By Susan Heckler
When your children mature and start having romantic relationships, it is the perfect time to sit them down and explain the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one.
Hopefully you are all blessed to be in a healthy, loving, respectful relationship with your significant other. If you are, you may be setting an example for your children on how you should treat other people and be expected to be treated by them. Some good talking points about a healthy relationship would be:
• Your partner respects you and your individuality.
• You are both open and honest.
• Your partner supports you and your choices even when they disagree with you.
• Both of you have equal say and respected boundaries.
• Your partner understands that you need to study or hang out with friends or family.
• You can communicate your feelings without being afraid of negative consequences.
• Both of you feel safe being open and honest.
Dating violence can happen to any teen in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship, anytime, anywhere. Physical abuse is only one part of a domestic violence situation that you want your children to avoid. Jealousy in excess, public humiliation and dishing out guilt are ways some people try to control you. Finding the right place to draw the line can be difficult for tweens and teens, so it is up to a parent or guardian to enlighten them.
February is the chosen month to raise awareness to teen violence. Wearing orange is a show of solidarity. On Valentine’s Day, take the opportunity to talk to your kids about unhealthy relationships…they can last a lifetime or have a negative impact on them for the rest of their lives.
According to the Center for Disease Control 1 in 10 teens reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the 12 months prior to the survey, and nearly half of all teens in relationships say they know friends who have been verbally abused.
By Susan Heckler