It is important to talk to your children and educate them about sex, it is also necessary to help your teens define a healthy relationship. Equally important is giving them an understanding of what love truly is.
There are cultural barriers and not all parents endorse the idea of teen dating. Being open, honest and helping your children define the good, bad and ugly of a relationship will empower them to take responsible decisions.
Remember, relationships may end up being emotionally, sexually, verbally or even physically abusive, so guiding your teens will enable them to take more meaningful decisions later in life.
We have put together a few simple pointers to help fathers connect with their children and help them define this tough and seemingly abstract concept.
1. Healthy relationships, both friendships and romantic ones are about support, love and care.
2. Unhealthy ones are about control and power.
3. No relationship is perfect. But, no relationship should be one-sided either.
Ask your children some important questions about their relationships.
- Are you being hurt or made to feel afraid?
- Are you being controlled and told what to do and how to spend your time?
- Do your thoughts, feelings and opinions matter to your friend/partner?
- Are you being pressured into sex or anything you aren’t ready to do?
- Are you forced to smoke, drink, do drugs or any other form of substance abuse?
The teenage years are about exploring relationships and parents need to allow open lines of communication to help their children feel safe and confident. If the answer to any of those question is yes, it’s likely the relationship isn’t healthy.
Some telltale signs of an abusive relationship:
- Being physically assaulted
- Being forced into a physical or sexual relationship when you aren’t ready or against your will
- Possessiveness or jealously without reason
- Being threatened
- Constantly being told what to do and being put down
Foundations of a healthy relationship:
- Mutual respect
- Respect for each other’s feelings and opinions. Seeking consent.
- The feeling of safety and security
- Taking mutual decisions and listening to each other
Reviewed by: Dr. Melanie Schlatter
Date reviewed: 15th November, 2018
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.