Building Healthy Relationships: A High School Perspective

As a senior in high school, I’ve been fortunate to learn the significance of healthy relationships in my life. I have also learned that it is important for parents to have open lines of communication with their daughters about the importance of relationships. Communication is key to the prosperity of your relationship with your daughter.  In fact, focusing on open communication can result in a strong basis for your daughter’s expectations of relationships in the future. It is important to discuss with your kids what a healthy relationship looks like. Encourage your children to recognize these characteristics as they traverse the world where complicated and messy relationships are often common. There are certain characteristics to look for in healthy and happy relationships, and whether they are friendships or romantic relationships, they absolutely have commonalities.


3 Indicators of a Healthy Relationship


1.  Open Communication and Honesty

In relationships, people often go through rough patches and hard times. The best way to resolve conflict is by having open lines of communication. A clear communication channel will allow problems to be resolved more quickly and easily. When a person is able to communicate freely, reliability and honesty can become cornerstones of the relationship. Additionally, one must be nonjudgmental and accepting of their friend and partner as they share their views. Trust is key. Love is Respect provides great tips on ways to communicate.


2. Respect and Boundaries

It is important for both friends and couples to set limits of certain behaviors and establish expectations for the relationship. Space is a necessity in a relationship. Girls need to consider their personal boundaries – what they need to feel respected and what makes them uncomfortable in a relationship. Everyone deserves to be treated well and not feel pressured into anything. Equality is important, for example if a partner always bosses the other around and tells him or her what to do, that is a sign of a lack of respect. PsychCentral offers a great list of 10 ways to preserve and build better relationships.


3. Support and Love

It is fundamental to a relationship to mutually care for the other person. Each person should have the other’s best interest at heart, and not solely his or her own ambitions. One should find encouragement and confidence in relationships.  One way that love and support is often demonstrated in a relationship is by recognizing and building on each other’s strengths.


 3 Indicators of an Unhealthy Relationship


1. Lack of Communication, Disregard for a Person’s Perspective, and Dishonesty

If there is lack of communication in a friendship or romantic relationship, it is incredibly difficult to resolve conflict. Dishonesty is a red flag when it comes to communication and it is something to look out for. Dishonesty compromises the trust that you have built in a relationship. Also, it is important in healthy relationships that partners or friends take into account the other person’s perspective, rather than disregarding what he or she says or feels.


2. Pressure and Possessiveness

In both friendships and romantic relationships, since each person cares about the other significantly, someone in the relationship can be influenced greatly by their friend/partner. Space is key in a relationship, so it is definitely a red flag when one person feels pressured to do certain things all of the time and feels like the other is being controlling. It is also important for one to maintain individuality and still have freedom in what they choose to do, not conforming to everything their partner or friend wants them to do.


3. Unsupportive and Judgmental

Relationships are built on love, support, and encouragement. If a person ever feels uncomfortable or judged by their friend or partner, that is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. It is important to be aware if a partner or friend is excessively negative, or tells you that you are not good enough.


With these tips and your dedication to fostering open lines of communication about healthy relationships with your daughter, she will be empowered and capable of ensuring that she is in happy and healthy relationships!

Vanessa Wright