As teens, your relationships come from your family, friends, casual acquaintances from school, and romantic interests. It’s important to develop healthy relationships with everyone you interact with on a day to day basis. Healthy relationships, not just the romantic ones, include these core values:
- Communication: Talking openly with one another, without aggression or hostility
- Respect: Valuing one another for their individual qualities and uniqueness.
- Trust: A sense of loyalty and openness in a relationship, where you feel the other party supports you and is a confidant.
- Equality: Decisions are made with both parties’ thoughts, opinions, and concerns in mind.
- Personal space: You have the ability to take time away, and enjoy time with members in other relationship groups.
Unfortunately, sometimes relationships can become difficult to manage and can spiral out of control. You may be having difficulties right now communicating your thoughts and feelings to someone, or difficulty understanding the emotional and physical safety of your current relationship.
Some things to consider:
Physical abuse is not the only type of abuse in relationships. Abusive relationships can also include:
- Emotional abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Mental abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Social abuse
- Each form of abuse can have negative side effects on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
- In any and every relationship you have the right to feel SAFE. If you are not feeling emotionally, mentally, or physically safe in a current relationship, you may be in an abusive relationship. Call Teen Lifeline at 602-248-TEEN (8336), or statewide in Arizona, 800-284-TEEN (8336) if you are questioning the safety of a relationship in your life.
To learn more about different forms of relationship abuse, please visit: http://teenrelationships.org/abuse
To understand and avoid abusive relationships, it is important to know the red flags that have potential to become abusive. Some warning signs are:
- Isolations from other relationship groups
- Threats to harm you or harm themselves
- Placing blame
- Sudden mood swings
Each of these behaviors can be a red flag of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. If you are in a relationship with similar signs, it is important to:
- Know your rights! Emotional, verbal, mental, social, and financial abuse can classify as harassment.
- Any kind of physical or sexual abuse is illegal! You can report this to the police and request an order of protection (restraining order) to maintain safety.
- Create a plan to keep yourself safe from verbal, emotional, and physical abuse.
- Find an adult you can trust! Alert a parent, teacher, guidance counselor, or other school official. They will keep you safe. If you are unsure of who to talk to, call Teen Lifeline at 602-248-TEEN (8336) or, statewide in Arizona, 800-284-TEEN (8336)!
If you are struggling or confused about your relationships here are some tips:
- Ask yourself if this is a relationship you want to continue.
- If you are unsure, you can make a “pro” and “con” list.
- Brainstorm on what you can do to improve the relationship and …
- Brainstorm on what the other person can do to improve the relationship.
- Openly communicate with the person about your feelings.
- Use “I messages” if you are having difficulty communicating your feelings. Example: “I feel . . .”
- Visit here for more tools and information on communicating with “I messages” and increasing healthy relationships.
- If you’re not ready to communicate in person, write a letter expressing your feelings.
- Find someone who can help mediate the conflict with you.
- Always find a trusted adult that can help you.
A relationship doesn’t have to be abusive to sometimes affect your mood, behavior, or performance in school and other activities. Relationships can be hard to maintain and stress can play a factor in ending many well-intentioned relationships.
It is always important to identify the positive aspects of your life and find ways to manage and cope with your stress!
If you are having trouble in your relationships and having trouble identifying someone to talk to, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and help. You are not alone.