Every February, families express their love for others through Valentines, candy or other sweet gestures. Valentine's Day is a perfect time to reflect on the relationships in our lives. It also can be a natural opportunity to connect with your teens about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Friends, peers and significant others help shape your teens’ perceptions of healthy relationships. The strongest influence, however, are the relationships your teen witnesses at home. In other words, parents have the most profound impact.
To help your teens understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, consider these tips:
1. Love unconditionally.
Respect your spouse or partner. Be supportive. Aim to bring out the best in each other. When mistakes happen or flaws are revealed, show love and understanding. Kids are always watching and are influenced by their parents’ relationships.
2. Listen unconditionally.
Teens yearn to be heard and know when they’re truly being listened to. Listen to your teens with an open heart and mind. Remove your perspective and all agendas and allow them to share their true thoughts, fears and opinions.
3. Ask them open-ended questions.
Asking open-ended questions like the ones below can help encourage your teens to evaluate their relationships:
· How do you feel about yourself in this relationship?
· Do you feel like your best self when you’re around this friend or group of friends?
· What brings out the best in you with this friend?
· Do you feel like this friend supports you?
· Do you feel heard? Respected?
Not only is this a good listening opportunity, but it’s also one that helps to define the nature of the relationships in their lives.
For more tips on how to strengthen your relationship with your children, visit the Coaching section of our website.
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