Mom and dad talking with teenage son while sitting on living room couch

Stewarding Healthy Relationships In Your Teen

By the time children reach adolescence, many of them are already introduced to dating culture. Parents often struggle to know how to lead their teens in their dating relationships. Some parents choose to not let their children date until adulthood, but for those who do, guiding them through their relationships is a balancing act. It’s important not to be too involved in their relationships, but it’s also important to provide parameters for them to learn boundaries. Here are some ways to support your teen’s dating life. 

Help them develop a healthy relationship with God 

In order for a teen to develop healthy relationships, they must have healthy relationships to draw from. As they strengthen and nurture their relationship with God, they create a foundation to build all other relationships on top of. God’s love for us is unconditional! Teens who have a relationship with God prior to beginning relationships with others can determine how to treat others and how they want to be treated. Additionally, teens who know the love of God will be less likely to depend on others to build their sense of self-worth. It is important for individuals to have the security of God’s love so unhealthy attachments do not develop. 

Keep the line of communication open with your teens 

As teens navigate their dating life, sex is going to be a temptation they ARE going to be thinking about. If sex is not talked about at home, your teens will look for information outside of the home. This leaves  them vulnerable to predators, pornography addictions, and premarital sex. While I know this can be an uncomfortable topic for all parties, it’s important parents are having discussions with their teens about what sex is, why abstinence is a good choice, and what boundaries can be helpful to best support their goals. Keeping an open line of communication will help your teens feel safe to seek support when concerns arise. 

Build a relationship with your teen’s significant other and their parents

Teens who are navigating relationships need accountability. They are best supported when the adults in both families can work together and communicate well. Get to know them so you can understand their boundaries they are setting with their child. Inform them of the boundaries you are setting with your child. Creating this communication line between families builds encouragement for both teens. 

Encourage healthy breakups

Breakups are often a part of teen relationships, as fewer than 2% of teen relationships end in marriage (Newport Academy). Parents can help encourage healthy breakups through the way they respond to their child’s heartbreak. Active listening is a great tool when it comes to allowing your teens to feel their emotions. Provide a safe space for them to be able to talk through their hurt. Refrain from responding emotionally to their hurt. It can be difficult to not want to defend your child, but you want to encourage emotional maturity instead of hatred and resentment. When your teen is ready, talk through the things that were learned through that relationship, and help them determine what healthy boundaries look like after the breakup. 

Model healthy relationships for them

Discussing healthy boundaries and communication is helpful, but it is best when teens can see an example of what healthy relationships look like. If your relationship is unhealthy, it’s not too late to seek marriage counseling to help navigate conflict and build up communication. 

  • Show your kids how to place God first in your marriage.
  • Create room for grace and forgiveness in your conflict. 
  • Walk humbly and acknowledge when you’ve done wrong. 
  • Practice thinking through your words before speaking in anger. 

Implementing these principles and more can create a solid foundation for your children to build their relationships on. As your marriage continues to grow, your children will learn with you. Teen relationships are always going to be messy. However, keeping these things in mind will help you give your teens the best chance to not just survive these relationships, but grow through them. 

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Contact us to schedule an appointment or to learn more about Teen Therapy at Life Training.

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