February 2018

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner everyone’s focus is on their relationship and spending time together. Even the teens are focusing on their relationship or being in a relationship, which gets me thinking about their knowledge about what a healthy relationship is and is not.

When I think about what a healthy relationship is, the first thing that comes to my mind is a mutual respect for each other, which is feeling that my opinion is important and that both partners are valued for their differences. Another sign of a healthy relationship is that there is open, honest, safe communication between the partners. This would be by being able to air your dislikes and grievances with them being heard by the other partner, compromise between both partners, and being able to problem solve without the fear of retaliation. YES, that means besides texting, messaging and snapchatting you should be able to put down the phone and actually converse using your own voice. In a healthy relationship you are free to be yourself, have your own friends and interests, and respect each other’s privacy. In a healthy relationship with respect, the partners aren’t forced to give the other passwords or to keep their phone unlocked at all times. In a healthy relationship both partners have their own goals that they are working towards and both partners are supportive of each other. Knowing just these few signs can help builds to a healthy relationship but no relationship is perfect. There will be arguments that happen, but being able to talk helps come to a compromise where both partners feel that they were heard and valued.

Here are some signs of an unhealthy relationship: if you are not allowed to talk to friends, if you are afraid to tell your partner that you are upset and why you are upset, when the relationship gets physically aggressive, etc. Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify. This type of abuse can have signs like being called names, made to feel like everything is your fault, that you’re not good enough, or that no one but your partner loves you.

Even healthy relationships could experience ups and downs but with mutual respect, healthy communications skills, and being on the same page, it will help grow, mature, and draw both partners closer together through good and bad. Being open to discuss relationships with your teen could make all the difference.

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