Tips for Parents
Exploring Healthy Relationships with Your Student
February is Relationship Wellness Month. Talk with your student this month about what a healthy relationship looks like. It doesn't really matter if you're talking about the love of your student's life or a good friend. The basic tenets of healthy relationships are the same, regardless! Consider using this acronym to get the conversation started:
Signs that a Relationship is Healthy...
- Vitality! In a healthy relationship, both individuals have the opportunity to grow, explore areas of interest to them and live life to the fullest.
- Acceptance. It's nearly impossible to change another person. In a healthy relationship, both partners accept the good, the bad (and the sometimes ugly) parts of one another.
- Love. This goes without saying! But, it's important to note that love is intimacy, friendship and respect — not possessiveness, obsession and manipulation.
- Emotion. Relationships are emotional roller coasters, there's no doubt about it. If you didn't truly care about the person, the relationship wouldn't be hard work. Sometimes you'll face uphill battles and sometimes you'll feel like you're coasting downhill. This is all-important in building a strong, solid relationship.
- Natural. In a healthy relationship, partners aren't pressured to do things they don't want to do. If something doesn't feel right, it's quite likely that it isn't. You should never feel intimidated or put down by the person who loves you.
- Trust. It's much easier to be vulnerable when you trust someone wholeheartedly. And this vulnerability is so important in achieving an authentic relationship built on honesty and openness.
- Interdependence. In a healthy relationship, partners live and work together. Neither is dependent or independent from the other and both have their own positive identity.
- Nourishing. A relationship should make deposits in your emotional bank account, not withdrawals. Healthy relationships are those that make you feel good about yourself.
- Effervescence. If you're not feeling excited about your relationship, something is wrong. Although relationships are hard work and take a great deal of compromise, if you've tried this and you're still not feeling excited, it might be time to evaluate why you're feeling the way you are. This is okay! Sometimes you just need to take stock to realize all that you have. But sometimes, it may be time to part ways. If this is the case, stay true to yourself and be as honest as you can.
Now's the time to get the conversation started. Show your student that you care about his emotional well being by encouraging him to take a close look at the relationships he has to determine how healthy they are.
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