It Starts with You
It is a big responsibility for parents, educators and mentors to be raising respectful children. If you want the boys in your life to have healthy relationships, you need to model what healthy relationships look like, and how they are sustained. This includes demonstrating what it means to love, heal, and care for yourself.
Model Healthy Relationships
Young males are watching how you engage with your partner, and how you talk about healthy sex in a positive manner. The observations they make will help define how they understand themselves and others in regard to relationships, love, sex and sexuality.
Each relationship is unique, but there are things that should be present in every relationship to be considered healthy. These include trust, kindness, strong communication (including communication around boundaries), independence and fun. Boundaries are an important part of any relationship.
It’s important to keep in mind that relationships exist on a spectrum. A relationship may fluctuate from healthy to unhealthy to abusive. Unhealthy behaviors include disrespecting boundaries, dishonesty, or inconsiderate behavior.
Unhealthy behaviors can be shifted with open and vulnerable communication. Abusive behaviors are rooted in trying to control the other person and can occur when unhealthy behaviors persist. Manipulation, isolation, and blame-shifting are all examples of abusive behaviors.