Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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Is February a month for love?

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, students who are, by virtue of their young age, new to relationships and similar matters, tend to offer advice about these things in student newspapers nonetheless.

Two articles that appeared in the last two weeks in the student newspaper at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, offered some of this advice.

The first, by Ayanna Jones-Reid, suggested abolishing Valentine’s Day altogether and just showing each other love on every day. A few other students backed her up, too:

“I think people should show love everyday, not just the 14th of February, every year,” she quoted one senior boy as saying. “If you really care about someone, you should show how much you love them everyday, not just because a specific date is telling you to.”

Another student said the holiday was just about buying someone special gifts and spending money. Indeed, ABC News reported last year that total spending for the holiday, not just by students but by everybody, was expected to top $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s an average of $136.57 per person.

But, if students find themselves in troubled relationships, spending money won’t help, another article in the same paper, published just today, points out. Negative forces in close relationships need real help.

Zsyrii Ennis, a co-editor of The Raider Review, says students can look for telling signs to know if the relationship they’re in isn’t moving in a positive direction:

  1. Trying to control every situation (limit other friendships, restrict where you go, what you wear)
  2. Showing a lack of trust (pry into social media feeds, sneak and snoop around)
  3. Displaying obsessive behavior (inhibit you from expressing yourself, “check up” on you)
  4. Expressing extreme jealousy (force to change friend groups)
  5. Failing to communicate openly (shut down, raise voices)
  6. Refusing to move on from an ex (compare you constantly to their ex)
  7. Moving too fast (miss important details of getting to know each other)
  8. Abusing physically, sexually, emotionally (call (800) 799-SAFE or visit thehotline.org)

In addition to national hotlines, many cities, towns, and other agencies have established crisis lines that can be called upon to help people through relationship issues. For example, the state government in California provides a 24/7 text messaging hotline for people going through emotional crises, including bad relationships.

The state has trained volunteers monitoring incoming text messages and helping out where they can or directing people to other resources for more professional help. The state gives the following advice:

Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

Likewise, with students in Maryland: Real problems—threats, self-harm, public bullying or humiliation—require real help. And even though students are often too inexperienced to recognize the workings of a heart embracing love, they are even more inexperienced when it comes to situations requiring professional help. Threatening situations are no time to be asking friends for advice; they are, rather, times to seek real help.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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