To honor and support our teens it is vital to teach and model healthy relationship skills. Like many individuals who grew up in abusive settings, some teens grow up believing that dating violence is acceptable, normal, and/or ok. The misconception that abuse is acceptable, normal, and/or ok can be challenged through education, outreach, and looking at where abusive patterns and behaviors have been learned.
Our youth deserve to learn about healthy relationships and what they consist of. Talking openly with teens about what respect, honesty, trust, boundaries, consent, and communication looks and feels like in a healthy relationship provides them with a cornerstone of important concepts that will help them build their own ‘healthy relationship’ if the time is right for them.
If a teenager finds themselves in an abusive relationship and comes to you for support, please listen to them without conditions or judgments on how they are feeling or the decisions they have made. You can help your teenaged friend, family member, or loved one by assisting them in finding and connecting with resources that can provide them with professional support.
Esperanza Shelter can help you and our youth learn about healthy relationships. Please reach out to us to receive confidential, bi-lingual, free support services—we can help you.