Has your teenage child asked you the question, “What is a high school sweetheart?” yet?
If not, hold on; it is coming up soon.
Nonetheless, whether or not your teens have started showing interest in relationships and asking questions yet, romantic relationships are something they will meet in life. A foundation in this subject matter is much needed to help them navigate the course.
There are different notions about relationships and what a relationship should be. The best place to learn about is from one’s parents. While it may be an awkward conversation, especially with realizing that your kids are growing fast and are no longer babies anymore, enlightening them about relationships comes with the parenting package.
To make it easier for you and your teen, we have rounded up the best approaches to speaking to your child about relationships in these simple tips:
Tips for talking to your teens about relationships
1. Make it personal
Make the discussion personal by sharing your stories with them. It will help your teen relax and be reassured that they are not alone, seeing that you have gone through the phase yourself.
Share stories about your lessons learnt in relationships, what you would have done better, how you handled having a high school sweetheart (or not) and other relevant personal information that would help put their minds at ease.
2. Respect their opinions and judgments
The talk and ensuing discussions with your teen about relationships is a dialogue and not an authoritarian discourse or interrogation session. You should respect their opinions, ideas and values, except it will be detrimental to them one way or the other in the long run. In such a case, you have to correct their faulty judgments and educate them on why their valid ideals may be unhealthy.
Respect also includes respectfully and gently considering their opinions without being imposing, harsh, and bossy or the likes. This way, they will be more open to listening to and considering your (opposing) views and trust that you both can have an open line of sincere and healthy communication.
3. Educate them on appropriate and inappropriate behaviors in relationships
To enlighten your teens about relationships, you should show them the difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic one. Explain the acceptable behaviors in a relationship and those that are not.
Under this heading comes teaching them about the warning signs, red flags of an unhealthy relationship, the different abuses that may occur in a relationship, and how to handle it if they find themselves in one.
4. Make clear your boundaries and expectations for them
While discussing relationships and everything that accompanies it quite early is healthy to build your teen into a respectable and knowledgeable adult, you must understand that they are still kids and under your care. You should gently but firmly enforce your position as their parents by setting expectations and boundaries should they ever decide to date as teens.
5. Talk about sex
Sex is an integral part of relationships, and discourse on relationships is incomplete without reference to sex and sexual relations. Teenagehood is the ideal age to introduce your kids to healthy sex education to grow up knowing how to approach sexual relations.
While you talk about sex, be sure to limit your discussions to age-appropriate sex educational themes and topics, assuring them that as they grow, you will be there to guide them into the different dimensions of sex and sex education.
6. Model the right relationship
Finally, you are your kid’s first role model, and they grow up greatly influenced by what they see you do, say, and how you act. Set a good example about relationships by modeling the right relationship with your partner, spouse, family, friends and strangers. Charity, they say, begins at home, and this is also true for teaching your kids about relationships.
Growth and change are constant in kids. They need to undergo every life-changing phase emotionally, physically, and otherwise. The best thing you can do as a parent is help them through it and guide them as they transition from one phase to another. With these tips, you are sure to shape their relational and sexual orientations into healthy ideologies as should be.