How to help your teen develop the skills they need to create healthy relationships.

One of the best ways to “relationship-proof” our young people is to teach them the following four key skills for creating healthy relationships:

1. Assertive Communication

2. Conflict Resolution

3. Boundaries

4. Empathy

You are your child’s first, best teacher! Here are some tips for helping your teen to learn and practice these skills, and to demonstrate them yourself as role model.

1. ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION is the ability to express yourself effectively and share your thoughts and feelings while respecting others.

Why does it matter?

Voicing your opinion helps boost self-esteem and gain respect from others. It even helps you to manage your stress.

Here are some simple ways to explain to your teenager the difference between passive and aggressive responses, using the scenario of asking them: “Could you please do your homework?” PASSIVE Not saying what you think, not telling people when you have a different opinion, not responding when you are criticized, and going with the flow instead of expressing your needs or desires. “Hmmm.” (not looking at you)
AGGRESSIVE Ignoring the wishes of others, telling people what to do, dominating conversations, interrupting. People sometimes make aggressive remarks in an outwardly “respectful” way, making it difficult to realize the underlying aggression. “No. I hate homework and school.”
ASSERTIVE The middle ground between passive and aggressive communication: sharing your thoughts and feelings without being defensive or disrespectful. “I will, but I don’t understand my English assignment. Can you please help me with it?”
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