Defining a Healthy Relationship
So how can you create and maintain healthy relationships?
This is where The ABCs comes in.
A is for awareness
1. Using what you know to respect others and demand respect.
2. Awareness is knowledge of the consequences of unhealthy relationships and recognizing danger signs , as well as knowing what your boundaries are. Preventing violence by recognizing a lack of power and respect, requiring that you apply the knowledge you have to change unhealthy relationships into healthy ones.
3. Basically, awareness means knowledge of all aspects of a relationship. This knowledge can be gained through teachers, counselors, older friends, the Internet and books all can help you find the information you need.
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B is for balance.
Balance means being in synch with your partner and having a relationship that is not one-sided -- meaning that one person has more control or power than the other.
Communication is key to staying in balance.
You have to both listen and talk to what somebody else wants, and they'll listen to what you have to say. Both people need to recognize that they each have valuable opinions, and then work together to balance their desires. You and your friends probably have similar interests, but you are not completely the same.
The same is true for your family and your boyfriend or girlfriend. You can certainly do things together, but remember that you can have different interests, too. Make sure you have time to do these things. If you change in a relationship and adopt all of the other person's favorite things, hobbies and lifestyle, the relationships become unbalanced, and it is a very bad sign.
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C is for conscious choices.
Conscious choices include being able to decide what the next step in a relationship is, making sure things don't "just happen," which is a common excuse teens use for getting into emotional or sexual situations they don't know how to handle. Choices mean being able to take control.
In order to be aware, balanced, and make healthy choices, you need the building blocks of The ABCs: communication, trust and respect. They are the keys to a healthy relationship and are at the base of The ABCs.
Last reviewed February 2009
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Developed with funding from the Education Division of PAMF and Youth Venture
Writers: Julia Ransohoff, Christina Jeffery, and Nancy Brown, PhD
with Katie Ransohoff, Joanna Yang, Anna Rafferty, Leigha Winters & Nigel Anderson