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Things people do in relationships

People in different types of relationships do different things with each other.

Introduction

Once your child learns the basics about the different types of relationships, they next need to learn about the different things people do in those relationships.

Different types of relationships also involve different types of touch.

  • Strangers don’t usually touch. Sometimes strangers might talk to each other. For example, to ask when the next bus is, or to order food at the restaurant
  • Acquaintances might wave hello or shake hands. They might talk to each other, but usually not about private or personal things
  • Professional helpers might wave hello, shake hands or give high fives. They might use touch to give help. They might talk to you about the thing they help you with. They should always ask you before they give help
  • Friends might give each other hugs or kisses on the cheek. Friends might go out together, smile and laugh together, and talk about personal things.
  • Family members might give each other hugs or kisses on the cheek too. Family members might go out together, smile and laugh together, and talk about personal things.
  • Intimate partners might hold hands, hug, kiss or have sex. Intimate partners might go out together, smile and laugh together, and talk about personal things.

Each relationship is different. You might also need to remind your child of these differences as they grow up and their relationships change.

No matter what type of relationship, it is important to teach your child that both people must say ‘yes’ to any type of touch.

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Conversation Starters

I saw you playing with a new person at the park. What’s their name? What games do you like to play together?
I’m going out with my friend Jo. We’re going to watch a movie together. What do you like to do with your friends?
We’re going to see the doctor today. They’re a professional helper. Do you know what that means?

Strategies for you to try

Who’s in my Orbit

Keep building on the relationship circles worksheet we looked at in types of relationships.

Ask your child about the things they like to do with each person in their circles, and the type of touch that might be okay. Reinforce that any touch must be consensual.

Teachable moments

Have a conversation about appropriate touch in relationships while watching a movie or tv show. Are the characters showing good understanding of types of touch, or poor understanding? Did the character ask for consent?

trying to make friends

Resources

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Things people do in relationships

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