By: Octavia James
Millennials need to take out the time to invest into themselves while they are young as opposed to focusing on building intimate relationships. This is not to speak negatively about those who have chosen to venture into the world with a partner and begin the experience of raising a family early. Circumstances vary with each person, but honestly what’s the rush?
Particularly for females, the decision to more or less give themselves to a significant other usually requires an emotional attachment of some sort. Emotions are natural for both males and females and can include a pleasant array of feelings. However, emotions can also be unpredictable, overwhelming, and cause one to be more susceptible to clouded judgement. It is understandable why younger girls today are under the perception that to be in a relationship is the norm. According to Laina Y. Bay-Cheng and Sara A. Goodkind authors of Sex Roles A Journal of Research, establishing committed, monogamous relationships with men that adhere to heteronormative scripts of romantic love is often regarded as a defining objective for young women. One of the biggest influences on people in general today is television. Not only are relationship oriented ideas placed as plots in movies, but on reality TV shows as well. “Flavor of Love,” “Dating Naked,” “Room Raiders” and “Blind Date” are some of the countless dating shows from the 90s up until now. A popular show on MTV called “Teen Mom” that was a sequel to the series “16 & Pregnant” documents the life of young teens as they face the hardships of either raising or choosing to give up their child. It is an excellent way to expose the difficulties that young mothers go through, but almost distracts viewers from the reality of having children at a young age and makes it seem like getting pregnant is a way to be acknowledged. According to Nicole Martins and Robin Jensen a survey was conducted with U.S. high school students from the Midwest to examine whether exposure to “Teen Mom” reality programming, was related to teens perception of teen parenthood. Contrary to their hypotheses analyses revealed that exposure to teen mom reality was related to an increased tendency to believe that teen mothers have an enviable quality of life, a high income and involved fathers. Is there absolutely nothing more motivational or inspirational that could be aired on reality television? Granted the purpose of television is to entertain but there is obviously an uneven option of successful and hardworking teenage shows to envy compared to dating, addiction, and cop shows.
Having a healthy relationship is solely up to the partners involved. But in today’s world there are a lot of external factors that contribute to miscommunication. A few of these substances being social media (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook), texting and outsiders that genuinely have no respect for others relationships. Sadly, in this generation, people barely have respect for themselves. This is the age of recording, exposing, and making an example out of people. According to Levesque, Johnson, Welch, Prochaska and Palva, 21 states in the United States have laws that encourage or require school districts to develop and/or offer a curriculum for teen dating violence (TDV) prevention a serious public health problem. Adolescent victims of dating violence are at a higher risk for substance abuse, unhealthy weight control, risky sexual behavior, pregnancy, suicidality, and future partner violence. Being realistic dating cannot be eliminated from the process of growing up, unless a child has very strict and overprotective parents and that often leads to other issues and outcomes. But for some reason dating in the millennial generation has become interchangeable for a relationship or the promise to marry. Dating should be about a person having fun first, and exploring their options above everything else. Too often do girls end up heartbroken because they have invested time, energy and affection into someone who only views them as an option.
College is not for everyone just like working a 9-5 is not for everyone. But how can someone truly discover what is for them if they are consumed with maintaining a relationship with another person who is probably just as unsure about their own path. The fact that whether or not someone is “taken” is so detrimental to people feeling secure is baffling. Instead of that being the only thing millennials have on their mind, and that being the sole purpose of growing up (to work and support a family) people should push the need for self-exploration. There is much more to life than being caught up over someone at this age although it is better said than done.
To the upcoming generations for whom things are seeming to become a lot more worse, the first step to a lot of problems is learning how to care about one-self and practicing self-love. It is understandable for the people approaching their mid and late 30s who have established themselves and are looking to settle down but even then, marriage does not equal success. Things like accomplishing your goals does make sense however. Being with someone is an option that does not need to be rushed.