Teens and Relationships
Relationships get really interesting during the teen years. And I’m not just talking about boy-girl relationships (although, those get REALLY interesting) I’m talking about ALL relationships from friends to parents to siblings to teachers. But the one thing that is consistent about relationships is that they’re typically between two people and rely heavily on communication and interaction – which is not always easy for teens to process at this young(er) age. Watching my daughters struggle with dealing with some people and how they change in an instant, I thought it would be helpful to offer them some tips on dealing with people and relationships – no matter what level it’s on.
- Once a liar, always a liar: I don’t care if you are 5, 15, 35 or 65 – if a person lies to you once, they’ll lie to you twice. And then again after that. You know the old saying “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”? This is the reason that was written. We know it’s really, really hard to believe that someone who you love and/or confided in and called your best friend or boy/girlfriend could ever lie to you and wouldn’t it be so easy just to forgive them this one time? Sure, but what’s your plan for when they do it again? Will you be strong enough to walk away then?
- Cheaters gonna cheat: Along the same lines as lying, but typical more in romantic relationships, if someone cheats on you and you find out, you better run for the hills and never look back. Because now they’ve lied AND cheated and if you let them back in, the only thing they’re going to do is get better at not getting caught. Someone who doesn’t respect you enough to stay faithful doesn’t deserve your time much less your attention.
- “You can’t tell me who I can be friends with”: I see this a lot with the girls and their friends. It’s this game of “I can be friends with this person but you can’t”. If you are dating someone and there is some reason why they would get upset that you’re friends with someone (another guy for instance.. maybe one you used to date), that’s a bit of a different story. If you have a true relationship and you’re both committed, out of respect for each other this “rule” is okay. But other than that, it’s possessive and not acceptable.
- It’s okay to argue: That means you’re both still passionate to care about the relationship. Now what you have to figure out is how to argue, discuss why you’re arguing and – heaven forbid – understand that the other person has a point and may actually be right. This time 😉 What you have to watch out for is when arguing starts to be the MAIN thing that you do. If that’s what’s happening, then there is a larger problem there than a one time difference. Another thing to watch for is if the other person won’t listen to your side of the argument. This means they’re only concerned about themselves and that’s not a healthy relationship.
- Love does not hurt. This one should go without saying, but sadly there are so many people who think that abusing someone – either physically or mentally – is acceptable in a relationship. Young girls especially tend to be very insecure and easily manipulated by boys in their lives. And boys can be as well, but it’s definitely more common in girls. Our kids need to be taught to not hit each other as well as how to get out of an abusive situation and how to ask for help and not fear being judged.
- Keeping score is for the football field. Unless things have become really out of whack with one person doing more than the other, there’s no reason to keep a score on who’s done what, who’s bought what etc. In a relationship, you give because you want to and when you start feeling like it’s becoming unbalanced, then that’s the time to have a discussion. Plus all adults know that there is ALWAYS $20 floating between two friends.
- Don’t lose touch with others. When you’re in a new relationship – whether it’s a BFF or a new BF – it’s hard to imagine that you will want to spend time with anyone else but you need to. At some point – whether it’s a breakup or a fight – you’re going to need your family and your friends and if it’s been 6 months since you even picked up the phone to talk to them, they’ll be there for you but that’s just not fair to them. Boy/girlfriends and besties are special but not at the expense on those who’ve been there for you forever.