Should Teens Take A Relationship "Break-Up" Class?

Boston health officials are putting on what they call a "Break-Up Summit" for teens. It is part of a national program called "Start Strong" which is aimed at preventing dating violence. According to Nicole Daley who heads Boston's Start Strong program, a bad relationship can lead to depression, low self esteem, failing grades, an unwanted pregnancy and even physical confrontation.

They want teens to end relationships in a way that does not spark negative behavior. The summit looked at steps teens could take that could lead to a respectful break-up such as talking face-to-face, the reason for the break-up, saying something positive about the person, setting boundaries and spotting warning signs of abuse. We have all heard or read about a scorned teen who sent inappropriate photos of an ex to everyone they know via text. Teens today have so many social media resources that were not available years ago. If you want to break-up with someone, you can just change your Facebook status to single and every one of your Facebook friends, even the person you were dating will know in a matter of seconds that the relationship is over. You can even break-up with someone via a text message.

I think that social media is harming the structure of relationships. There is much less personal interaction. Teens do a lot of communicating via texing and Facebook. They don't understand the importance of verbal and physical communication. The tone in your voice or the look on your face can tell a person if you really mean what you are saying. This lack of personal interaction makes it easier to be mean and cowardly. It is much harder to tell someone face-to-face that the relationship is over. Before social media, people had to break-up face-to-face or on the telephone everyday. We all survived! Another big issue that is hurting teen relationships and contributing to this drama is television. There are so many TV shows where people are mean, that I am appalled! These teenagers think that this behavior is acceptable because it's on TV. Have you ever seen the TV show called "Don't Trust The "B---- in Apartment 23"?

Break-ups are hard no matter how nice you teach someone to be when it's over. I understand what this program is trying to achieve but I don't know how successful it will be. If you care for someone and they break-up with you, you are going to be hurt, period! You may be depressed, hurt, angry and your grades may fall. All of these things can still happen even if you have the nicest break-up because it is a tough part of life. I will admit that these feelings will be much worse if the person is really nasty when they break-up with you.

Isn't it a parent's responsibility to teach their children how to treat others? Aren't we as parents, responsible for teaching our children about dating and relationships? Why do people continue to try to outsource parenting duties to others? We have even outsourced teaching our children how to ride a bike! According to a recent Groupon, you can also outsource the planning of your child's school lunch as well. Parents, let do our job and educate our children about dating and relationships. Actually we should get back to real parenting, period! Our schools would have more money if parents did their jobs. There are so many social programs that wouldn't be necessary if parents did their jobs. I'm not suggesting that if this class is available that you don't take advantage of it. All that I am saying is to use this class as a reason to get in tune with your teenagers about their relationships. And by relationships, I mean both male and female relationships because any relationship can end badly. That's just my two cents, what do you think?

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  • The concept of a class that teaches teenagers about how to break up is pointless, in my opinion, if not preceded by classes for teens on how to be in intimate relationships. While there is a lot of information on sex, for instance, there is little on the emotional side of relationships: what to expect; how to deal with powerful feelings that may feel overwhelming and destabilizing; what’s appropriate and what is not; what to do when feelings change, and so on. Breaking up, in fact, is but a segment in a series of phases that begin with the initial attraction and may end with the inappropriate use of Facebook, as the author mentions.

    While teens on the surface may give the appearance of needing no help because they know everything, underneath this façade they may feel insecure, unclear, and even scared by the emotional power of intimate relationships. Parents’ relationships with one another are the benchmark teens use, consciously and unconsciously, on how to behave in love. If parents have an open relationship with their teenagers, they have a golden opportunity to provide guidance, reassurance and affect regulation in this challenging area by maintaining an open dialogue and by encouraging their sons and daughters to ask questions and discuss their thoughts and feelings with them.

    Daniela Roher, PhD

  • In reply to Daniela Roher PhD:

    Parenting is the key. I know someone who didn't want his daughter to have a boyfriend until she was out of high school. I explained to him what a big mistake that would be. I told him that parents need to be present to guide their teens when they are in relationships. I don't think that any teen should go away to college having never experienced a relationship if possible. There are so many dynamics in relationships that teens don't understand and they need help dealing with them. Thanks for readind and commenting!

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