All children and youth deserve to be safe, from violence, fear, abuse, bullying and harassment. Modelling healthy relationships for your child, and teaching them what makes a relationship healthy can be important for their future health.
Relationship building begins early. Children learn how to communicate, co-operate and get along with other people, and the rules that go with that, such as manners, polite interaction, listening and sharing. Those early lessons teach children how to maintain positive and open interactions with friends and family, and help them to have a sense of well-being at each stage of life.
Children learn from role modelling. Your interaction with your child is an opportunity to inspire good relationship skills so they make and keep healthy relationships with family and friends. It’s also a good way to learn about their lives and understand how they relate to people around them. Your children watch how you interact and behave with your partner, and how you communicate with friends and family members.
Healthy relationships skills help children develop confidence, resilience, communication skills and maintain friendships. You can help your child to learn the skills to form and maintain positive relationships, and by doing that you will be supporting mental well-being and helping to reduce the health impact of adverse experiences in childhood.
Model healthy relationships and teach your children about healthy friendships and relationships. Teach your children about their bodies, using language that is appropriate for their age and stage of development. Teach them at all ages about what is acceptable in terms of touch – it’s important for children to be able to communicate their own comfort and to respect other people’s comfort around physical contact.
Your child is watching and learning all the time. The best way to teach your child the skills to build a healthy relationship is to lead by example:
- Make your child feel loved and secure
- Communicate early and often
- Encourage your children
- Express interest in their activities
- Provide opportunities for them to develop relationships
- Respect is mutual
Learn how to help your kids have healthy relationships with others.