In order to have happy and meaningful relationships we need to be able to recognise healthy and unhealthy behaviours.
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:
Learning to have healthy limits or boundaries is 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:
A positive relationship is one where you both feel equal and respect one another. That means:
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:
By giving each other reassurance and encouragement, you can feel safe and secure in your relationships. You can show kindness and compassion by:
So, what sort of unhealthy behaviours should you try and avoid in teenage relationships?
A negative relationship is one that is based on power and control, rather than equality and respect. In an unhealthy relationship you might feel:
Disrespect is not OK and it’s an unhealthy behaviour that should be avoided in a relationship. It can be shown by:
Using physical force is never acceptable in any relationship.
Remember: it’s never OK for anyone to hurt you, with or without intent. If you feel unsafe you can 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.
Always remember that a relationship should make you happy and everyone deserves to have positive relationships.
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.