of an intimate physical relationship that doesn’t come with a strict commitment. It can indicate anything from kissing and heavy petting to full-on sexual intercourse. If you hear your teen talking about hooking up, it’s without a doubt time to talk about birth control. It’s also a good idea to talk about self-respect, reputation and how taking part in such casual intimate relationships can create lasting negative effects in life.
As parents, we all have to face it: At some point, our teenagers are going to begin having sex. We can’t necessarily control how and when that happens, but by practicing open, honest and non-judgmental communication, we can encourage them to talk to us about it. Try to remember that you were once a teen yourself, and while our culture has perhaps become a little less strict on sexuality over the years, certain things remain the same. Teenagers date and have sex, just like they always have. The only difference is, the parents of today are facing the issue with more honesty.