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Assessing Relationships

​This information is included in our Guide to Teenage Dating. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

As your child heads back to school, he or she will be renewing old friendships and making new ones. Some teens have a stronger natural ability to develop and maintain relationships. But all can use some help evaluating their friendships. Don't assume your child knows the fundamentals of healthy relationships.

Teach the language and actions of respect, and let your child know that you expect him or her to treat others with respect as well as to require it from others. Be a good role model in your own relationships.

Help your child examine his or her friendships to determine which are healthy and which may need to be ended. Here are some questions for your child to think about:

  • A relationship is not healthy if one person uses the other. It should be equal. Who is giving and who is taking in this relationship?
  • Relationships are just one portion of life. Putting too much emphasis on a particular relationship takes away from all the other aspects in your life. Has this ever happened to you? When?
  • Relationships are always changing; some will change for the better, some for the worse. What are some ways your relationships have changed?
  • Healthy relationships should make a person feel safe and comfortable. If you do not feel this way, why not?
  • Look at your past relationships, both good and bad, and then describe what each relationship is like now. If it has changed, what happened to change it?
  • Identify things that you have done or changed just to please another person. Did the other person also change?
  • Look at present relationships. List why certain people are better friends than others.
  • What happens when someone of the opposite sex is attracted to you? What behaviors are appropriate for a first date?
  • Do you rush into poorly considered relationships? Are you impulsive, or do you think things out?
  • List the qualities that you think make a good friend.

Learning how to ask questions about all relationships will help your child avoid a harmful friendship and feeling stuck. It will also point out things that he or she needs to improve to be a better friend. As a parent, you can use these parenting tips this to start a nonjudgmental discussion about someone that concerns you in your child's life.

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