When it comes to talking with young adults about love, sex, and relationships, too many of us are silent. Making matters worse, most young adults wish their parents talked to them more about love, according to a recent Harvard research study, and 65 percent of those surveyed said they wished schools taught them more about it.
Couples therapist Alexandra Solomon, author of Loving Bravely, says that as difficult as it might seem to have open, honest conversations about love and sex, older adults are actually well-equipped to start them. The young adults they'll speak with are often "hungry for curious, nonjudgmental conversation," she adds.
In the following interview with Networker Assistant Editor Chris Lyford, she explains the importance of having these talks, and the 60-second "Truth Bomb" exercise to help get you started.
Alexandra Solomon, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor and licensed clinical psychologist at Northwestern University. She’s the author of Loving Bravely: 20 Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want.
As Solomon notes, young adults who don't get an education from parents or older role models about how to navigate love and relationships are more likely to turn to online sources where they may encounter misinformation.
And for those older adults who think the love lives of younger generations are far removed from their own, Solomon says there are actually several prominent similarities in how younger and older people view relationships: initially, with fear and ambivalence, and also with a curiosity about and interest in marriage.
In short, Solomon says each generation can educate the other. The goal for therapists, she says in her Networker article, is to manage fear, judgment, and expectations around young adult romance. "With our cultural insistence on a narrow and meritocratic path to success, it feels awfully unfair to expect young adults to manifest romantic coherence," she writes. "Our culture seems to reflect back to them anything but."
Did you enjoy this video? You might also like Solomon's article, "Inside Hookup Culture: Are We Having Fun Yet?" in which she breaks down Millennial romance, marriage trends, and what therapists need to know about working with young adults around love.
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