In modern society, more and more teenagers feel a pressure to be in a romantic relationship. A recent study showed that 62% of teenagers had been in a relationship and 61% believe that they had been in love before. Why do teenagers, with more than enough to worry about already, feel like they have an obligation to fall in love as well?
With a growing influence from social media platforms, teenagers are viewing other teenagers in what some may call “perfect relationships” and feeling increasing pressure to have a similar relationship of their own. They try to replicate relationships that they see in the media around them and for many it can be detrimental to their self-esteem if they can’t be in a “perfect relationship”.
Some people would argue that being in a relationship as a teenager is beneficial to their growth and childhood experience. It can help to teach adolescents valuable life skills and show them what a healthy relationship is like, setting them up for future experiences and how to deal with them. Furthermore, by being in a romantic relationship it could offer them emotional support and make them feel validated. This can have a positive impact throughout their day-to-day life, as they will have a boost in self-confidence and feel happier overall. Therefore, some adolescents will want a relationship because of the benefits it can have on many aspects of their lives.
However, scientists fear that teenage relationships may do the exact opposite of what people want them to do. Teenagers are still developing and they may, therefore, not be able to spot signs of toxicity within their relationships. By teenagers staying in unhealthy, at times even abusive relationships, there is a dangerous risk of normalising them. Teenagers experiencing abuse from their partners are more likely to binge drink and perform worse academically and in the severest of cases it could possibly even lead to self-harm.
Something that everyone can agree on is that a relationship’s success depends on the people in it and the attitude they both take. If they understand how a healthy relationship works and are supervised within it, adolescents should be allowed to express their feelings and experience a relationship if they choose. Educating teenagers regarding how a romantic relationship should work is important to ensure that they avoid any toxicity in any future relationships. Furthermore, giving them a chance to experience a relationship in their formative years can give them knowledge about the subject and protect them from forthcoming incidents.
By Stevie and Eliza