Orenstein Solutions - Cary, NCSomething was wrong. Tracey could sense it.

She heard a car door slam and knew her daughter was home.

The last few evenings, Jill had returned from her dates with Chris looking strained and on edge. 

Tracey wasn’t sure the charming boy she’d approved of was as kind-hearted as she once thought.

The door opened, but before Jill even crossed the threshold, her phone buzzed with text alerts.

“Is everything okay between you two?” Tracey asked, anticipating her daughter’s response.

“I told you before, Mom. Everything’s fine.” Jill’s tone was short, defensive.

Her daughter’s eyes were on her phone as she said it.

She turned her back to Tracy, thumbs flying, hurrying out of the room.

Tracey sighed. Something was definitely wrong.

Now what to do about it?

Can you relate to Tracey’s situation? Are you concerned that your teen is trying to manage an unhealthy relationship?

Text messaging, social media, and a growing ability to interact independently make seeing a teen relationship clearly increasingly more difficult.

Which is exactly why you need the following information:

Signs Your Teen is in an Unhealthy Relationship

1. Your teen keeps secrets. If you notice that your child can’t or won’t answer simple questions about his or her relationship, or withholds key information, don’t be too quick to pass if off as a privacy issue.

It’s okay to press for answers before sending your child off on a date alone when you have suspicions. His or her resistance to your inquiries tells you that something is amiss.

2. You notice your teen experiences mood swings and periods of acting out.

Your child may be struggling internally. A teen in an unhealthy relationship will often experience depression, anxiety, and a tendency to act rashly as the relationship becomes too difficult to manage.

3. Your teen is aggressive, coercive, or manipulative. It may be that your teen is consumed by a need to control his or her relationship.

An unhealthy relationship is often marked by disrespect, jealousy and demands. Persistent “techno-monitoring,” by phone and Internet, may be the norm. Frequent break-ups and make-ups can also signal the relationship is consuming too much of your child’s time. Any evidence of physical harm must be addressed immediately.

4. Your teen withdraws. Young love is intense and exciting, not selfish and isolating. Neither party should feel the need to withdraw from family, friends, or the activities they’ve always enjoyed to be together.

5. Your teen is a pushover. Are you sensing that he or she is losing a sense of identity? If you notice that your teen must check in with the boyfriend or girlfriend before meeting his or her own needs, the relationship has drifted into unhealthy codependence.

6. You teen feels pressured to change. In a healthy relationship, partners demonstrate appreciation and support for each other’s individuality. A sudden focus on becoming different, changing long-held convictions, giving up important goals, or even dressing in a way that he or she never has before signals an unhealthy relationship.

7. Your teen is uninformed about sexuality and intimacy. Here, your influence is crucial. An unhealthy relationship may develop if you haven’t discussed healthy sexual behavior within the context of relationships. Knowing how to be personally responsible and safe ensures your son or daughter can act in his or her own best interest.

If these warning signs are present, something is wrong, and it’s time for a serious talk. Be prepared to try a few times before your teen admits a problem. It’s okay. Your child needs you to be there, to see him or her clearly, and understand. If you need more support, reach out to a counselor who can help you both.

Leave a Reply


DEC 1, 2021

Please note that as of December 1st, 2021, 
our new office is located inside of Regus office suites at:

9121 Anson Way, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27615

Click here for directions.

COVID-19: Some of our clinicians have resumed in-person appointments while others continue to offer online-only services. Visit the “Our Team” page for more information.

Ready to get started?


Get answers to your questions and set up an appointment online or over the phone.  

GIVE US A CALL: 919-428-2766

Our office manager is available by phone from 9:00 am to 1:00pm. Calls received after 1:00 pm will be returned the following business day.