Parents: Start Relating Before they Start Dating

As a parent you play a critical role in teaching your teen what a healthy relationship feels like, looks like and sounds like.

Your teens really, really need you to figure out their relationships. So start the conversation today. Listen to your child and show them that you value what they have to say. Allow your child to articulate his or her values and expectations for healthy relationships. Encourage debate —this helps your child come to his or her own understanding. One of the most effective ways of teaching your child about healthy relationships is to model positive qualities in your own relationships—including the one you have with your young teen.

Remember, the best time to prepare your son or daughter to develop healthy relationships is before dating begins.

SafePlace is partnering with the Austin ISD’s Parent Support Office and The Austin Project to provide workshops for parents in Middle Schools. Parents will learn how best to support their teens as they navigate peer and dating relationships.

If you have concerns about your child’s relationships and would like information about counseling, school-based support groups, or parent workshops call the SafePlace 24-hour Hotline 512 267 SAFE (7233). You can also e-mail

For more tools to help you talk to your teen about healthy relationships visit

Be proactive

If you feel that your teen is in a bad relationship and they are not telling you about it, you can always hire a new york private investigator to put a tail on them to make sure everything is on the up and up. Just be sure to check the legality of this with your local police department prior to engaging the services of a private investigator. Some states might allow it, others will not. This is usually used as a last resort type of scenario in which you are 100% sure your teenage daughter or son is in an abusive relationship, but they are refusing to talk about it.

Talk to Your Teen about the Characteristics of Healthy Relationships.

Respect. Do your friends accept you for who you are? No one should pressure you into doing things you are not comfortable —such as smoking, drinking, drugs, taking or sending embarrassing or hurtful pictures or texts, or unwanted physical contact.

Safety. Do you feel emotionally and physically safe in all of your relationships? Emotional safety means you feel comfortable being you without fear of being put down. Physical safety means you are not being hurt or intimidated; or pressured into unwanted physical contact.

Fairness and Equality. Do you have an equal say in your friendships and relationships? From the activities you do together to the friends you hang out with, you should have an equal say in all of your relationships.

Acceptance. Do your friends or your boyfriend/girlfriend accept you for who you really are? You shouldn’t have to change who you are or compromise your beliefs to make someone like you.

Honesty and Trust. Are you and your friends honest with each other? Honesty builds trust. You can’t have a healthy relationship without trust. If you have ever caught a friend in a lie, you know that it takes time to rebuild your trust.

Good Communication. Do you talk face-to-face (not just text) with your friends or your girlfriend/boyfriend about your feelings? You and your friends should listen to one another and hear one another out.

Respectful Disagreements. In every relationship you have, you should respect each other as individuals and understand that sometimes there will be differences of opinion.

Enjoy Being Together – Do you laugh, have fun and are comfortable with your friends, girlfriend or boyfriend? While relationships aren’t perfect all the time, you should always feel comfortable in your relationships.

Teens Over 18

As the internet has grown in popularity over the past 20 years, more and more teens (18-19 years old) are turning to online dating after they graduate high school. You should strongly caution them about online dating sites and their safety. Being that they are new to the proverbial world, these dating sites can be a maze to navigate. You should recommend they only use popular dating sites.

If they must date online, ask them to stick to the top dating sites. While we are not making a recommendation, such sites as eHarmony are responsible for more marriages per year than any other dating site. This is not to say your teenager is looking to get married, but rather the overall mindset of the average user on eHarmony is geared more toward “long term relationships” rather than a “let’s hookup tonight” type of mindset.