Developing Teenage Relationships

Core Challenge #2 – Developing Mature Relationships

Friendships & Other Relationships

The challenge of teenage relationships is often the toughest of the three big challenges because it can just get so weird and unpredictable – and involve such strong emotions and so many people.  The relationship challenge is definitely a rollercoaster experience with lots of ups and downs.  The ups can be wonderful and exciting.  The downs can be confusing, disheartening and depressing.

Remember, it’s a pretty long journey and you will develop your relationships and your relationship skills over time.  It takes experience.  It takes being persistent and developing resilience.  There is a lot of self-discovery involved.  


Why Relationships with Trusted Adults are Important

Relationships with trusted adults can be surprisingly important.  They can bring most of the benefits of friendship without the rapid changes of being a teenager.  These adults can be extended family members, neighbors, members of your faith community or a community organization you belong  to, etc.  Sometimes they can be teachers, coaches, parents of friends, or co-workers or bosses.  Adults can be surprisingly open to friendships with teenagers.  Just be sure they are trustworthy adults.

What Teenage Relationship Advice is in This Chapter?

We will look at the following teenage relationship advice that provides the heart of the relationship challenge.  Each has key information and most have “worksheets” where you can capture your thinking on the topic.

  • Parent – teenager relationships
  • Teenage friendships with peers
  • Romantic relationships and rules for dating (particularly in high school)
  • Sexual Relationships
  • Healthy teenage relationships
  • Signs of unhealthy or toxic teenage relationships
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and three key communication skills
  • Networking and building a web of relationships
  • Social media and teenage relationships
  • Teenage relationship pitfalls

Remember.  You’re on a 10-year journey of discovery with lots of unknowns, so everyone will be “learning the way.”  Take advantage of any guides you can find on the journey.

There are Two Complicating Issues 

There are two big complicating issues that make relationships a particularly difficult challenge.

#1  Moving Targets. You’re changing.  Your friends are changing.  Your parents are changing how they relate to you.  Relationships are about fit and sometimes, because of all the changing going on, it is tough to find a good fit with others.  It’s not necessarily because you are lacking – it’s because the fit isn’t there.  Also, where there was a fit and a good relationship, all of a sudden the fit is no longer there, as one or both partners change.  This moving target issue is one of the two biggest problems in forming – and keeping – good relationships during the teen years.

#2  Skills & Experience. The other big problem is that these new more mature teenage relationships – whether with parents, peers or romantic relationships – require skills and experience that almost no one has when they become a teenager.  Experience – obviously – only comes with time.  Relationship skills have to be developed as not many people are naturals.  It’s not easy to be consistently successful with forming and maintaining relationships until you get a base of experience and develop your relationship skills.  That takes time and attention.


Table of Contents – Teenage Relationship Advice


The Journey & Relationship Struggles

1.     Relationships and the heroic journey

2.     If you’re struggling with relationships

Parent Relationships

3.     Makeovers and moving targets

4.     The central challenge –parents letting go of control and teenagers taking on responsibility

Friendships with Peers

5.     More moving targets – and they are moving faster

6.     Importance of peer relationships

Romantic Relationships & Rules for Dating

7.     Strange new world

8.     The benefits

9.     The barriers and pitfalls

10. Age differences

11. Types of romantic relationships

12. Endings

Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

13. Characteristics of healthy relationships

14. Characteristics of unhealthy relationships

Sex & Teenage Relationships

15. Be the Author – your choices – your responsibility

16. Guiding questions for making good choices

17. Why wait

Emotional Intelligence & 3 Key Communications Skills

18. Emotional intelligence

19. Relationship competencies – the big three

It’s About A Web of Relationships

20. Webs of relationships – inner circle and outer circle(s)

21. Networking – building the web

22.  Sexual orientation & relationships

Social Media and Teenage Relationships

23.  Be the author

24. Pursue the opportunities

25. Manage the dangers and pitfalls

Teenage Relationship Pitfalls

26. The tough one – identity vs. relationships

27. Too small a network/web or putting too much importance on a relationship

28. Failing to realize/accept the value you bring to a relationship

29. Letting social media manage you vs. managing it

30. Failing to be the Author:  Networking & Building Your Web of Relationships


Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.