Dating Safe: Healthy Relationship Skills
So, what are healthy relationships?
- This includes: Being yourself, honesty, good communication, respect, feeling safe, trust, equality, and support.
- Healthy relationships are built on two main foundations:
- Communication: Sharing thoughts, messages, or information, with others.
- Boundaries: Guidelines or limits that someone has for themselves about what feels safe and comfortable. It is important to communicate your boundaries in a relationship to ensure that your partner understands what is acceptable to you in a relationship and what is not.
In contrast, what are unhealthy relationships?
- This includes: Physical abuse, control, humiliation, unpredictability, pressure.
- Kids Help Phone
‘Immediate and caring support, information and, if necessary, referral to a local community or social service agency.’
Phone: 1 (800) 668-6868
- Youth Against Violence Line
‘The Youth Against Violence Line is a 24/7 anonymous and confidential line to talk to trained support workers. You can contact them about bullying, gang activity, harassment, intimidation, sexual exploitation, and many other issues. This service is also available in multiple languages.’
Phone: 1 (800) 680-4264
Text: (604) 836-6381
Why is it important to build healthy relationships as a teenager?
- Canada does not compare well to other countries in the quality of relationships experienced by its children. In a recent World Health Organization (WHO) survey, Canadian children, aged 11 to 15, reported the quality of their relationships with their parents and peers such that Canada ranked near the bottom; between 29th and 34th of 38 countries (Currie et al., 2012). This ranking is cause for concern as research has shown that healthy development depends on healthy relationships.
- Children’s good and poor health habits begin to develop in the early years of life. Through positive interactions and positive, deliberate learning opportunities, children in healthy families develop the self-regulation, social, and coping skills that enable them to develop in healthy ways.
- There is a strong link between involvement in bullying and significant health problems. Bullying is a disrespectful and destructive relationship for both parties. Both children who bully and those who are victimized experience elevated levels of physical and mental health problems; those who are involved in both bullying and victimization experience the highest rates of problems.
- During preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships. Research shows that early intervention efforts are a “developmentally timed point of leverage for relationship change.”
If you are interested in learning more about healthy relationships, please see a list of additional resources below:
- How to Talk with Teens about Healthy Relationships
- Five Tips for Guiding Teens and Young Adults in Developing Healthy Romantic Relationships
- How to Talk to Teens about Healthy Relationships and Dating Violence
- Promoting Healthy Relationships
- Healthy Development Depends on Healthy Relationships
 Wekerle, Christine and David A. Wolfe. “Dating Violence in Mid-Adolescence: Theory, Significance and Emerging Prevention Initiatives,” Clinical Psychology Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 435–456, 1999.
Financial contribution from Public Health Agency of Canada.