Teen Relationships in Media

Adolescence is the time to get to know yourself in and out of a relationship, but if all you see on screen and in books is red flags, how are you supposed to know what’s healthy or unhealthy? There has been a trend of problematic behaviors being romanticized in shows for teens. The relationships may not be abusive, but we see problematic behaviors like being controlling or intense jealousy being romanticized. The problem with that is we become desensitized or normalize these behaviors.

Let us take the popular HBO series Euphoria as an example. It takes problematic behavior like substance abuse and dating violence and makes it seem like that is the norm. Euphoria shows the consequences of these behaviors, but it lacks a counterbalance of healthy behaviors, how to cope with, and have constructive conversations about these themes. Viewers should remember that this type of show represents a very dramatized version of teen behavior.

Mental Health Matters

If you are watching shows with heavy themes of problematic behavior, and you begin to see your own life and relationships reflected, talk to someone about it. Check in with yourself about whether you feel safe and happy. To learn more about “red flags” in dating and relationships, check out more of our content.


  • Stephanie Old Bucher

    Steffy was born and raised in Mexico city. Her family migrated to Texas when she was 11 and she has been a self-proclaimed Mexican Texan since. She joined HCWC as the Bilingual Children’s Counselor in June of 2020, left, and came back in October of 2021.Before joining HCWC Steffy graduated form Texas A&M university with a BA in Psychology and a BA in Sociology, at which point she realized she wanted to work with vulnerable and marginalized populations. She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a master’s in counseling with a focus in Marriage and Family therapy. Outside of work Steffy enjoys reading, watching scary movies, and taking care of her 4 cats and dog. (Yes, raising 5 furbabies is like having a fulltime job.)