It is normal for humans to feel the whole spectrum of emotions from joy and excitement to sadness and anger. When you begin puberty, your body is experiencing many changes caused by hormones. Hormones are like messengers in your body that control everything! They control your growth and development, but also your mood.
When you are in your teen years you have a huge amount of hormonal change and this can impact your mood significantly resulting in you experiencing emotional reactions that might not seem logical given the circumstances. For example, you might get really angry or sad and you might not know why. I want to assure you, this is normal during puberty. This can be a really tough thing to go through and its important you are kind to yourself when this happens. Find ways of releasing these emotions that help you such as exercising, talking to friends and family about how you are feeling, and journaling. Journaling not only gives you a way of expressing your emotions but can also serve as a resource to look back on to see what helped you feel better when you were feeling sad or angry so that when you feel that way again you might be able to try a self- care strategy that has worked before.
Most importantly, reach out for help, try your friends and family, or a counsellor, and there is always Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) available as well.
There are lots of different rights and responsibilities in relationships. We teach about 9 main ones in our program, Junior Respect me. All of these however, centre around respect, equality and safety, which are the most important ingredients for a healthy relationship.
Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand with each right having a corresponding responsibility, for example:
- I have the right to say no to things I don’t want to do matches I have the responsibility to accept my friend's decision and not keep asking.
- I have the right to express my opinion matches the responsibility to respect my friend's opinions
- I have the right to respectfully disagree with my friend, and I have the responsibility to understand that my friends might respectfully disagree with me
- I have the right to be treated as an equal, I have the responsibility to treat my friend as an equal
- It is important to know your rights and responsibilities within a relationship and be able to communicate openly and freely with your partner. You may not always agree on everything, but you should always feel safe and respected.
Some people become interested in having a boyfriend or girlfriend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult. There is no magical age that tells you when you can and cannot start dating.
However, parents and carers’ rules about relationships play a part here too. If your parents have told you that you must be a certain age to date and you keep a relationship secret from them, it will be difficult for them to help if you need support and advice. Relationships can be tricky, and you may need the support from your family at some stage.
In any case, regardless of age, it is important that if you do decide that you want to start dating someone, that you ask for their consent and communicate this with them. You both must also be mature enough to follow basic relationship rights and responsibilities, such as respecting one another as an equal, giving yourself and them space to spend time with other friends and family, and ensuring you both are free to express yourselves respectfully without any pressure or threats.
If you feel you and the person you are interested in understand how to be a respectful partner and will not pressure each other to do anything that you are not ready for, that is more important than any particular age.
If you are sent a nude picture, there are a few things you can do, and a few different issues depending on the age of the person in the photo and your relationship.
If the person in the nude photo is under 18 years, it is a criminal offence for you to possess child exploitation material which is what this photo is catogorised as. In this case it's important you talk to a trusted adult who can help deal with the situation. Delete the photo and do not send it to anyone else as this is considered distributing child exploitation material which is a very serious offence.
If it is your boyfriend or someone you are dating our advice is to discourage any sharing of nude photos, not only because it is against the law if you are under 18, but also because the photo is out of your control once it has been shared and you are relying on the trust of someone else to keep the photo confidential. It is a good idea to talk to your current boyfriend about this and don’t send any nudes in return.
If you are both over 18 years old and you receive this photo, unsolicited, you might like to let him know how inappropriate it is to force a nude photo onto someone. You can also block him and report him within the app as this is a violation of the standards of the code in which most messaging applications fall under. It can be good to let him know you are reporting him to show him there are consequences for his actions and to deter him from sending this pic to others.