Teens and occasionally their parents seem to think something is wrong if the adolescents aren’t in a romantic relationship.
In fact, she says they don’t even belong together. Pursuing romance should be reserved for those ready to marry, she says. “Anybody who expects a commitment like that from a high school student has been listening to too much Taylor Swift,” Smith writes.
A much healthier approach for teens is to pursue honest friendships, she says, listing a few of the reasons:
• Cultivating many friendships allows teens to become more well-rounded and participate in more activities. “Guys (or girls) are like electives,” Smith says, quoting a CosmoGirl article. “You’ve got to take a bunch before you decide to commit to a major.”
• It’s more fun to casually date many friends. This eliminates the drama and trauma of going steady. Avoiding an “ex” is awkward and sometimes keeps a teen from participating in school, community, family and LDS Church activities.
• Good friendship skills prepare teens to not only wisely choose a marriage partner but to be a better marriage partner. “Functional, healthy adolescent relationships,” writes Smith, “are the best preparation for healthy, unscarred adult relationships.”
Smith is a licensed marriage and family therapist who frequently speaks at Brigham Young University Education Week. She and her husband, Gerald, live in Florida. Her website is www.smithfamilytherapy.org.
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.