Mom and son laughingEvery parent has those moments when we’re suddenly reminded how quickly our child is growing up: the first step, the first tooth, the first time they walk to school without us. For many parents, one of the most challenging milestones is realizing our child is interested in “romance” and dating. The best way to prepare them—and protect them—is to teach them how to build strong, healthy relationships.

Our children learn about relationships every day, simply by observing the world around them.  As Director of Violence Prevention at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, I can tell you that most of what they see is not good. Throughout their lifetime, the average child in Canada will witness thousands of examples of unhealthy relationships— at school, on social media, in celebrity gossip magazines, music videos, movies, and TV. If we don’t teach our children about relationships someone else will, and we won’t like the results!

The Canadian Women's Foundation funds 16 healthy relationship programs for teens in high schools across Canada. To help you talk to your own children, here are three tips from our experts:

1. LEARN THE SIGNS OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. In fact, download the poster and stick it on your fridge!

2. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL. To assess the health of your own relationships, take our quiz.

3. TEACH YOUR CHILD THE FOUR TOP SKILLS THEY NEED TO BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS: Assertive communication, conflict resolution, boundaries and empathy.

It’s never too early to start talking to your child about relationships, and the rewards will last a lifetime!

Healthy relationships poster

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