Early teenage relationships often involve exploring physical intimacy and sexual feelings. You might not feel ready for this, but you have an important role in guiding and supporting your child through this important developmental stage.
* About teenage relationships
* When teenage relationships start
* First crushes
* Early teenage relationships
* Talking about teenage relationships with your child
* Sex and teenage relationships
* Same-sex attraction and early sexual experimentation
* Dealing with break-ups in teenage relationships
* Extra help with teenage relationships
* Teenage relationships for children with special needs
About teenage ...view middle of the document...
Many teenagers spend a lot of time thinking and talking about being in a relationship. In these years, teenage relationships might last only a few weeks or months. It’s also normal for children to have no interest in romantic relationships until their late teens. Some choose to focus on schoolwork, sport or other interests.
Before your child starts having relationships, he might have one or more crushes.
An identity crush is when your child finds someone she admires and wants to be like.
A romantic crush is the beginning of romantic feelings. It’s about your child imagining another person as perfect or ideal. This can tell you a lot about the things that your child finds attractive in people.
Romantic crushes tend not to last very long because ideas of perfection often break down when your child gets to know the other person better. But your child’s intense feelings are real, so it’s best to take crushes seriously and not make fun of them.
Early teenage relationships
Younger teenagers usually hang out together in groups. They might meet up with someone special among friends, and then gradually spend more time with that person alone.
If your child wants to go out alone with someone special, talking about it with him can help you get a sense of whether he’s ready. Does he want a boyfriend or girlfriend just because his friends do? Does he think it’s the only way to go out and have fun? Or does he want to spend time getting to know someone better?
If the person your child is interested in is older or younger, it could be worth mentioning that people of different ages might want different things from relationships.
The most influential role models for teenagers are the grown-ups in their lives. You can be a positive role model for respectful relationships and friendships by treating your partner, friends and family with care and respect. Just talking about both men and women respectfully lets your child know you think everyone is equal and valuable.
Talking about teenage relationships with your child
Your family plays a big part in the way your child thinks about teenage relationships.
When you encourage conversations about feelings, friendships and family relationships, it can help your child feel confident to talk about teenage relationships in general. If your child knows what respectful relationships look like in general, she can relate this directly to romantic relationships.
These conversations might mean that your child will feel more comfortable sharing his feelings with you as he starts to get romantically interested in others. And the conversations can also bring up other important topics, such as treating other people kindly, breaking up kindly and respecting other people’s boundaries.
Having conversations with your child about sex and relationships from a young age might mean your child feels more comfortable to ask you questions as she moves into adolescence.
In some ways, talking about romantic and/or...