CHILDLINE ADVICE: Try not to be judgemental if you talk about relationships
Relationships can change and it can be hard for them to know when things are going wrong.
It can also be difficult for parents and carers to know how to help children identify when a relationship has become unhealthy, so here are a few thoughts from Childline on helping children identify healthy relationships.
It’s important to highlight the importance of good communication, mutual respect, trust, honesty, equality and whether they have the confidence to be themselves rather than trying to be someone they don’t want to be.
Remind them they should always have the right to say how they feel and to be respected in relationships.
It’s important that children understand consent means doing things because we choose to, not because someone is pressuring us.
We know young people can feel pressured to have sex because their peers are doing it or are talking about doing it, or because of the influence of social media and TV shows.
It’s vital to remind them that everyone is different, and they shouldn’t do it unless they want to, they feel ready and importantly - they're aged 16 or over.
When talking to your child about sex and relationships, try to listen non-judgementally. Reassure them that they can talk to you if anything has happened that’s upset them, and that it's never their fault if it has.
Remind them that if something doesn’t feel right or they get a sick feeling in their stomach, that could be a sign that something is wrong. If they ever feel unsure, unsafe or get that sick feeling, tell them they can speak to you about their worries.
Realising that your child may be involved in an unhealthy relationship can be upsetting for parents, but if you suspect your child or another young person might be experiencing grooming, or sexual, emotional or physical abuse, get help immediately.
Growing up is hard, but with the right support it can be made easier and safer. Childline can support your child, and advice is available to parents by emailing [email protected]