Healthy relationships during high school

YWCA Our Vocie

Being a teenager was the most awkward time in my life. I graduated high school in 2011 so it wasn’t too long ago that I was walking the halls of Loyalsock Township High School with my blue iPod Nano and a dorky lunchbox.

In high school I had a non-existent love life. Looking back, I am totally content with that but at 16 years old I was not.

I had a couple friends who were always in and out of relationships who I felt a bit jealous towards. They had somebody to text on their flip phones, had couple photos as their MySpace profile picture and always had a date to the school dances.

Dating in high school can be a challenge because it is often brand new territory for students.

Someone new to dating may have no idea what it means to have a healthy relationship or know the red flags of a toxic one.

Some of the basics of a healthy relationship are that your significant other is respectful, encouraging and honest, according to Love is Respect, an organization focused on teen dating violence awareness.

What does being respectful look like? It is being considerate of someone’s boundaries, privacy and feelings. When a significant other is disrespectful, that is when red flags start waving.

Consent is essential when it comes to physical intimacy. Just because a person doesn’t verbally say “no,” does not automatically mean yes. It is not OK if a partner is pressuring you, making you feel guilty, getting angry or ignoring your boundaries.

Toxic significant others may create rules that distance you from others as well as infringe upon your privacy. Often times this will include asking for passwords to online accounts, looking through their phone or tracking you using the GSP in your phone.

As a parent it is important to be there to support your teenager if they are experiencing abuse in their relationship. Listening is key to helping them get through this difficult time. Together you can figure out the next best step to keep everyone involved safe.

This is why our Wise Options community education is so important. Our prevention educator can come to classes, scout troops and clubs to speak about healthy relationships and other related topics. If you are interested in having someone speak please contact Brady Huff at bhuff@ywcawilliamsport.org or 570-322-4637 ext. 112.

If your child is in an abusive relationship, please call the Wise Options 24/7 confidential hotline at 1-800-326-8483. All of our services are free to the public.

Bloom is the communications and development manager at the YWCA, 815 W. Fourth St. Her column is published in the Lifestyle section. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or sexual assault, Wise Options can help 24/7 with a confidential hotline at 800-326-8483.

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