Eighty-two percent of 18 to 30 year olds expect to be married for life. Researchers have found that the building blocks of healthy adult marriages are formed during the teenage years. Parents may be nervous about talking to their teens about relationships or marriage, but they are a critical influence in their teen’s life. When asked “Who influences you most when it comes to your dating relationships?” teens named their parents first (35 percent). Parents’ values seem to be related to teen values and, subsequently, teen behaviors. Parents can be confident that what they say matters to their teen, whether or not their teen shows it. Research shows that parents can maximize their positive influence by:
- Showing warmth and support.
- Developing a close connection with their teen.
- Having frequent and positive parent-teen communication.
- Engaging their teen in discussions rather than “preaching.”