Today, I welcome a guest post from Sylvia Smith. Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.
Is it time to talk to the teenager in your life about love and relationships? Talking above love (or even worse, sex!) sounds like the kind of cringe-worthy chat most teenagers would much rather not have with their parents. But in fact, an honest chat about love is an important part of preparing your teen for their transition into adulthood, and a good way to teach them about healthy relationships and boundaries.
Here are 10 reasons why you should be talking to your teens about love.
1. Teaching Them About Good Relationships
Romantic relationship is a new territory for your teenager. Talking to them gives you the chance to teach them what good relationships look like. You can empower them with the confidence to say no to any relationship that is less than respectful, and educate them about having healthy relationships.
2. Warning Them About Signs Of Abuse
Let your teen know what makes up an abusive relationship and be clear with them that they don’t have to accept any behavior they are uncomfortable with. Let them know that abuse isn’t only physical violence, but also covers put-downs, being pressured to do things they don’t feel happy with, or being steered away from family and friends. Look up some anti-abuse resources online and share them with your teen so they’ll be ready to spot any warning signs.
3. Setting Boundaries And Expectations
Teenagers notoriously like to push boundaries – it’s all part of growing up. Now is a good time to talk to your teenager about your boundaries and expectations around love and relationships. Discuss curfews and ground rules with them. Be prepared to negotiate and listen to their concerns. Talk openly about when and how (or if) it’s ok for them to stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or have them stay over.
4. Defining Love vs Lust
This isn’t about being puritanical or shaming your teen for normal impulses. But do talk to them about the difference between love and lust. Help them understand the importance of thinking carefully about major decisions such as how far to go with their partner, and when. Give them a good grounding in how to know whether a partner really cares for them, or is just looking for some fun.
5. Showing Them What Respect Looks Like
Respect is the key to healthy relationships. Talk to your teen about respect. What does it mean? Show them what respect looks like in a healthy relationship: Talking kindly to each other, taking interest in each others lives, and respecting each others feelings, needs and boundaries.
6. Starting A Discussion About Preferences
Figuring out everything about sexuality can feel like a minefield. Make things easier on your teenager by starting an open discussion with them and letting them know that it’s ok if they don’t have it all figured out right now. Reassure them that there’s nothing wrong with being bigender, agender, transgender, gay, or anything else. Let them know that no matter what, they’re just as perfect in your eyes.
7. Building Trust Between You
Talking openly about love, sex and relationships is a great way to build trust between you and your teen. They’ll see that they can talk to you about anything and you’ll be there to listen and offer thoughtful advice. That sets up a healthy, trusting dynamic between you and your teen. When they’re navigating the ups and downs of love and need someone to help them, they will turn to you.
8. Showing Them How To Navigate Emotions
Emotions are tricky when you’re a teenager. Suddenly you have all these intense feelings, and we’re sure you remember how dramatic situations can get when there are a few teens involved. Teach your teen about emotional self care and regulation and help them to know themselves and handle their emotions better. They’ll be better equipped for dealing with the emotions of first relationships and first love.
9. Teaching Them How To Stay Safe
Love and dating aren’t always safe. You can let your teen know that without scaring them. Talk to them about staying safe,tell them to always keep an eye on their drink and make sure someone knows where they are. This is also a good time to chat with them about safe sex.
10. Being There For Them
Talking to your teen about love lets them know that you’re there for them as they go through this exciting and turbulent time in life. By modeling respect and openness, you build trust and make it easier for them to come to you to share their joys and worries.
Being a teenager is fun, challenging and tumultuous. Talk to the teenager in your life about love and give them the tools they need to form healthy relationships now and for the rest of their lives.
About the author:
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.