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Healthy relationships

We each have the right to feel safe, valued and cared about in our relationships.

Introduction

A healthy relationship is one which has:

  • mutual respect
  • trust
  • good communication
  • understanding
  • honesty

Being in a relationship should be a positive experience for both people.

It is important your child understands how to differentiate between a relationship that is respectful and healthy, and one that is unhealthy and disrespectful. This can be difficult for people of all ages. Learning to recognise the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships at an early age will help empower your child to develop new relationships as they age, and also help keep them safe.

The Relationship Game Part 1

The Relationship Game Part 2

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  • being able to have fun together
  • feeling comfortable
  • being able to say ‘no’
  • being able to make your own decisions
  • feeling accepted and free to be yourself
  • listening and being heard
  • being able to express your thoughts and feelings honestly with each other
  • being able to talk things through together and make compromises
  • supporting each other through the good times and bad

Disagreements or arguments can still happen in a healthy relationship. This is also healthy and helps you learn about and understand each other.

  • constantly making you feel bad or uncomfortable
  • constantly teasing, bullying, insulting or humiliating you
  • threatening to harm you
  • isolating you from your friends or family
  • hitting or pushing you, pulling your hair
  • calling you names
  • shouting or swearing at you
  • taking your money or always asking for money
  • forcing you to buy them things
  • making you do things you don’t want to do
  • any forced or unwanted sexual behaviour, including kissing, touching or having sex with you without consent
  • pressuring you to send sexual texts and images of yourself or sharing these images with others without your consent

Encourage your child to speak to a trusted person if they have any concerns about relationships.  This might be you, their friend, their support worker or teacher. It is important your child has more than one trusted person in case you are not there.

Conversation Starters

You and Alex seemed to have a great time today. Why do you think you get along so well?
I’m going out with my friend Taylor tonight. I really enjoy their company, but sometimes they talk too much about work. Do you think that’s OK in a relationship?
Did you see those people on the street having an argument? Do you think arguing is OK in a healthy relationship?

Strategies for you to try

My Safe People Worksheet

Use the worksheet to help your child identify their 3 trusted people. Put the completed worksheet on their wall and refer to it in conversations.

Sorting activity

Work with your child to come up with a list of age appropriate things that they think are signs of a healthy and unhealthy relationship. Find photos to match the list and print them out. Mix up the printed photos and ask your child to sort them into healthy and unhealthy signs.
If your child is older, you could also do a similar sorting activity with the Sex Safe and Fun ‘Good sex, bad sex’ cards .

Teachable moments

Have a conversation about relationships while watching a movie or tv show. Do the characters look like they are in a healthy or unhealthy relationship? What are the signs?

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Introduction to puberty for girls
Healthy relationships

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