Teaching Teens What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like
Having healthy relationships is a vital part of a person’s overall wellbeing, and our teens are no different. Teens need positive connections with parents, family, peers, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures. The problem is that, since teens don’t have a lot of life experience, they often don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like. This can become a big problem when they start dating, but it’s equally important in friendships, sibling interactions, and relationships with adults such as teachers. If a teen is not aware of the characteristics of a healthy relationship, they can end up in an abusive situation without even realizing it.
The best way for teens to learn about healthy relationships is through watching their parents. When they see their parents treating each other, friends, and family with honesty, respect, trust, and open communication, teens will begin to expect that type of treatment in their own relationships. However, not every teen has two parents in the home, and certainly not every relationship a parent has is healthy. With that in mind, today’s blog let’s teens know what they should be looking for in a relationship:
Characteristics of Healthy Relationships
- Trust. Each person in a good relationship should know they can rely on each other. They know they can count on this person to come through for them and be supportive. They feel their secrets are safe with this person and that they can believe what the other person says to them. They believe the other person will not do anything intentional to hurt them.
- Respect. In healthy relationships, people talk to each other in ways that don’t put down, insult, or belittle. They value each other’s time and opinions. They protect each other’s privacy and personal space.
- Honesty. Each person should always be truthful and open. They can express what they want, or discuss their hopes, without fearing how the other person will respond. They don’t feel like the other person is hiding things from them.
- Growth. In a healthy relationship, people want each other to enjoy their favorite activities, learn new things, and spend time with family and friends alike. In life, our hopes, fears, goals, and interests will constantly change, and people who are in good relationships will understand, and even embrace, those changes.
- Empathy. Each person should be willing to understand and validate the other person’s perspective.
- Balance of Power. In a healthy relationship, both people feel like they are on equal footing. They can make their own decisions without fear of retaliation or judgment. They feel physically safe. They respect each other’s opinions and independence. No one pressures the other person to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable. And they put equal effort into their relationship.
- Compromise. Conflict is bound to arise in every relationship. People should be able to compromise and negotiate to a mutually agreeable solution when there are disagreements.
- Communication. In a healthy relationship, each person can share their feelings, even when they don’t agree, in a way that makes the other person feel safe, heard, and not judged.
Share these characteristics with your teen so that they know what they should expect from the important relationships in their lives and also how to be a good friend, family member, or partner to others.
If you’re particularly concerned about your teen’s dating relationships, you also might want to read our previous blog on Teen Romantic Relationships: How to Prevent Dating Violence.