Teaching Teens about Boundaries & Harmful Relationships
Teens need boundaries in dating relationships. In today’s increasingly violence and aggressive society, it’s important you teach your teen about healthy boundaries with dating partners. Here are a few truths to teach your teen about boundaries.
- Boundaries define what your property is – physically, mentally and emotionally. It defines what is yours. You have control over your body, mind, and heart.
- Boundaries protect you. They keep the good in and the bad out. They establish the rules of the yard for your life and person. You have the right to say “No” to others who violate your boundaries. You have control over how others treat you physically, emotionally and mentally.
- You have control and choice over what boundaries you set. You deserve to be valued, respected and free to be yourself.
- In any relationship, you have the right to be treated with respect. In romantic relationships, this means your date or boyfriend:
- Is willing to compromise.
- Allows you to feel comfortable being yourself.
- Is able to admit being wrong.
- Tries to resolve conflict in healthy, appropriate ways.
- Is honest with you.
- Respects your feelings and opinions.
- Respects your family and friends.
- Accepts when you say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
- Accepts you changing your mind.
- Respects the boundaries you set.
- Respects your wishes if you want to end the relationship.
These are basic rights of any relationship. If your teen is in a relationship and their boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t accept the boundaries they set, it’s a sign the relationship isn’t healthy and they may be in danger for physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse. Teach your teen these warning signs for harmful relationships:
- He or she says they can’t live without you.
- He or she breaks things to intimidate you.
- She or he threatens to hurt themselves if you break up.
- She or he pressures you into any type of sexual behavior by saying, “If you love me, you will….”
- He or she humiliates you and belittles your opinion.
- He or she is jealous or possessive about the time you spend with friends.
- She or he is constantly checking up on you, texting you, asking where you are and what you are doing.
- She or he wants your relationship to get serious too quickly, and refuses to take “no” for an answer.
- You’re frightened of him or her and worry about how she or he will react to the things you say or do.
- When she or he gets angry, they calls you names, kicks, hits or pushes you.
- She or he wants you to be available to him or her at all times.
- He or she forces you to choose to be with him or her over family or friends.
- He or she makes you feel afraid to express your thoughts or feelings, to make decisions about where to go, what to wear, or who to hang out with.
- She or he constantly threatens to break up with you or accuses you of planning to break up with him or her.
- She or he insults you in front of your friends or peers.
- He or she physically hurts you.
- He or she doesn’t respect boundaries you set for sexual behavior regardless if it’s through texting, social media, photos or in person.
If you’re teen is in a relationship where any of these boundaries are crossed, don’t ignore it. Seek professional help or contact authorities. You can also call or link to:
National Dating Hotline – 1-866-331-9474
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
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