Respect for both oneself and others is a key characteristic of healthy relationships. In contrast, in unhealthy relationships, one partner tries to exert control and power over the other physically, sexually, and/or emotionally.
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Healthy relationships share certain characteristics that teens should be taught to expect. They include:
Unhealthy relationships are marked by characteristics such as disrespect and control. It is important for youth to be able to recognize signs of unhealthy relationships before they escalate. Some characteristics of unhealthy relationships include:
It is important to educate youth about the value of respect and the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships before they start to date. Youth may not be equipped with the necessary skills to develop and maintain healthy relationships, and may not know how to break up in an appropriate way when necessary. Maintaining open lines of communication may help them form healthy relationships and recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships, thus preventing the violence before it starts.
1 Adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2005). Choose respect community action kit: Helping preteens and teens build healthy relationships. Retrieved from http://www.unajauladeoro.com/cd/manuales/choose_respect_action_kit.pdf (PDF, 60 pages)
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