The concern of having healthy relationships keeps coming up in several different forms on my questionnaire through my newsletter sign up.
How can I teach my daughter how to have good friendships?
How can my daughter have healthy relationships with boys?
How can I create a better relationship with my teen?
It’s all about how teens can create healthy relationships in their lives, whether it is with friends, boyfriends, parents, or other adults.
I first want to look at how we can help our teens have healthy relationships period, with anyone. When I look back on my teenage years most all of my friendships were painful. The lack of consciousness involved with both parties makes it almost impossible to have a healthy, safe relationship. Isn’t safety the most important quality in any relationship?
So, what creates safety in relationships?
· Trust- if you can’t trust someone, if they are lying to you, if they
don’t follow through with their word…where’s the safety?
· Honesty- if they can’t be real with you and you can’t be real with
them, you can’t be yourself…where’s the safety?
· Caring-if they don’t care about your well-being, only looking out
for themselves…where’s the safety?
· Communication-if you can’t share things that are important to
you and have them listen…where’s the safety?
· Loyalty-if you’re not sure if they will stand by you when you
most need them…where’s the safety?
These are the qualities we should be looking for in our friendships in our lives. These are also the qualities we need to develop to be a good friend. It is going to be tough to bring in a friendship with these qualities if we don’t have them. It doesn’t matter if we are with our girlfriends or with the guys that we want to be our boyfriends. If we don’t possess the qualities, we aren’t going to make a good friend and it will be impossible to create a healthy relationship with anyone.
How do we create good relationships? The first way is to know what is important to us in our relationships. Look above and decide if you are willing to eliminate any of the listed qualities that make a relationship safe. I personally want them all, and I’m not willing to try to have relationships without these important elements.
The way we get them is to set boundaries. If we have a friend who is lying to us, it’s okay to talk to them about it not being okay. That you want to be able to trust them and when they lie, you can’t. This is really hard when we are younger because we feel like we will end up friendless if we eliminate all the people in ours lives that lie to us, don’t care about us, aren’t honest with us, and so on.
If your friends do these things to you, ask them if it’s okay if you do it to them, see what they say. This is why it is so important to be the type of friend you want. Because if you ask this question and you’re not they will just say, “you’re not honest with me” or “you lie to me”. We have to walk our talk. If we say we want honest relationships, then we have to be honest, if we don’t want to be lied to, we better not be liars.
Take inventory on your current friendships, are they the relationships you want in your life? If not start looking at why. Are you being the friend you would want?
Parents do you offer these qualities to your teens?
If you expect them to show up in life exhibiting these qualities, you better be walking your talk. If we want our teens to feel worthy of healthy relationships, we have to be willing to have the exchange of a good relationship with them. It won’t work if you think that you don’t have to participate in showing up for them as an example.
Our teens learn first from us, then from the world around them. This might also be an opportunity for you to look at your behaviors in these areas, and check out how you show up in your friends lives and how they show up for you.
This is a great opportunity for you to get real with your teen and communicate and explore these issues together. Be authentic about who you are and how you want to create something different in your life. Parents sometime believe that if they’re honest with their teen about their downfalls this will give them a license to behave the same way. What we don’t understand is whether we tell them or not, they know. They are learning from our behavior, just because we say we aren’t one way doesn’t make it so.
When we lie to our teens or others, they know it, they learn from it and go out into the world and live it. It’s okay to tell your teens the truth, if you are having difficulty keeping your word, let them know, be honest. It’s okay to let them know you’re not perfect that you are working on yourself. It’s not okay to pretend to be perfect and not be. They are smart, they know! When we tell our teens one thing and show up in another way it sends mixed messages to them. It also creates a relationship without safety with the most important person in their life, the person they learn from most. So, get real and be authentic with your teen and show up for them in a whole new way.
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