Healthy Relationships

  • Help teens understand they are in control of their relationships.
  • Provide teens with practical advice to evaluate their relationships.
  • Encourage teens to set relationship and sexual boundaries they are comfortable keeping.
  • Inform teens that healthy relationships require shared values:
    • Each person’s freedom and priorities are respected.
    • Common interests are shared.
    • Other friendships and relationships remain strong.
    • Partners are not pressured into activities they do not feel comfortable doing.
    • Decisions are made jointly.
  • About one in five high school girls report having been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.[1]
  • One in three teens report having a boyfriend or girlfriend who demanded to know where they were at all times. One in four teens who have been in a serious relationship say that a boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their boyfriend or girlfriend.[2]
  • If you suspect your teen is in an unhealthy relationship, look for signs such as:
    • Withdrawal from other friends.
    • Regular and demeaning joking by a boyfriend or girlfriend at your son’s or daughter’s expense.
    • Excessive texting, IMing, or phone calling.
    • Drastic, sudden changes in tastes or interests.
  • If your teen tells you that he or she has been the victim of abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest:
    • Stay calm.
    • Create a safe environment for communication.
    • Allow your teen to express what is going on.
    • Avoid threatening revenge on your teen’s partner.
    • Explore what community resources are available to help (such as hotlines, counselors, and clinics).
    • Consider reporting the violence to local law enforcement.
    • Document everything—what your teen reports; what actions you take; and what clinical, social work, and law enforcement personnel tell you.

Know More

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Choose respect: Dating violence facts.
[2] (2011). Dating abuse fast facts. Retrieved from
Last updated: September 23, 2016