How to Help Your Teen Build Healthy and "Real" Relationships

Be Genuine 

Many teens believe they need to agree or "fit in" for others to like them. What happens, though, is that then their needs don't get met, or they feel misunderstood which leads to resentment in relationships.

** Healthy relationships are rooted in HONESTY. **

Be Honest and Sincere 

Encourage your teen to share their likes and dislikes. Give them credit when they allow their true personality to shine through. Encourage them to speak from their heart and connect with others in ways that show interest, like making eye contact, asking questions and having an easy manner. (Don't forget that YOU can model these behaviors for them by doing the same!)

Take Off the Mask 

You'll never truly feel connected if your guard is always up. Help your teen learn to feel vulnerable by engaging in real conversations with them. Open the door for nonjudgmental communication and allow them to show you who they really are. Just listen without trying to change or fix something.

Being Genuine is Scary! 

It may be scary for your teen to open up if they've been hurt in the past, but shutting down or isolating leads to loneliness and emotional distress. Set your teen up for success by encouraging that they surround themselves with a few people whom they can slowly begin to build trusting and healthy relationships with over time.

Healthy Relationships Start with the Self 

Having healthy and "real" relationships with others starts with loving yourself first. If your teen doesn't like themselves, is self-critical or does not believe that they are worthy of love, it will be difficult for them to truly open up with and connect with others. Build healthy self-esteem at home by pointing out and reinforcing positives and encouraging your teen to engage in at least one activity each day that builds mastery and makes them feel confident.