September 5, 2006

Teenage Boys in Love

Who is surprised to learn that teenage boys fall in love, fall hard, and feel one down to the girls in relationships? Dr. Peggy Giordano, one of the three authors of the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study, says that "about 80 percent of teenagers have had a romantic relationship by age 18," so we should be interested in what is really going on in those relationships.

The study, reported in the April issue of American Sociological Review, discovered that, "Girls may be better prepared for those relationships because of more experience with intimate communication with friends. However, boys as well as girls reported feelings of heightened emotions toward their current or most recent romantic partner—contrary to the notion that boys are only looking to “score” and are not emotionally invested in the relationship."

Unlike the confident and sexually oriented males that are the media stereotype, most teen boys are not sexual predators and they get quite emotionally involved. The study also pointed out that the boys report, "significantly lower levels of confidence, as well as greater 'communication awkwardness,' in their romantic relationships."

While difficult, coaching shy boys in the intricacies of relationships, and helping them to develop their emotional vocabulary, would help set them up with a critical life skill. There are mysteries enough in the challenges of relationships, but having the best possible tools would even the odds a bit.