Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

Written by on July 25, 2017

A very important topic and one of my favorites to discuss with the youth are “Healthy and Unhealthy relationships. It is one of my favorites because, in today’s society, young people can become very confused on what the qualities of a healthy relationship are. Media, music, television, and movies sometimes glamorize unhealthy qualities and make them seem normal.

What is a Healthy Relationship?

A healthy relationship should consist of several qualities. Trust, communication, honesty, loyalty, and very important is equality. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start. I like to stress the importance of communication. You need that for a healthy relationship because, without the ability to communicate, a person cannot express feelings or expectations. A person should be able to communicate not only what they don’t want in a relationship, but what they want as well.

When discussing healthy and unhealthy relationships, most young people automatically assume we are talking about romantic relationships. I stress to them that when we talk about these relationships they need to consider all types. They need to consider parents, siblings and other family members. Even teachers, friends, and peers as well. Family relationships are most important for learning how to have a healthy relationship. Especially a romantic relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend later on. If they learn how to function in a healthy family relationship, they are better equipped to know what they want and don’t want in a partner relationship. This will help them be able to communicate that to another person.

Many youths, I have spoken to when asked if jealousy is a good quality or bad, have said that it is okay to be jealous, or for your partner to be jealous because it just means they care. They don’t realize that jealousy can lead a relationship down a very bad path. It is not healthy for them or the person they are in a relationship with and that many more unhealthy qualities can make their way in as a result.

Communication Is Key

As a parent or trusted adult of a young person, I believe it is important to have these conversations. Let them know what they need to expect in a healthy relationship and how to communicate it when the time comes. Open communication lines are a great start. It will serve two purposes, one, teaching the young person how to properly communicate, and that it is okay to express what you want, and two, strengthening your own relationship with the young person.

Here are some great articles on healthy relationships. There is a lot of great advice and information out there. There is also a lot of information about communication and how to communicate with your young person, and I will be posting more on that topic as well.

Larry is the Program Director of the iMAD Program. As a community leader, he is dedicated to helping youth make healthy choices.

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