In order to have happy and meaningful relationships we need to be able to recognise healthy and unhealthy behaviours.
Watch the video below and read on to ﬁnd top teen relationship advice!
Think of a relationship like a pie: for it to work, you need a few key ingredients! These include:
Open, honest and safe communication is a fundamental part of a healthy teenage relationship. That means you need to:
- Talk to each other!
- Be honest with yourself about how you feel
- Try to speak up if something is bothering you
- Respect what each of you have to say – that might mean sometimes agreeing to disagree
Learning to have healthy limits or boundaries are fundamental when it comes to enjoying positive relationships. A game without rules would be very confusing – relationships work in the same way and need rules, too. Not strict rules like at school, but reasonable and safe agreements on how to behave towards each other.
Having healthy boundaries means that your relationship shouldn’t prevent you from:
- Spending time with your friends
- Enjoying hobbies you like
- Having privacy when you want it
A positive relationship is one where you both feel equal and respect one another. That means:
- Trusting each other
- Giving each other the beneﬁt of the doubt
For example, being in a romantic relationship shouldn’t mean that you can’t spend time with, or speak to, friends of the opposite sex.
The wishes and feelings of everyone in a relationship have value. Some healthy behaviours that contribute to a respectful teenage relationship are:
- Making an effort to understand each other’s point of view
- Avoiding insults
- Not putting each other down
By giving each other reassurance and encouragement, we can feel safe and secure in our relationship. We show kindness or compassion by:
- Being supportive of one another’s goals or dreams
- Listening to their views when things may be difﬁcult
So, what sort of unhealthy behaviours should you try and avoid in teenage relationships?
Power and control
A negative relationship is one that is based on power and control, rather than equality and respect. In an unhealthy relationship you might feel:
- Pressured to do things that you don’t want to do
- That you can’t do the things that you used to enjoy
- That you can’t be with some of your friends or family because your partner is being unreasonably jealous
Disrespect is not OK and it’s an unhealthy behaviour that should be avoided in a relationship. It can be shown by:
- Making fun of the other’s opinions and interests
- Destroying something that belongs to the other
- Making the other feel bad about themselves
- Yelling at the other
Using physical force
Using physical force is a severe form of disrespect and it’s never acceptable in any relationship.
Remember: it’s never OK for anyone to hurt you, with or without intent. If you feel unsafe you must take steps to protect yourself.
It’s great to enjoy being with each other but if one of you feels that you “cannot live without” the other or threatens to do something drastic if the relationship ends, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
You should try to keep some time for yourself to cultivate your own interests and friendships, even if you are in a romantic relationship.
What to do if there are unhealthy behaviours in my relationship
Consider talking to the other person in the relationship
- If you think your relationship is unhealthy, you should consider talking about it with that person. Sometimes by talking out your feelings and making changes to how you treat each other things can be ﬁxed.
- If you’ve tried talking and things aren’t getting better or you feel unsafe or scared to talk it might be time to end the relationship. It can be hard, but everyone deserves a healthy relationship, with someone who treats you with respect.
Get someone else’s point of view
- If you aren’t sure who to talk to, think about a person you trust and feel comfortable being around - who is a good listener, and always has your best interests at heart?
- Feeling like you’ve identiﬁed the right person to talk to can give you the conﬁdence you need to open up.
How to end a relationship
2) Look after yourself
- After a breakup, make sure you spend time doing things that make you feel good like your favourite hobbies, or seeing your best friends!
3) Remember it’s not your fault.
- The other person should respect your decision.
- If you feel pressured or threatened talk to a trusted adult.
Remember! A positive relationship is based on open and honest communication, trust, respect and compassion. It has healthy boundaries that allow you to be who you are, do what you like and spend time with your friends and family.
Pay attention to unhealthy behaviours in your relationship such as power and control, disrespect and the use of physical force and ask for help if needed.
Always remember that a relationship should make you happy and everyone deserves to have positive relationships.