Unfortunately, unhealthy relationships don’t just happen to adults. Knowing the signs of unhealthy or abusive relationships will help parents and teens navigate this phase of life. If your teen is already experiencing the effects of a bad relationship, adolescents relationship counseling can help. Call Imagine Boise at 208.487.8260 to learn more about our counseling program.
Recognizing Red Flags in Teenage Relationships
As teens form relationships, they struggle with the same insecurities and unrealistic expectations that many adults do. Even if they are fortunate enough to have healthy relationships modeled to them, their inexperience can still lead them into relationships that are bad for their mental health.
Manipulative teenage relationships aren’t limited to heterosexual adolescents. In fact, teens of all genders can exhibit unhealthy or abusive behavior. All young people are at risk of being affected by or creating an unsafe atmosphere.
These five warning signs will help you spot unhealthy relationships regardless of your teen’s gender identity or sexual orientation:
1. Changing to Please Someone Else
It’s natural for couples to explore each other’s interests and try new things together, but when one person is giving up their personal interests and hobbies in order to please the other, it’s not a good sign. Each person in a relationship should receive the support they need to enjoy time on their own or with other friends.
2. Signs of Abuse
Any signs of physical abuse, such as unexplained injuries, are a reason for adults to intervene in the relationship immediately. Verbal and emotional abuse are also damaging but can be far more difficult to identify, especially if the teen being abused is making excuses for their boyfriend or girlfriend.
3. Constant Apologizing
When one partner in a relationship is constantly apologizing or making compromises to appease the other, the relationship may be unequal. One person may be manipulating the other into believing any problems with the relationship are their fault.
4. Extreme Highs and Lows
Teenagers can be moody and prone to emotional outbursts now and then, but extreme highs and lows in a relationship are signs of unhealthy communication. Watch out for relationships that get too serious too quickly or those where constant drama is the norm.
Consider it a relationship red flag if your teen withdraws from other friends or family members and begins to isolate themselves when they are not with their partner. This behavior could be a sign of emotional dependence or a sign that their partner is attempting to control them.
How to Help Your Teen Avoid Unhealthy Relationships
If you see red flags in teenage relationships, open a dialogue with your child. Instead of trying to force a breakup or prohibiting your child from seeing the other person, follow these tips:
- Be curious and ask open-ended questions about the relationship
- Limit unsupervised contact by having your teen’s partner come to your home
- Give your teen plenty of positive attention
- Limit the use of electronic devices; for example, take away their phone at a preset time every day
Talk to your teen about relationship skills like communication and trust, and encourage them to share their ideas of what a healthy relationship looks like. Thank your teen anytime they open up to you. Let them know how much you appreciate their trust and willingness to talk.
Lastly, consider teen relationship therapy for your child. Teens may be more open to new perspectives when it comes from someone other than their parents.
Find Help for Manipulative Teenage Relationships at Imagine Boise
If you’re concerned that your teen is in an unhealthy relationship or is at high risk for developing poor relationship habits, we can help. Call Imagine Boise today at 208.487.8260 to learn more about our teen relationship counseling program.