Marrying too young.
In modern times, the ideal marrying age has gotten later, if people choose to marry at all. As far back as 20 years ago, the age to get married for women was in her mid-twenties. Today, women are choosing to tie the knot in their mid or even late thirties because they want to see and experience the world first before being “tied down” to adult responsibilities. But one of the many consequences of people who started dating well before they were ready is settling down too young. Someone who starts dating at 11 or 12 years old has gotten a head start in relationships as compared to his or her peers. By the time they reach their late teens or early twenties, they may grow sick of dating already and choose to settle down with someone who’s just as unready as them. We all know where marrying when not ready leads to.
2. Growing up too soon.
Growing up, we were told time and again by our elders to enjoy our childhood. They’re likely speaking from experience, as maybe they were forced to grow up prematurely, either because of hardships in the family or early relationships. But if there’s one thing that we remember as kids is that we were always so in a hurry to grow up. Prepubescent girls stuffed their bras and wore make-up and nail polish, while adolescent boys bragged about watching porn and kissing girls. And because they feel so mature, the next step is for them to start dating, which at that stage, is more a result of peer pressure than having genuine feelings of love. What they don’t realize is a relationship takes work and commitment, which is something they may not have a full grasp of yet at that age. Being in that situation may rob them of whatever joys a childhood can provide.
3. Strain in your relationship with parents.
Having a child who is coming of age is said to be the toughest part about being a parent. Adolescence and the early teen years are the stages when she’s confused about her maturity level. Is she a child or is she an adult? Can she make her own decisions or does she have to abide by her parents’ rules? And when that girl enters into a relationship at such a young age, it can cause friction between her and her parents. As parents, you feel your child is too young to be dating. You know her well enough to know that she’s not mature enough to make such commitments. But from the adolescent’s point of view, her parents are being irrationally strict by disapproving of her relationship. So what happens? Parents scold the child. And the child rebels, going behind her parents’ back so she can carry on with her boyfriend. This situation can certainly ruin a parent-child relationship, unless compromises are made.
4. Dating violence.
Emotional maturity happens at different ages for different people. But at adolescence, it’s safe to say you’re not emotionally capable yet of handling rough situations, which is why it’s not recommended to date at that age. With dating comes great, mushy times—but with it also comes issues, no matter how small the scale. You see your boyfriend acting friendly towards another girl and you immediately get jealous, even if it didn’t mean anything. Or he hates how demanding you are, when you always insist he spends his free time with you, that he has no more time for his friends or video games. This leads to fights and even cyber-harassment. Your partner can hack into your accounts and spy on you, not to mention say lewd things about you on his or her online space. Physical fights are a very real possibility as well. And this kind of behavior can carry on until adulthood.
5. Emotional trauma.
There’s a whole lot of truth to Sheryl Crow’s song entitled, “The First Cut Is The Deepest” and that’s coming from an adult. Because break-ups, at whatever age can be painful, but most especially the first time you experience heartbreak. And it’s almost inevitable that dating at such a young age means that it won’t really last since you’re both so young. Whether you’re the one who ends things or if you were the one who was dumped, it will still hurt. Usually the most painful reason for ending things is because of a third party. Either someone cheats or ends things because he found someone better than you. When you’re so attached to that person, a break-up can cause heartbreak so intense that it’s something you carry with you as you grow older. As a result, you suffer from emotional trauma, which can affect how you deal with situations and people as an adult.
6. Self-harm and dark thoughts.
The previous item talked about one effect of experiencing heartbreak as a tween is getting emotionally traumatized. Emotional trauma can lead to many kinds of behavior, the most dangerous of which is probably depression. How many times have we heard cases of people falling into depression and doing things like harming themselves or even attempting suicide? And these are adults. Young people are even more susceptible to taking their depression out in harmful ways towards themselves, simply because they feel they weren’t worthy of someone they thought loved them. What a person suffering depression needs most is a strong support system and for a teen, she needs her family and friends to help her through this rough time. Counseling with a professional would help her get through her depression as well, but it’s her loved ones that she will need the most to come out on the other side, happy and healed.
7. You avoid serious relationships as an adult.
When someone breaks up with you, you can sometimes feel blind-sided because you thought you guys were so happy. Then you find out he so carelessly broke up with you just to get with another girl. That can render anyone understandably shaken. So what do you do? You build walls around your heart and close yourself off to love because you’re afraid of getting hurt again. You refuse to be vulnerable again, to give anyone the power to break your heart again. And as you grow up, you settle for casual dating or even the occasional one-night stand to scratch that proverbial itch. Anyone who tries to get close to you, you push away in favor of meaningless flings. In other words, having your heart broken at such a young age can really do a number on you and your future relationships.
8. You lose your friends.
No matter what age you’re at, when you’re in a relationship, your tendency is to spend every waking hour with your partner, so much so that you forget about other people in your life. You don’t call or text your friends as often and soon, they’re posting photos on Facebook of their get-togethers with one person notably absent in almost all of the pictures: you. You decline invitations to their birthdays or sleepovers so often that they just stop contacting you completely because they know you won’t show up anyway. Then when your relationship fizzles out, you realize that you’re all alone and your friends have abandoned you. Or more accurately, you abandoned them. The next time you try to hang out with them, you realize you’ve drifted apart and that you no longer have anything in common. Word to the wise: don’t neglect your friends for a significant other! Sisters over misters any day!
9. Developing a negative body image.
Being broken up with can do a number on anybody and girls who are on the receiving end of a break-up tend to be severely affected, especially when they’re mere adolescents or teenagers. You tend to wrack your brain over and over and wonder what was so wrong with you that your partner preferred another person over you. You start thinking, “was I not pretty enough? Or smart enough? Or nice enough?” Perhaps the insecurity that stands out the most is that which stems from your physical appearance, since the media constantly shoves down our throats what beauty is supposed to be. So because you’re not tall, not skinny, have oily skin, and don’t have lustrous locks, you think you’re ugly and unworthy of any admirers. And while it’s good to improve yourself by eating healthy and exercising, it shouldn’t be to the point that you’re so obsessed with your outer appearance that you fail to embrace your inner beauty.
10. Difficulty establishing an adult identity.
It may sound cliché but it’s the truth: you have to know and love yourself first before you decide to share your life with someone else. And when you’re just a kid, your personality is still evolving, meaning you haven’t found your true identity yet. So when you start dating as a kid, it may not be the healthiest of relationships because you’re both still trying to get to know yourself. Being constantly with someone prevents you from getting to know who you really are and as a result, you can still be at a loss by the time you reach adulthood. What are your passions? Have you had the opportunity to pursue them? Are you independent and brave enough to be able to go on a long-haul trip on your own? These are questions you may not be able to answer if you’re always saddled down with someone. It’s best to learn to be alone and single first before letting someone into your life.