Stories about: teenage relationships

Love can drive you nuts: Teens, dating and food allergies

Written by Joshua Feblowitz, a Thriving contributor who has lived with severe food allergies his whole life.

image: flikr/Amarand Agasi

As food-allergic children reach their teens, they face many new challenges in allergy management, including a first date and even a first kiss, both of which hold hidden dangers. For parents, these romantic milestones can be especially stressful because they happen outside of their watchful, protective view.

Unfortunately for food-allergic teens, dating frequently involves dining out and all the potential allergens that come with it. In addition, research and personal anecdote has shown that kissing can sometimes cause a cross-contact reaction. On top of these dangers, teens are generally known to take more risks when it comes to their allergies or feel self-conscious about them. As a result they may resist previously established rules around exposure, or be shy explaining their dietary needs, which can lead to trouble.

So, what’s a worried parent to do? The simple truth is, as teens start dating (and being more socially independent in general), they must also start learning how to manage food allergies on their own. Here are a few things you can do as a parent to help navigate this transition safely, smoothly and with minimal conflict:

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Can love fight underage substance abuse?

Study shows young couples less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than single peers.
Study shows young couples less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than single peers.

When reminiscing about our first relationships, many of us tend to romanticize the past: stolen glances, first dates, first kisses and so on. Now, new research shows that young love may account for more than sweet memories; it may make young adults less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, which followed close to 1,000 people from grade school through young adulthood, people in their late teens and early 20s in committed relationships are almost 40 percent less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than their single or multi-dating peers.

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