Valuing Respect in Romance

February 2018

This month is a great time to talk to your kids about what a healthy relationship looks like. After all, LOVE is everywhere in February. It’s on every shelf, in every store and in every advertisement you see. It’s easy for children and teenagers to be drawn to the idea of love. Understanding the respect that real love requires is very different.

According to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 10 teenagers have been hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year. Annually, 6 in 10 children and teens witness or experience some form of relationship violence or abuse. This is an issue that needs to be addressed, and families play an important role.

"Finding and maintaining healthy relationships requires skills that some youth are never taught," said Katie Gazella, youth advocate for Family Services. "It's important to me to help provide young people with honest, age-appropriate information and skills that they will need to live healthy lives and build healthy relationships."

In honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we’re sharing the ingredients of any healthy relationship. Instead of talking about love, let’s talk about the respect that romance requires.

Mutual respect: Respect means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person’s boundaries.

Trust: Partners should place trust in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Honesty: Honesty builds trust and strengthens the relationship.

Compromise: In a dating relationship, each partner does not always get his or her way. Each should acknowledge different points of view and be willing to give and take.

Individuality: Neither partner should have to compromise who he/she is, and his/her identity should not be based on a partner’s. Each should continue seeing his or her friends and doing the things he/she loves. Each should be supportive of his/her partner wanting to pursue new hobbies or make new friends.

Good communication: Each partner should speak honestly and openly to avoid miscommunication. If one person needs to sort out his or her feelings first, the other partner should respect those wishes and wait until he or she is ready to talk.

Anger control: We all get angry, but how we express it can affect our relationships with others. Anger can be handled in healthy ways such as taking a deep breath, counting to ten, or talking it out.

Fighting fair: Everyone argues at some point, but those who are fair, stick to the subject, and avoid insults are more likely to come up with a possible solution. Partners should take a short break away from each other if the discussion gets too heated.

Problem solving: Dating partners can learn to solve problems and identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts or by talking through the situation.

Understanding: Each partner should take time to understand what the other might be feeling.

Self-confidence: When dating partners have confidence in themselves, it can help their relationships with others. It shows that they are calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions without forcing their own opinions on them.

Being a role model: By embodying what respect means, partners can inspire each other, friends, and family to also behave in a respectful way.

Healthy sexual relationship: Dating partners engage in a sexual relationship that both are comfortable with, and neither partner feels pressured or forced to engage in sexual activity that is outside his or her comfort zone or without consent.

For more information on Family Services community education efforts, click here.


For more information, contact our Communications & Development office by email or at 920-436-4360 ext. 1328.



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