Folks of the same feather, so to say, flock together. Teenagers of the same interest group together. If they meet somebody who interests them more than the others; if they feel special towards someone in the group, they get close and would like to get more time from each other.
By the time they have crossed adolescence, more than 40 % of kids have had an experience of teen relationship. Teenage relationships are a natural phenomenon of adolescence, as normal as an acne breakout!
How normal is ‘normal’ in a teenage relationship
The fact that kids from the age of 13 to 15 are still in the process of gaining a hold of their physiological and psychological changes, 16 is supposedly the right age for a teenage relationship. The sweet sixteen, like they say, are emotionally mature and are responsible enough towards themselves.
Dating is an essential part of being a teenager. The process the young teens go through is a vital part of their growing into adults later in their lives. Dating is a way to develop interpersonal skills. It helps to build an identity of oneself. Emotional quotient increases when the kids bond with their peers. Dating is considered to aid psychological development too.
Teenage relationships like every other relationship have a signal which beeps intuitively about anything that is not going right. It sends signs of keeping away from the relationship and questioning its very existence. Red flags pop up in the mind when the ways of affection in the relationship begins to turn hurtful.
Healthy and Unhealthy Teen Relationships
Relationships when healthy can have a great impact on the mental wellness of our being. The sense of being cared for does wonders to our approach to life and living. Teenage relationships can be healthy if an awareness of what elements make it healthy or unhealthy to take it forward.
Healthy relationships have defined features. Few of these are essentials of a healthy relationship.
· A healthy relationship thrives on respect for each other. Taking each other for who they are and for what they do. Respecting each other’s space and boundaries is one of the foremost to a healthy relationship.
· A mutual give and take works wonders in a relationship. As it goes too, it is first to give and then to take!
· Communication is the best tool to measure the health of a relationship. To be able to freely voice opinions and suggestions is the foundation of any relationship; more importantly it is with teenage relationships.
· There are possibilities of partners participating in sexual activities. Partners should regard each other’s comfort zones and consent.
Unhealthy relationships too can be determined by characteristics such as these.
· Unreasonable control of each other’s preferences is unhealthy for a relationship.
· Jealousy of the partner’s progress and intimidating the partner is a red flag in a relationship.
· Physical violence and sexual violence are huge signs of an unhealthy relationship.
It is important that the teenagers are taught to sense the red flags before it is too late.
Role of Parents in teenage relationship
When their child grows into a teenager, there is a mounting stress in the parents. This can be avoided to a great level if the parents follow few parenting guidelines.
· Listen to your teenager. Listen to whatever is being told without being judgemental.
· Parents ought not to be dismissive but answer the questions asked about dating and sex without embarrassment.
· Parents should strive to be role-models for positive behaviour with their spouse.
· Being aware of the surging hormones helps.
· Being supportive and understanding towards the changes in the teenager will build confidence in themselves.
· Discussing one’s own experience as a teenager in a romantic relationship does play as an insight to what to expect. Worrying about the teenage relationship of the child is going to shy them away from sharing with the parents.
· Being respectful to the child’s dating partner will strengthen the parent-child bond.
· Discuss about respectful and disrespectful relationships. It might help them recognise when they are in one.
· It is natural that the parents are concerned about the time consumed by their child in the teenage relationship. The distractions are too many for the excited child, especially if it is new. Parents should involve in nudging the child to realise what is more a priority such as their studies.
· Admonishing the teenager for neglecting the studies will only push them away from the priorities. It might only add to the peer-pressure they are supposedly in.
· Educating about teenage relationships goes a long way in what to expect from the relationship. It keeps violence, low self-confidence, disillusion, and depression thereof, at bay.
Role of a teenager in a teenage relationship
In adolescence, teenage relationships are healthy and normal. Having said that, it is important to know that it is purely physical attraction and very rarely lasts a lifetime.
Long-lasting relationships do not come served on a platter. Teen relationships like any other relationship needs work to be done in a constant mode. When the intentions are right; there is a want to be in a relationship; teenage relationships too can be healthy, matured, friendly and long-lasting journeys. Few pointers to make it so are
· Avoid being desperate to be in a relationship
· Watch out for peer pressure
· Look for someone with whom you can be you
· Look for a healthy partnership
· Be aware of good and bad pointers of a relationship
· Stay away from abuse of any kind
· Do not keep sex a priority
· Take the parents into confidence.
To sum up
Every relationship we have in our life-be it with our teachers, colleagues, friends, plays a significant catalyst in our own mental wellness. So it is with teenage relationships. The teenagers are naive. They are gullible. They follow peer pressure which could go awry. Parents have an important role to be a role-model themselves. Being aware of red flags of an unhealthy relationship can avoid mental scars. In creating a supportive environment at home, parents can ensure a healthy experience for their teenagers in a relationship.
From sharing her views on blogs in MoTA to being a blogger in it, Lakshmi Srinath has been writing her thoughts since 2010. Thanks to a persuasive face-reader, she took Content writing on to a next level since August 2021 with a certification in the same, from Henry Harvin Education, India. When she is not among her thoughts and words writing content, you will find her pursuing her hobby in art or gardening or just gossiping the latest on insta, with her daughter. She staunchly believes that mental wellness leads to physical wellness. Lakshmi lives in Pune, India with her daughter and husband.