Relationship Smarts: How to Navigate Dating, Friendships, Family Relationships, and More
By: Joyce Markovics
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books
Publication Date: January 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2012
The world would be a mighty lonesome place if we didn't have relationships of one sort or another. A relationship "connects two or more people" in some way or another. There are many different types, including family, friends, nontraditional, casual, and romantic. Each one of these types of relationships has different components, but family relationships are "probably the most important." All have varying degrees of intensity or passion. Take for example, the sometimes challenging romatic relationship, one that involves "an intimate emotional connection with another person." The heart can flutter, the hormones can start to race, but in actuality, these relationships "can also be pretty bumpy and the hardest to maintain."
All around you people are talking about relationships, but just how do you develop them? It seems simplistic, but the "first step to developing relationships of any kind is to meet people." You'll learn how to go about meeting people, where to meet them, and how to avoid problems. If you run across a cyberbully, it's helpful to know just how to deal with this destructive behavior. It's also useful to know how to develop positive, nurturing relationships. In any relationship "both people should work together for the benefit of each other and their relationship." There is a lot to learn about relationships, but sometimes we all need a bit of help. In this book you'll also learn about the importance of your self-image, how to handle problematic relationships, the importance of developing trust (including that of your parents), finding friends who share your values, the problems with cliques, dating problems, you'll ponder whether or not to have sex, you'll learn about sexual orientation, heartbreak, and many other interesting facets about relationships.
To grown-ups it may be easy to dismiss teen relationship angst, but in reality it's a very serious issue. A guide such as this one is not all inclusive, but rather gives young people a lot of food for thought. One of the things that jumped out at me was the section on abuse. The term is defined and briefly discusses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as well as outlining its "warning signs." There are suggestions as to where to get help, including numbers for helplines. There are some informative sidebars, including one on cyberbullying from the pages of USA Today. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resource to explore. There are free downloadable educational resources on the publisher's website.
Quill says: This is a helpful guide to help teens understand and develop an assortment of relationships.