For Parents & Caregivers

You Play a Critical Role. Start the conversation today

  • Speak with your child rather than at your child.
  • Listen and show them that you value what they have to say.
  • Allow your child to articulate his or her boundaries and expectations for healthy relationships. Encourage debate —this helps your child come to his or her own understanding.
  • One of the most effective ways of teaching your child about healthy relationships is to model positive qualities in your own relationships—including the one you have with your young teen.

Remember: the best time to prepare a child to develop healthy relationships is before dating begins.

If you have concerns about your child’s relationships and would like information about counseling, school-based support groups, or parent workshops call Women In Distress’ 24-hour Hotline: 954-761-1133. If you are interested in what Broward County Public Schools are doing with regards to teen dating violence, click here.

Talk to Your Teen about the Characteristics of Healthy Relationships

Do your friends accept you for who you are? No one should pressure you into doing things you are not comfortable —such as smoking, drinking, drugs, taking or sending embarrassing or hurtful pictures or texts, or unwanted physical contact.

Do you feel emotionally and physically safe in all of your relationships? Emotional safety means you feel comfortable being you without fear of being put down. Physical safety means you are not being hurt or intimidated; or pressured into unwanted physical contact.

Fairness and Equality
Do you have an equal say in your friendships and relationships? From the activities you do together to the friends you hang out with, you should have an equal say in all of your relationships.

Do your friends or your boyfriend/girlfriend accept you for who you really are? You shouldn’t have to change who you are or compromise your beliefs to make someone like you.

Honesty and Trust
Are you and your friends honest with each other? Honesty builds trust. You can’t have a healthy relationship without trust. If you have ever caught a friend in a lie, you know that it takes time to rebuild your trust.

Good Communication
Do you talk face-to-face (not just text) with your friends or your girlfriend/boyfriend about your feelings? You and your friends should listen to one another and hear one another out.

Respectful Disagreements
In every relationship you have, you should respect each other as individuals and understand that sometimes there will be differences of opinion.

Enjoy Being Together
Do you laugh, have fun and are comfortable with your friends, girlfriend or boyfriend? While relationships aren’t perfect all the time, you should always feel comfortable in your relationships

Adapted from SafePlace, Austin, Texas

More Resources From Women In Distress

Women In Distress Provides Free Teen Dating Violence Prevention Programming. Click here to learn more.

Consider reviewing these materials for teens together with your child.

Other Resources

Love Is Respect