Young Adults

Healthy Relationships

In a healthy relationship partners:

  • Respect each other
  • Better one another
  • Share common interests, but have friends and activities outside of the relationship as well
  • Reconcile disputes calmly and with respect

Signs of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • Disrespect
  • Controlling behavior
  • Blame
  • Extreme Jealousy

These issues can possibly be resolved through open and honest communication. However, violence and verbal abuse should never be accepted.

If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, seek help from a parent or an adult you can trust.

Making Healthy Choices about Sex

Contrary to what you believe, not everyone your age is having sex. Kissing and hugging often leads to sexual feelings that may make you want to have sex. But before you do, ask yourself:

  • Do I really want to have sex or am I feeling pressured to please my partner?
  • Do I truly care about this person and is the feeling mutual?
  • Is this person respectful of me and my views?
  • What method(s) of protection will we use to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections?
  • Will we remain a couple if either one of us does not want to have sex?
  • Has my partner been sexually active before?

Remember sex is not the only way to express how you feel. You can experience intimacy by spending alone time together, kissing, cuddling or holding hands.

If you decide not to have sex, stick by your decision. Never let anyone pressure you into having sex. If you know you are not ready for sex, set boundaries during intimate times. Do not use drugs and alcohol, as these substances can impair your judgment.

If you do choose to have sex, speak with your pediatrician, parent or an adult you can trust about method(s) for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.


You will notice many changes in your physical appearance as you mature. These changes can affect the way you perceive yourself. Many teens find it difficult to adjust to these changes and develop problems with their self-esteem or self-worth (how you value yourself).

Some people begin struggling with their self-esteem when puberty begins. Changes in their appearance along with a need to feel accepted may cause them  to compare themselves to others. Comparisons are unhealthy because every person develops differently. Some begin maturing early, while others are late bloomers. Moreover, how one's body reacts to puberty depends on genes.

Media images of thin women or bulked up men, criticism from parents, and teasing from classmates or peers can all negatively affect self-esteem.
Having a positive, optimistic attitude can improve your self-esteem. If there is something about you that you can change, set a "realistic" goal to do so. Keep track of your progress. Achieving a goal you have set for yourself is a great way to boost your self-esteem.

If your self-esteem problems cause you to feel depressed, hurt yourself or abuse drugs or alcohol, talk to your parent (s) or an adult you can trust.