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Teenage Relationships and Parent Anxiety

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Teenage Relationships and Parent Anxiety


Teenage Relationships and Parent Anxiety

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Embarking on the journey of romantic relationships can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking for young hearts. When your teen gets into a relationship, a lot of attention is brought to their own experiences of love and learning to navigate this new stage in their life. However, it can be tough for parents to manage their teen getting into their first relationship too. Worrying about their maturity levels, having them move away from family and peers for the first time, to having another significant person in their life (and by extension in yours) can come with many feelings, from pride to apprehension to protectiveness. 


We asked the mum of a young person to discuss her feelings of anxiety when her teen entered her first relationship, and tips to manage the tough moments. Her responses are recorded below.


What are some of the anxieties you felt when your teen got into a relationship?

My anxieties were - The type of person he was and that he treated her well.  That she would have her heart broken if they broke up.  Unprotected sex and unconsenting sex. Sharing nude or sexual photos with him that could be shared with others if they broke up.  Being in an abusive relationship (emotional, sexual, physical).


How did you manage communication with your teen about their relationship?

I constantly asked about him, what was he like, what are his hobbies or sport, what family or siblings does he have, where does he live, etc etc.  Ongoing conversations about how she is feeling and how the relationship is going.  Also being alert to any changes in her moods and checking in if she seemed upset or if they had a fight.  Always making him feel welcome in our home so I could communicate with him and observe their relationship.


How did you have difficult conversations with your teen about their relationship?

I knew that she received a lot of sex education for several years at school but I had some difficult conversations about respectful sex/intimacy.  Even though I felt a bit uncomfortable at first, I tried to sound as straight forward and comfortable as possible to ensure the conversation felt natural and normal.  We also had lots of discussions about coercive control and how it can start with small things and red flags to look out for.


How do you look after yourself while your teen is having relationship difficulties?

I would always talk to friends who were parents and found this really helped validate my approach and my feelings.  Removing myself from her situation and spending time doing things for myself helped keep perspective.


It can help to know that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling Heart

There are many other anxieties which a parent may have about their teen’s relationship. From setting boundaries on your teen’s behalf, worrying if they are acting out of character, cheating and breakups, we have a range of articles here on all things romantic relationships. If you’re keen for more information and insight into navigating your teen’s relationship, we recently had a sexologist answer some questions in this article.