The teenage years are a critical point for social development, especially when teens begin romantic relationships. As children enter adolescence, they develop the cognitive ability to explore their identities and societal roles.
In adolescence, children’s center of social interaction changes from the family to their peers, and as teens gain independence from their parents, they begin exploring types of relationships other than platonic friendships. One common type of teen relationship is dating, where adolescents spend time with a romantic partner. Dating often starts between the ages of 14 and 16 years, lasting usually a few months and taking place in group social contexts. Later teenage relationships tend to become longer as pairs form from the group and begin to spend time away from the group. In these relationships, the couple develops a sense of shared identity while providing mutual support for one another.