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The Risks Of Teenager Romantic Relationships
Posted by Marielys Camacho-Reyes on Feb 9, 2012 - 2:50:09 PM

BEVERLY HILLSMany adults still remember their first boyfriend or girlfriend. For some of them, the first love experience was a good one, but for others that experience was a traumatic one. Many researchers have suggested that the precursors to union formation patterns in adulthood are observable in adolescence and that those relationships would make an impact on people’s future romantic relationships.

Photo: Melody Morales Carlos Figueroa.

For adolescents, romantic relationships are among the most significant OF psychosocial development. They feel like their entire lives revolve around their love lives and they tend to lose interest in other activities that do not involve their boyfriend or girlfriend.

When these children reach adulthood, the situations they experienced throughout their teen years will often dictate the way they behave in future romantic relationships.

It is important to mention that adults often relate to romantic relationships in a similar way to the interaction observed between their parents. If a child grew up in an environment in which relationships were considered an important issue in lifespan development, it is most likely that when he or she becomes an adult, they will continue that same line of thought. S/he will look at relationships as an essential part of life and will make marriage and family top priorities.

On the other hand, if a child grew up in an environment in which romantic relationships were dysfunctional, and throughout his/her adolescence, s/he was part of bad relationships, s/he will carry those feelings into adulthood creating problems within new relationships.

When a person begins an adult romantic relationship, the success of that relationship depends on the ways he applies his experiences onto the new relationship. In most cases, an individual who was involved in bad relationships during childhood would have a bad time associating with other people, not only in romantic relationships but also with friends, coworkers, and people in general.

Many controversies are associated with this issue. As adults, people who suffered bad romantic experiences in their teen years can develop serious social and health problems. Studies have documented that adolescents involved in romantic relationships at an early age have higher rates of drug use, minor delinquency, or psychological or behavioral difficulties as well as lower levels of academic achievement than those who are not involved in romantic relationships early.

Other studies documented that teenagers also may suffer from self esteem issues, higher levels of depression, mood swings, personal conflicts, and antisocial behavior. When they become adults and engage in more serious romantic relationships without first seeking help for their emotional problems, they are taking an enormous risk that may lead them to other serious issues, like domestic violence and abusive psychological behavior.

This issue has not been easy to study. Our adolescents may be the reason it has been difficult for researchers to study the impact of their romantic relationships because usually they do not like to discuss their romantic interests or relationships with adults. In order for social scientists to study or understand these behaviors, they have to rely on their own experiences and memories.

Another reason may be that researchers are more concerned in studying other issues like teenager sexuality or pregnancy and they tend to ignore romantic relationships and the effect this issue has on our adolescents.

Bottom-line: individuals involved in bad romantic relationships during their adolescent years have a tendency to get into bad relationships once they reach adulthood or in some cases, may avoid relationships completely.

Our society cannot afford to ignore this issue anymore.

If we unite efforts to teach our teenagers to recognize the importance of relationships and provide them the necessary tools to develop good communication and the interpersonal skills needed to create healthy relationships, we can help them create and maintain good and fulfilling relationships in their adolescence that in one way or another will prepare them to face adulthood relationships with more confidence, optimism, and positivism.

I invite you to talk with your children as much as possible and listen to their concerns without judging. By doing this, you will maintain open channels of communication while showing them that they can trust you and that you will always be there for them. Remember, as a parent this is your responsibility, and if you do not do it, eventually, someone else will.  

About the Author:

Marielys Camacho-Reyes has over 10 years of experience in the human resources field and is a career/personal coach. If you would like to receive a one-time free coaching session, visit her website at or email her at


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