Dating and physical boundaries
Statistics from a study on risky youth behavior published in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tell the story: We cite these numbers to make two key points.
First, to acknowledge that some pre-teens are way past the “sex sounds gross” stage, and second, to suggest that the decline in early sexual activity seems to – we have no data for this – coincide with adult willingness to discuss sex and sexuality in an open, honest, and direct manner.
Your teenager should be aware it’s inappropriate for their romantic interest to pressure them into anything.
Remind them that compromise in a relationship does not mean they compromise on non-negotiables such as emotional, physical, and digital boundaries. Compromise means coming to a mutual decision on what movie to go see, where to sit at lunch, or what time to meet at the mall – not shifting their reasoned decisions on important matters or abandoning their personal values and ideals. Love and romance at any age can be confusing and chaotic, for that matter. There are, however, certain behaviors that constitute genuine red flags, and indicate that a relationship – or one person’s approach to a relationship – is dysfunctional and potentially toxic.
Others may simply be plain old teenage drama and poor judgment, such as saying “I can’t live without you” or trying to get serious too quickly.
While we don’t advise you to advise your teen to break up with someone if they say “I love you and you’re my soulmate” after just two weeks, we do advise you to tell you them that going that fast can backfire.
At face value – and again, this is just us interpreting the numbers we see – it appears that something we’re doing as a society is working.
We’d like to think that the more comfortable we become with talking about sex, the more rapidly we see positive outcomes.
We’ll use information from Ten to Twenty Parenting as a guide once more.