Building relationships with friends, family, romantic interests, caregivers, teachers, and authority figures while you’re growing from youth to young adult can be a challenge.
The people you surround yourself with can affect your actions, your feelings, and even your quality of life, according to the National Institutes of Health. This means that surrounding yourself with positive relationships can encourage positive choices, make you happier, and even help you navigate these tough years with a more positive outlook.
Similarly, negative relationships have the opposite effect, causing you to feel symptoms of depression and anxiety, make poor decisions such as abusing substances, show signs of antisocial behaviors, and even consider suicide.
Many people believe that for a relationship to be unhealthy, it has to be physically or sexually violent, but that’s not always the case. Many unhealthy relationships are emotionally controlling, simply lacking basic respect, or even financially abusive.
Any relationship, whether it’s with parents, friends, romantic partners, or anyone else can be unhealthy. Here are some things to consider.
If you feel a relationship may be unhealthy, it is okay to set boundaries in the relationship or to end the relationship entirely when possible. Learn how to set emotional, physical, and digital boundaries and how to resolve conflict.
Teens Talk Relationships
Hear what these teens and young adults learned about healthy and unhealthy relationships through their own experiences.
- Cör Health + Wellbeing provides health and wellness support to South Dakota youth, young adults, and parents. Find Cör Health + Wellbeing on Facebook and Instagram.
- Learn the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships and what they look like through Youth.gov.
- One of the most common unhealthy relationships in youth and young adults is bullying among peers. Learn about how to stop bullying.
- Setting healthy boundaries can be difficult. Learn to set relationship boundaries that define what you are comfortable with and how you would like to be treated by others.
Information and Resources
Things you can do if you witness bullying:
- Question the bullying behavior. Simple things like changing the subject or questioning the behavior can shift the focus.
- Use humor to redirect the conversation.
- Intervene as a group to show there are several people who don't agree with the bullying.
- Walk with the person who is the target of bullying to help diffuse potential bullying interactions.
- Reach out privately to check in with the person who was bullied to let them know you do not agree with it and that you care. It makes a difference.
Effects of bullying:
- Teens who are bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental health issues.
- Teens who bully others can engage in violent or risky behaviors into adulthood.
- Teens who witness bullying can experience increased substance misuse and mental health problems.
Parenting isn’t typically easy, especially when parenting a teen or young adult. Helping your child learn how to properly develop and maintain healthy relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners can make all the difference.
- The Power of Peers — National Institutes of Health
- 5 Tips for Parents: Guiding Teens and Young Adults in Developing Healthy Romantic Relationships
- How to Help Kids Navigate Friendships and Peer Relationships — American Psychological Association
- Healthy Relationships in Adolescence — U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources
Teen dating violence happens more than many people think. Did you know that 1 in 12 high school students in the U.S. reported experiencing physical dating violence and 1 in 12 reported experiencing sexual dating violence? Check out these resources to find out more.
- Teen Dating Violence — Behaviors, problems, consequences, and prevention
- Preventing Teen Dating Violence and Youth Violence Program
- Dating Matters — Stop teen dating violence before it starts
Learn about how South Dakota is addressing the need for better and more accessible education on sexual health and prevention for vulnerable youth, adolescents, and families in South Dakota.
- Success Stories — Lutheran Social Services Implements Resources & Education for Adolescents Choosing Healthy Behaviors (REACH) Program
- Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Grant — Teaching voluntary abstinence to avoid sexual risks
- State Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) — Education on abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections