How do kids learn about relationships?
Kids learn about relationships from the adults around them. When you taught your child to say “please” and “thank you” as a toddler, you were teaching respect and kindness.
Your own relationships also teach your kids how to treat others. When you treat your kids, partner, and friends in healthy and supportive ways, your kids learn from your choices.
Children learn from unhealthy experiences, too. If they experience violence at home or in the community, they are more likely to be in unhealthy rela- tionships later on.
When should I start talking about dating?
It’s best to start talking about healthy relationships before your child starts dating. Start conversations about what to look for in a romantic partner. For example, you could ask your child:
• How do you want to be treated?
• How do you want to feel about yourself when you are with that person?
What makes a relationship healthy?
In a healthy relationship:
• Both people feel respected, supported, and valued
• Both people make decisions together
• Both people have friends and interests outside of the relationship
• Both people settle disagreements with open and honest communication
• Both people respect each other’s privacy and space
What makes a relationship unhealthy?
In an unhealthy relationship:
• One or both people try to change the other
• One person makes most or all of the decisions
• One or both people drop friends and interests outside of the relationship
• One or both people yell, threaten, hit, or throw things during arguments
• One or both people make fun of the other’s opinions or interests
• One or both people keep track of the other all the time by calling, texting, or checking in with friends
Teens may think it’s okay to act in these ways, but these behaviors can develop into violence. If you see any of these signs, talk to your teen.
What is dating violence?
Dating violence is when one person in a romantic relationship is physically or emotionally harmful to the other person. It can happen in any relationship, whether it’s an opposite-sex (straight) or same-sex (gay) relationship.
Dating violence can include:
• Stalking, like watching or following a partner, or sending repeated, unwanted phone calls or texts
• Controlling behavior, like telling a partner how to dress or who to spend time with
• Emotional abuse, like embarrassing a partner or keeping that person away from family and friends
• Physical abuse, like pushing, hitting, or throwing things
• Sexual abuse, like forcing or trying to force someone to have sex
Dating violence can happen in person, online, or with other technology (like cell phones). It can also keep happening after the relationship has ended.
Both boys and girls can experience unhealthy or unsafe relationships. Sometimes both partners act in unhealthy or unsafe ways, but using violence is never okay. It’s important to talk to all kids about how to have respectful, healthy relationships. For more info visit: https://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/inti- matepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html