All parents want their children to grow up as kind, courteous and productive adults. This done through teaching them to play nicely with others, how to be a good friend and why bullying is wrong. Another part of this guidance is discussions about relationships and what makes them healthy or unhealthy. By the time your children are old enough for the talk about sex, they are ready to understand the dynamics of romantic relationships. The following tips will help you with this process.
Be a Role Model
Children emulate the behavior of their parents, which is why being a positive role model is so important. When you teach your children about honesty, trust, communication, respect and empathy, be sure to show each of these aspects in action with your spouse or partner. Emphasize that a healthy relationship is inter-dependent, meaning that both people can pursue their interests, enjoy their own friendships and remain individuals within the romantic attachment. When your children see how well these aspects work between their parents, they are more likely to form healthy relationships themselves.
Be Clear About Unhealthy Factors
Unhealthy relationships develop from an imbalance between two people. One person wants more control over the other and resorts to physical or emotional abuse to get it. Ensure that your children understand that abuse can manifest in several different ways. It can be insults, name-calling, isolation from friends and family members, stalking, violence and withholding needed resources such as money. Tell your children that these behaviours are disrespectful and have nothing to do with love.
Explain the Importance of Personal Boundaries
Personal boundaries are protections every person sets to ensure that they are treated properly by others. They let other people know what values are at work and what is not okay to say or do. Talk to your children about their comfort levels, their values and the boundaries they set with others based on what they have learned within the family unit. Make sure they understand that while their own boundaries are important, they must also respect the boundaries set by their romantic partners.
Talk About Intimate Relationships
While it is crucial for parents to provide the proper information about sexuality, it is also important to discuss what it means to be in an intimate relationship. Your children should understand that open communication regarding birth control and sexually transmitted diseases should take place between partners before sex.
In addition, all the hallmarks of a healthy relationship should be present before becoming physically intimate. Sex is an expression of love and bonding that should not take place in a negative context.
Teaching your children to love and respect themselves is one of the greatest gifts you can give as parents. This will be reflected in how they relate to other people while building their own lives. Be open, be available and set a good example for the best results.
This is a guest post by Paige Jirsa who works with STD Testing Facilities, which provides users same-day STD testing in a discrete and proficient manner.