Being in a new relationship can make your child feel excited, happy, safe and in control.
But relationships can sometimes be unhealthy and it can be hard for your child to recognise this, it is crucial that as parents/carers, you have the knowledge and confidence to support your child to ensure they are in healthy relationships.
Healthy vs Unhealthy relationships
A healthy relationship is when two people develop a connection based on: equality, trust, honesty, respect, communication and support.
An unhealthy relationship is likely to involve jealousy, controlling or threatening behaviour, being unsupportive, putting someone down, negatives out way the positives and can lead to become an abusive relationship where physical, sexual, emotional, financial or psychological abuse would be evident.
At times all relationships will have some of these characteristics. However, unhealthy relationships will exhibit these characteristics more frequently and cause a child stress and pressure that is hard to avoid.
Recognising an unhealthy relationship
You will know your child better than anyone so it is likely you will recognise an unhealthy relationship even before they do, where there is a change in behaviour/personality it is always advised to question why?
Share warning signs of violence and abuse with your teenager
- Ask your teenager if their partner:
- shows extreme jealousy, anger;
- displays controlling behaviour;
- monitors calls and emails;
- believes in rigid sex roles;
- blames others for their problems or feelings;
- is verbally abusive; and/or
- uses threatening behaviour.
What does it feel like for a young person?
Those who are in unhealthy/abusive relationships might believe that:
- they are responsible for the violence and abuse, ‘It’s my fault, I deserved it’
- their partner’s controlling and coercive behaviours are ‘romantic’ ‘they do it because they love me’
- abuse is normal – because it has been experienced through family/friendship relationships
- there is no one to ask for help
- they would prefer to have a partner who treats them badly/is abusive than to not have a partner at all.
Women’s Aid – the national charity that co-ordinates and supports an England-wide network
of over 340 local domestic and sexual violence organisations working to end domestic abuse against
women and children. www.womensaid.org.uk
NSPCC Helpline – 24/7 free advice and support for adults concerned about the safety and welfare of
children and young people T: 0808 800 5000 – Text: 88858 – Visit: www.nspcc.org.uk