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2010 BC School Counsellors Conference. Oct 21 & 22

We know about the consequences of not talking to our daughters about sex. What about the consequences of not talking to our daughters about healthy relationships?

Researchers have found that dating experiences affect teens’ development, both positively and negatively. Negative consequences of bad dating experiences range from concerns about body image to feeling anxious, to being depressed, to substance abuse, to setting the stage for adult unhealthy relationships.

Here’s the fundamental problem: teens, almost by definition, lack information and relationship skills. And abstinence—or its opposite—teaches you little about relationships.
Researchers have found some teens can identify things that make for a healthy relationship—mutual respect, trust, good communication, for example—but do not know how to build healthy relationships. It’s difficult to apply concepts to real-life situations.

Beliefs influence actions. Our daughters have lots of beliefs about relationships. But do these beliefs really help them get out of a relationship with a Frog and get into one with a Prince? Having the following four beliefs is evidence of a healthy relationship: “I know and like myself” (I’m building myself a beautiful life); “I know and like him” (He’s a great guy); “My boyfriend is the draw for me” (I really want to meet his needs); and “I am the draw for him” (He really wants to meet my needs). If your daughter believes all of these are true, she’s in a healthy, compatible relationship.

I’ve aggregated the latest research about teens and romantic relationships, and translated the information and tools from “frog or prince? The smart girl’s guide to boyfriends” to help parents (and anyone dealing with teens) find new ways to talk about what makes for a healthy relationship. A girl cannot make a good boyfriend choice without enough self-knowledge and self-respect to do so.

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