Very few parents enjoy the idea of their teenager dating, but teaching your teen that love is respect will prepare them for the world of adolescent romance.
It’s not a fun topic, but it’s a necessary one. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. According to loveisrespect.org, one in three teens experience sexual abuse, physical abuse, or both. That said, keeping an open and honest line of communication with your teen is important in order for them to have a healthy, positive dating experience.
Do you and your teen know the difference between health, unhealthy, and abusive relationships? A healthy relationship is based on respect, trust, honesty, communication, and equality. On the contrary, an unhealthy relationship is rooted in pressure, dishonesty, and lulls in communication. Worst of all, an abuse relationship involves manipulation, mistreatment, and accusations.
It’s pretty clear that physical and sexual abuse are wrong, but other behavior may fall into grey area. Talk with your teen and encourage them to set healthy boundaries with their partner or future partner. Additionally, encourage them to look for someone who:
- Is honest and caring
- Respects their boundaries and does not resort to anger
- Is comfortable with their friends and family
- Listens to their feelings and ideas, and is willing to compromise
- Encourages them to do well in school and other activities
- Does not threaten them, pressure them, or make them feel scared
For more information on healthy relationships check out https://preventionactionalliance.org/advocate/newsletters/know-love-is-respect-2/. You can also find relevant and positive advice at loveisrespect.org.