- Get to know your teen’s friends by making them welcome in your home. Be available to listen to your teen talk about good and not so good times with friends. Avoid making any judgments. Criticizing your teen’s friends will alienate her.
- Model healthy relationships for your teen. Talk about your own relationships with your partner or spouse, your family, coworkers, and friends. Discuss the ways in which your relationships are healthy, and ways in which they may not be healthy. Talk about what you have done in the past, or what you are doing to make your relationships healthy for you.
- Talk about the characteristics of healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships.
- Teach your teen to respect himself and others.
- If you believe your teen may be involved in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, take some time when you are both calm to talk. Put your concerns in clear, honest, non-judgmental language. “I heard you crying last night after Chris dropped you off. Your arm is bruised. What happened?”
- Make it clear that you love and support your teenagers and that you are there for them.
If you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, it is important for you to help yourself and your children by changing your situation. Seek counseling. If you or your children are in physical danger, leave the relationship immediately. Children and teens who experience violence and abuse in the home can suffer emotional, mental, and physical harm. They will have a difficult time establishing healthy relationships as adults.