How to React When Your Teen is in a Relationship

Relationships   ›   How to React When Your Teen is in a Relationship

As parents, how should we react when our teen tells us they are in a romantic relationship? It is completely normal to have a big reaction to this announcement and feel all kinds of emotions about it. Discover how adolescents view relationships and the best ways to address this.

Learning that your teen is in love can cause parents to experience all kinds of emotions and reactions. From wanting to know everything, to shock, to worry, to denying this new person’s arrival in their life, etc. It’s normal to react, it is a transition from childhood to adolescence, and causes parents to experience a certain sense of mourning.


Some Statistics about Adolescent Romantic Relationships

  • In Quebec, one out of four adolescents have not been in a romantic relationship.
  • 50% of teens between the ages of 14 to 18 in relationships have still not had sexual intercourse. For teens, being in a relationship does not necessarily mean having sex. These statistics show that adolescents go at their own pace and have their own perspective on romantic relationships.
  • 80% of teens in relationships say that their partner encourages them in their pursuits, and 70% turn to their partner when they are worried about something. These numbers show the importance that teens place on love and trust when describing their perfect romantic experience.


Source: Lavoie, F., Hébert, M., Poitras, M., Blais, M. and the YRR team (2015).


Some Tools to Help with First Romantic Relationships

  • Go at your own pace. Take the time to get to know your teen’s partner and adapt to this new person’s arrival in your family’s dynamic.
  • Encourage your teen to talk about what they are experiencing, without pressuring them to know everything.
  • Give them the tools to be in a healthy relationship, teach them about: listening, respect for themselves and others, how values can align, communication rather than controlling behaviours, possessiveness, jealousy, etc.
  • Be open and listen. With teens, often the winning strategy is to avoid both judging and lecturing.