Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Relationships
Before Talking to Your Kids, Think About Your View About Relationships
Do you have expectations of people’s behavior based on their gender? How should people behave when they disagree? How should decisions be made in a relationship? Make sure that you can explain your reasoning and can give examples.
Become Their Source For Information
Give your kids clear examples of what is appropriate in a dating relationship. Talk to them about your standards of conduct that you expect rather than letting locker room or slumber party talk be their only source of information.
Tell the Whole Truth: Good and Bad
Tweens and Teens generally view relationships very idealistically. Support these expectations but also be realistic with them about the bad things that can happen. Let them know that violence is never acceptable. Give them a few suggestions or phrases to help them get out of difficult situations (“I am not ready to go that far” or “I am uncomfortable, can we talk about this?”).
Teach Assertiveness, Not Aggressiveness
One of the best skills parents can teach their children is to make their feelings known by expressing their opinions, feelings and desires clearly. For example, if they do not want to do something, they need to say so. Finally, if there is a conflict, if things cannot be settled, encourage them to always take a break and cool down before feelings get hurt.
Teach Problem Solving
When confronted with a tough issue, have your child determine what exactly happened and what may have caused the situation.Then, ask them to think of several different ways it could have been resolved, consider the consequences of each of the alternatives and discuss the choices.
Help your children understand that compromise and taking turns are positive steps to a healthy relationship and that violence, threats and insults have no place in respectful negotiation. Teach your children to negotiate and acknowledge the situation. State each person’s point of view honestly , and discuss options that allow both people to “win.”
Keep Lines of Communication Open
Secrecy that can isolate kids from friends and family is not acceptable and can be the first signs of manipulation and coercion. Teach your child that being strong also means being brave enough to ask for help from adults they trust.
Be the Ultimate Role Model
Young people learn by observing those around them, especially their parents. It is critical that you respect yourself, your partner, and other people.