Talking about romance with teenagers can be embarrassing for everyone
involved. However, teenagers look to adults for guidance and we can have more of an impact than we realize.
The Child Mind Institute provides some helpful relationship DOs and DON’Ts
parents can share with their kids.
Do look for someone you feel comfortable with. ‘Comfortable’ has different
definitions for everyone, but it can mean:
-You can be yourself with this person
-You can have different opinions on something, and know that it’s okay.
-You trust each other when you’re not together
-You aren’t pressured to do things you don’t want to do.
Don’t forget your friends. Some people get so wrapped up in their
relationships that they drop all their friends. While this isolation may be
unintentional, it’s important to have a social life outside your boyfriend or
Do be your own person. It’s normal to share interests with your significant
other. However, it is important to keep developing an identity outside of that
person. Keep thinking about what you like and what you need.
Don’t hide from problems. A problem in your relationship doesn’t automatically mean it’s doomed, but they will get bigger if you hide from them. It’s better to
admit when something is wrong, talk about it together, and try to fix it together.
Do know the difference between good and bad conflict. Conflict is not
always a bad thing and can bring a couple closer together if handled
Do know the signs of an abusive relationship. According to Love is Respect, here are some warning signs of dating abuse:
-Checking your cell phone or email without permission
-Constantly putting you down
-Extremely jealousy or insecurity
-Isolating you from your family or friends
-Making false accusations
-Physically hurting you in any way
-Telling you what to do
-Pressuring or forcing you to have sex
The above relationship DOs and DON’Ts are a great place for parents to start
when talking with their teenagers about romantic relationships. It’s important to
listen and communicate with your teen and try to avoid looking squeamish! And do your best to lead by example and model these values in your own
Stay Healthy, Chaps!
-Kristi Waidhofer and Elizabeth Sterling (previous MSSW Intern)