children, adolescents, young adults and their parents or guardians
navigate the complexities of the 21st century.
Culturally, we provide adolescents training and education around academia, life skills and future planning. Unfortunately, little education and guidance is provided to assist adolescents in navigating the complexities of relationships and dating. Furthermore, parents and guardians often times don’t feel equipped to provide support – especially in regards to the influence and accessibility of technology today.
Even when parents or guardians are prepared, adolescents are frequently reluctant to reach out to them for support. Youth are more apt to rely on their friends who can be as naive if they confide in anyone at all. Otherwise, if they do not have an adult they trust, adolescents may look at popular culture as a model to what a relationship should look like and this too can be problematic.
Working with adolescents over the last 16 years, one thing usually remains the same: they are frequently shocked when I inform them of the differences between healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. Abusive dynamics in their relationships are many times normalized and justified. Adolescents are in need of education and guidance about relationships and dating, similar to their need to learn to drive and balance a checkbook.