Healthy Relationships
Real Talks

During the month of February, our guidance is focused on helping students to recognize the characteristics of healthy relationships. While elementary students focus on friendships, secondary students also learn to recognize signs of abusive dating relationships. Our elementary students may be involved in the discussion of making friends, differences in one another, and fluctuations in friendships/relationships. Despite what type of friendship or relationship, there are key components of all healthy relationships. Please join us in helping our kids understand healthy relationships by engaging in further “Real Talks” at home.

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of trust involving communication, respect, and supportiveness. In balanced friendships, friends will respect your boundaries and feelings and will encourage you rather than put you down. Friendships, however, may involve conflict, and this does not mean that friends will always part ways. Our kids also must be taught how to resolve conflict in a healthy way:

  • Set boundaries – establish what is acceptable and what is not

  • Identify the “real” issue – sometimes there are underlying reasons an argument has occurred; what is the “real” issue at hand

  •  Agree to Disagree – When it comes to some issues, friends have to understand they may not always agree on everything and may have to compromise when possible. Issues, however, that compromise one’s values and beliefs, may cause one to evaluate the depth of the friendship/relationship and at what level he/she wants to remain in the friendship/relationship.

As kids grow older, they often spend even more time with friends and may start to form dating relationships. Although relationships with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends typically start on a positive note, they can sometimes spiral downwards out of control. This is when kids may need our help to recognize what is “healthy or normal” and the signs of abuse. Signs of abuse (www.loveisrespect.org) can include:

  • Checking one’s cell phone or e-mail without permission

  • Constantly putting the other person down

  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity

  • Explosive temper

  • Isolating one from family or friends

  • Making false accusations

  • Mood swings

  • Physically hurting the person

  • Possessiveness

  • Telling one what to do

One in three young people report he/she has experienced a form of dating violence. The abuse may be occurring in your child’s own relationship, or he/she may recognize signs in another’s relationship. Either way, the affected individual needs a support system. This may involve planning to ensure one’s safety at home, school, work, and/or in the community.

More information and ways to obtain help can be found via the following sites (not NISD sponsored):

www.loveisrespect.org

www.dcfof.org (Denton County Friends of the Family)

www.womenscentertc.org (The Women’s Center of Tarrant County, Inc.)

www.achservices.org (ACH Child and Family Services)