Parents Can Talk to Teens About Healthy Relationships

Caring for our health includes caring for the quality of our relationships. When teens have healthy relationships they are more likely to have better health now and, later, as adults.

Parents are important in teaching teens how to have healthy relationships. Parents can behave in ways that show what it means to respect and listen to others. They can also have general talks with teens about what it means to respect and listen to a dating partner.

Parents can start these talks by asking:

  • How are things going with your friends?
  • Is your best friend hanging out with anyone? What do you think of that person?
  • Are you talking to anyone? What do your friends think of that person?

Parents can ask about things they hear that seem unhealthy:

  • What do you think about your friend having to tell her boyfriend where she is all of the time?
  • What does that mean when your friend receives 50 texts a day from a girlfriend?
  • Is that healthy or controlling?
  • How do you feel when your boyfriend comments on how you look or embarrasses you in front of friends?

Parents can also show appreciation for things they hear that seem healthy. This may include respect for someone’s:

  • Body and what they do or don’t want to do sexually or physically.
  • Personal space and boundaries.
  • Life or career choices.
  • Time with friends or family or alone time.
  • Property.
  • Online social space including text or private messages.

Advise a teen who seems to be in an unhealthy relationship that he or she can call the National Dating Abuse Helpline and can ask questions and talk to a teen or adult: 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453).

Or visit the websites: 

To find the domestic abuse program nearest you, visit and click on Find Help or use the Find Help map on the home page.