While “the sex talk” is an important conversation to have with your teenager, there’s much more ground to be covered. As your children enter their teens, they also need to learn what it means to have a healthy intimate relationship, and how to recognize an unhealthy relationship. This brief overview can help you open up discussion with your teen and let them know they can come to you with any of their problems.
Teach Freedom and Mutual Respect
One of the first things you want your teenager to understand is that a romantic relationship shouldn’t feel confining or limiting. When you’re involved in a monogamous relationship, you should still feel free to express your opinions, thoughts, and feelings. Your teen should be made to understand that a partner should encourage the expression of creativity and not attempt to restrict it. This requires mutual respect among partners, which is where trust begins to form.
Addressing Jealousy in the Relationship
The discussion must ultimately lead to the topics of trust and jealousy. When two people have mutual respect for one another, trust should develop naturally. When partners come to trust one another, they should be able to discuss intimate issues freely, including topics concerning infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases, and anything else that may affect the relationship. The ability to discuss these issues freely will help your teen and his or her partner trust one another more completely.
You should take the time to discuss trust with your teen and found out what it means to him or her. Since there are many different types of trust, understanding your teen’s views on trust will help you lead the discussion toward the topic of jealousy. While a certain degree of jealousy is human nature, letting jealousy influence one’s actions is a sign of mistrust. Anger or aggression, born out of jealousy, is a warning sign that the relationship is unhealthy and destructive to each partner.
Teaching Your Teen to Recognize Abuse
You can’t discuss relationships with your teen without addressing the different types of abuse that can destroy a relationship. While it’s important to ensure your teen understands the physical and emotional dangers of abuse, you should also discuss other types of abuse with your teen. In fact, abuse should be discussed in depth to ensure your teen won’t become an unwitting victim to it.
The different types of abuse include:
- Physical Abuse – Involves hitting and punching, kicking, choking, biting, and may escalate to the use of weapons.
- Emotional Abuse – The use of words to humiliate, threaten, manipulate, or instill fear.
- Sexual Abuse – While forced and nonconsensual sexual intercourse is one form, this also includes other forced sexual conduct. It can also involve controlling or manipulating the partner’s sexual behavior.
- Financial Abuse – This involves using money or property to control another, or it may involve coercing a partner to grant access to finances.
- Digital Abuse – This includes any online acts intended to harass, manipulate, or intimidate another person.
- Stalking – This is the most difficult form of abuse to recognize, because it can often be mistaken for romance or flattery. It involves following the movements of another, taking photos of someone without their knowledge, or investigating a person for the purpose of knowing more about them.
As you discuss all of these topics with your teen, be sure they understand that it’s up to them to set their own personal boundaries. If they don’t like the way someone is treating them, it’s important to stop that behavior early. When they begin to tolerate it, whatever that behavior may be, they let their partner know that it’s acceptable. Each conversation should end with you letting your teen child know that they can discuss relationship problems with you. Assure them that you’ll be supportive and nonjudgmental, so they will feel comfortable talking about intimate issues.
Author Bio: Paige Jirsa-I work with Top10.Today, a shopping comparison site, where we strive to help consumers find the best quality and priced products.