As important as it is to talk to your children and educate them about sex, it is also necessary to help them define interpersonal boundaries.
The teenage years are about exploring relationships and an understanding of healthy and unhealthy ones will set them up for success in the future. This holds true for both friendships and romance.
While there may be cultural barriers, with some parents vehemently opposing teen relationships, keeping an open dialogue is key to helping them take the right decision. No parent wants to see their child in pain, so empower them to make good choices and walk away from the ones that don’t align with their needs.
1. Talk to them about your morals and values. Openly discuss your choices and why you think certain things are important in friendships and romantic relationships.
2. Talk to your child about bullying and peer pressure. Help them identify the signs in others and in their own behavior. While you may not be able to fight their battles for them, keeping open lines of communication is a critical step in the right direction.
3. Help them understand the difference between conduct and misconduct. Talk to them about consent and the consequences of having someone else’s will forcibly thrust upon them or vice-versa.
4. Ask them what they think defines a healthy relationship. What they are looking for in a friend, what they are looking for in a companion, what they believe real love to be and if they understand the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
5. As a parent, you have desires for your children and the picture of an ideal companion and social circle. Let your feelings be known. Be open about what you want for them now and in the future.
Our guide is meant to outline the basic facts. If you are in doubt or worried about your child or yourself for any reason, consult with a qualified and certified mental health professional.
Reviewed by: Dr. Melanie Schlatter
Date reviewed: 14th November, 2018