By Eleanor Beeslaar

Learning about healthy relationships is important at every stage of life; however, it is especially critical for teens to learn about the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Through early romantic relationships, teens learn behaviors and attitudes surrounding communication, conflict management, emotional regulation, and many other important life skills (Futris, Sutton, & Richardson, 2013). These relationships provide an opportunity for growth and learning, and with the proper knowledge and skills, teens can develop strategies to form safe, happy, and healthy relationships both now and in the future. The relationships skills teens develop are not only essential to developing and maintaining healthy dating relationships, but they also lead to successful relationships with friends, family members, peers, teachers, co-workers, and employers (Office of Adolescent Health, 2016).

On the other hand, without proper relationship education, teens are at risk for experiencing teen dating violence, which can lead to adverse effects on their health, development, and overall well-being (CDC, 2018). Teen dating violence is more prevalent than some may expect. According to the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost 12% of high school females reported physical violence and nearly 16% reported sexual violence from a dating partner in the past year. Additionally, over 7% of high school males reported physical violence and about 5% reported sexual violence from a dating partner (CDC, 2018).

Luckily, families and communities can help prevent teen dating violence and promote healthy dating relationships during adolescence through relationship education and a willingness to communicate openly with teens! In honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we will be providing important information and strategies to help teens develop lifelong skills to build happy, healthy, and safe relationships. The information we will be providing is a great resource for teens to use directly and for adults to use to talk to teens in their lives about healthy relationships!

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018, June 11). Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html

Futris, T. D., Sutton, T. E., & Richardson, E. W. (2013). An evaluation of the Relationship Smarts Plus Program on adolescents in Georgia. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 1-15.

Office of Adolescent Health [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] (2016, September, 20). Healthy Dating Relationships in Adolescence. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/healthy-relationships/dating/index.html

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