It has never been easy to be a teenager. Not when you were one and not now when you have a teen of your own. That’s why it’s so important to teach your teen about healthy relationship to begin with. Teen relationships are important and you want your child to have the best chance at having great relationships.
You want your children to have healthy relationships, and that doesn’t merely mean romantic relationships. You want their friendships to be healthy, as well. Having healthy friendships now will enable them to know what a healthy romantic relationship is like in the future. Fortunately, your teen has you to help them recognize and choose healthy teen relationships.
Physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse is not healthy in any way, shape, or form. In fact, one of eleven teens has been purposely hit during the past twelve months. If their friends have put them down or tried to change something about them, they could possibly be in an unhealthy relationship. Parents need to be aware of what’s going on in their teen’s life so they can recognize aspects of an unhealthy relationship and pull their teen out of a possibly dangerous place.
Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect. One person isn’t trying to control the other in any way. They are able to talk honestly about things that concern them and they share decision making. There is also mutual trust with support for each other. An unhealthy relationship, on the other hand, is not balanced at all. In fact, one person will try to manipulate or control the other by using verbal insults, putdowns, or physical violence.
Teach your teen to show respect and consideration for others and to expect the same treatment in return. If they feel they’re not being treated in a respectful manner, encourage them to end the relationship before it develops any further.
Teens also need to learn how to deal with anger in an effective, non-violent way. When they can do this, they will recognize someone who can’t and can steer clear of them.
No matter who you are, you’re probably going to have problems at one point or another. If your teen is in relationship that causes them to feel uneasy or unsafe, they’ll need to know how to diffuse a problem without allowing it to become physical. Teach them to turn problems into win-win situations for everyone involved.
It’s also important for your teen to know how to show affection for someone without having sex with them. This may seem like something you’d only worry about with your teen daughters, but your teen sons also need to know that affection and sex are not equal. This will help them to be prepared to counter the suggestion “we’d do it if you loved me.” Forewarned is forearmed.
Keep communication lines open with your teen so they know they can come to you to discuss anything they are going through. You want them to come to you with problems they may be having in their teen relationships. Encourage them to talk things that concern them and invite them to ask questions. Answer those questions honestly and they’ll be more likely to come to you if they do have serious concerns in the future.
Encourage your teens to make friends with other teens that have the same values as your family. Finally, the best way for your teen to understand about healthy relationships is to see them modeled before them. Teen relationships can be a tricky business, but they can also be the basis for lifelong friendships.