Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Teen Relationships: Is your teen in a healthy relationship?

School is open and in full swing.  Many relationships are forming, some are going to be best friends forever and some are not.

Relationships are an essential part of life; without them, we would all wither and die of loneliness. However, there are times when relationships are the cause of immense suffering – when they’re abusive, one-sided or unhealthy, they tend to take more out of you than they give in return. It’s hard enough for adults to tackle relationships maturely, so when you know your teenager is interested in the opposite sex and has started to date, it’s only natural that your parental and protective instincts soar high. As long as your child is happy and cheerful for the most part, you don’t worry – you’re the indulgent parent watching your child grow into an adult. But when you sense that something is not right, when your gut feel tells you that the relationship your child is in is not healthy, you must do something to prevent them from getting into trouble or getting hurt.
  • Some teens get into relationships that are abusive – their partner is physically violent or verbally abusive. If you see your child with bruises and cuts that they cannot explain properly or if you notice them crying or upset after a phone call or a text message or when they’re back from a date, it’s time to probe for more information and help them out.
  • If your teen is a relationship that is proving to be distractive and detrimental to everything else in their life, you must do something to make them see sense. You don’t want your child to end up being a parent before they’ve gone to college and seen something of life, so even if you end up being labeled the villain, you must talk to them and make them understand that marriage straight out of high school is not an option even if they’ve found the love of their lives. It will be hard to make them understand your point of view, but you must try your best because you love your child and want the best for them.
  • In worst case scenarios, your teen could also be involved with a much older person who could be married too – it’s not unheard of for girls to be swayed by the attention of older men who shower them with gifts and take advantage of them or for boys to get seduced by older women. If your child is hiding their significant other from you and acting weirdly, it’s time to get to the bottom of things. I don’t mean that you must pry into their lives, just that you must be careful to ensure that they don’t get trapped by older adults who take advantage of their gullibility.
Talking to your teen is not the easiest of things to do because they tend to guard their privacy fiercely and will resent you “butting in”. However, you must persist because your child’s emotional wellbeing is at stake. Be understanding yet firm in your desire to help; continue to offer to talk and be there for them when the dam breaks and they finally feel they’ve had enough. Don’t despair that your child has undergone a bad experience – they come out better because of it and avoid making the same mistake again.

Source and contributed by: Rachel Davis 

Women in Distress in Broward County for Teens offers a hotline, resources and valuable information for both parents and teens.

Be and educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

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