Teen Relationship Advice
Teen relationship advice is something that many parents avoid, believe their kids are too young for, and are not sure how to approach.
To be honest, offering teen relationship advice is complicated. Privacy is vitally important for most teens; especially when it comes to the social and emotional confusion that makes up a relationship. So, the trick is, how do you offer supportive advice without judgement, bias, or condescension.
One of the best approaches is to set embarrassment aside and focus on the proactive details of a teen relationship; helpful and positive steps your teen can take to explore fun, happy, and growth inspiring relationships.
ASK: Are you comfortable with them?
- Can you act like yourself around them or are you always second guessing your actions
- Are you comfortable disagreeing or having a different opinion than they do
- Do you trust them when you are not together
- Do they pressure you to do things you are not comfortable with (including sexual activity, going places you do not want to, wearing things you are not comfortable with, or treating people in ways you do not want to)
ASK: Are you still making time for your friends?
Just because you are dating someone does not mean that you should drop all of your friends. You need a wide circle of friends throughout your teen years; including boy, girl, and best friends.
ASK: Do you still feel like you?
Trying new activities is always an exciting and fun thing. But, make sure that you keep the spark and interests that make you the unique individual you are. No one wants to date their clone. Your strong sense of identity and unique interests are not only essential for your well-being but will also help your teen relationship grow.
ASK: Do you see any warning signs?
One of the biggest components of teen dating is trying out relationships. You learn what you do and do not want in a partner. Because this growth is part of the process, you need to pay attention to the warning signs signaling that the relationship you are in is not meant to last. It does not mean that every teen relationship is doomed, it just mean that it is okay if the one you are in is not your forever love. Pay attention to problems and warning signs. Problems will only get bigger if you ignore them; if you practice talking about issues now, then not only might you fix them but you will also gain solid skills for future relationships. Working through problems is essential to any good relationship.
ASK: Can you disagree with each other in a positive way?
Teen years are all about practice; perfecting those skills you will need as an adult. Disagreeing with someone is one of those essential lifelong skills you need to practice. Conflict does not always have to be bad or relationship ending. In fact, healthy conflict can bring a couple closer together if you are able to follow some rules while you argue:
- Explain how you feel and be specific
- Listen to how your partner feels and try to be understanding
- Avoid generalizations (always and never should be avoided at all costs)
- Don’t bring up past disagreements
- Try to say things that are productive and not critical
As you are talking with your teen, make sure to listen to them as well. The subject of relationships and dating is embarrassing and often uncomfortable for both of you and the details may get lost in squeamish reactions. Make an extra effort to be open to conversation and pause before responding to make sure that you have heard your teen. Are you truly responding to what they said or reacting to your own preconceived notions.
Communication is key! You want to make sure that your teen is open to hearing teen relationship advice both when the relationship is happy and new as well as when it becomes intensive or overwhelming.
If you have any questions about offering teen relationship advice or encouraging your teen to open up to you, then we can help.
Miguel Brown is here to help you start that conversation with humor, understanding, and sincerity. To learn more about teen relationships, other teen issues, and how best to work through them, you can Schedule an Appointment online or give us a call at 786-383-0353.