One of the best things you can do to break the cycle of abuse and unhealthy relationships is to have and model healthy relationships in your own life. When youth only have abusive relationships to refer to for examples of what their own relationships should look like, they are likely to think that toxic and abusive behaviors are acceptable.
While you may not have control over some of the relationships that the youth in your life are witness to, you can always offer support by talking to them openly about what a healthy relationship should look like. Below are some examples taken from loveisrespect.org of what to look for in a dating partner…
Nice eyes? A great smile? A quirky sense of humor? There are a lot of different things that might make you attracted to someone. But having a healthy relationship with your partner is about more than attraction; it requires respect, trust and open communication. Whether you’re looking for a relationship or are already in one, make sure you and your partner agree on what makes a relationship healthy. It’s not always easy, but everyone deserves a healthy relationship! Look for someone who:
Loveisrespect.org is a fantastic resource that you can peruse as an adult, or simply share the website with young people in your life to explore themselves. They have information about consent, setting boundaries, why people abuse, and much more.