The most important key to building and maintaining a healthy relationship is trust. Whether it’s with family, friends, business partners, or dating, the relationship should be built with integrity. Students today lack social and relationship skills. With technology and social media being the most popular form of communication, more students are becoming socially awkward. Also, they are less incline to develop interpersonal relationships. Due to this, teenagers may not recognize or understand the qualities of a healthy or unhealthy relationship.
According to the National Organizations for Youth Safety and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three teens experience physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse by a dating partner each year. However, family, friends, and teachers may not recognize the signs if a student is being abused.
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship:
- Begins self-harming behaviors such as cutting, hair pulling, etc.
- Make excuses for their partner’s behavior
- Attempts to control or manipulate a person
- Lack of respect for each other’s friends and family
- Lack of mutual support
- Feels pressure to change who they are as a person
- Always neglecting yourself for your partner
- Experiences depression or social anxiety
- Begins to engage in alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
- Experience loss of friendships or time spent with family
- Withdrawn from school or social activities
Signs of a Healthy Relationship:
- Mutual support
- Demonstrates empathy towards each other
- Respects their partner
- Trust and values each other
- Individuals feel safe and secure
- Accept one another for who they truly are
- Shows encouragement
- Allowed to spend time with their family and friends
- Allowed to express their opinions and thoughts openly
- Communicate feelings and emotions in an appropriate manner
- Does not have to worry about violence in the relationship
It’s important to learn and recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships. Be mindful, a person may never disclose their abuse to you.
How can STUDENTS help?
SLS and STAND Chapters can create workshops to help educate students about healthy relationships and dating violence. Workshops can include an open discussion about the dating bill of rights, intervention strategies, and engaging activities to promote safety. SLS members can arrange an assembly for the entire school with skits and speakers about healthy relationships. Chapters can develop a Humor Workshop where they teach others about the positive effects of laughter in education, a workplace, and physical characteristics. If you didn’t know, laughter is known to make you healthier because you send a signal of joy to your surroundings. Also, a Humor Workshop can promote and improve relationship building and social skills for students.
Here are some other tips provided by SLS Chapters on How to Intervene and Help a Hurting Friend:
Stay calm, be available, listen, be empathetic, stay with them if you feel they cannot be left alone or get someone they trust to stay with them, believe what they are saying to you, identify the situation that brings them discomfort, develop a support network, discuss alternatives to the situation, and ask direct questions.
If you are a victim or know someone in a domestic violence relationship, get help immediately.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 866-331-9474
All available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Visit www.teens4healthlyrelationships.org to find resources available for teens experiencing abuse.