Aug 08 2017

Teens and Young Adults Need Help Developing Mature Romantic Relationships

Published by at 8:30 am under Dating,Relationships

Young adults, mature relationship

Young adults are struggling to create mature romantic relationships. Is it because you’ve been too embarrassed to give them advice? Photo via Visual Hunt

There has been a lot of chatter in the news and more than a little parental fretting over the last few years about “hook-up culture” among teens and young adults. However, perhaps we should be worried less about the rise in casual sex and more about how today’s young adults are struggling and oftentimes failing to create mature romantic relationships.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education recently released a report titled “The Talk: How Adults Can Promote Young People’s Healthy Relationships and Prevent Misogyny and Sexual Harassment.” The report was written after years of research, surveys of over 3,000 young adults (18 -25 years old), and numerous in-depth interviews.

Among the bombshell findings of the report is that teens aren’t engaging in hook-up culture nearly as much as most adults seem to fear. However, they ARE struggling to figure out how to develop adult romantic relationships. According to the report, 70% of survey respondents “reported wishing they had received more information from parents about some emotional aspect of romantic relationships.”

Another surprising and disturbing find is that the “research suggests that a majority of parents and educators aren’t discussing with young people basic issues related to consent.” This includes making sure a partner wants to have sex, making sure you want to have sex, not pressuring a partner into having sex, and learning to determine if a partner is too intoxicated to give consent.

Assessment

Yes, the results of this survey look bad, but there is a silver lining. It seems like our next great generation isn’t as crass and casual about sex as so many of us feared. Many of our young adults actually want to have deeper, more profound and emotionally connected relationships…they just don’t know how. They also don’t know how to talk to parents and other adults about that tricky and uncomfortable topic of consent.

What this means is that we all have to step up. Even if you don’t have children yourself, you might have nieces and nephews. You might be an educator, a counselor, a coach, or someone else who can act as a friend or mentor to a younger person. If you are a younger person who has questions, ask them. Yes, it’s going to be awkward and possibly embarrassing, but don’t you actually want to know how to have a healthy relationship? Isn’t it pretty important to know what counts as consent and what doesn’t? If you don’t feel comfortable going to your parents, ask another adult in your life, ideally someone you respect who is in a stable, loving relationship that you would like to have for yourself one day.

Let’s not be squeamish about this, people. Our young generation needs our wisdom and our help. Don’t let the comfort of silence lead to messy, unhealthy relationships, or worse!

Check out a good recap of the report from Science Daily. There’s a lot of other good stuff that we didn’t cover in this article.

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