Parents - Healthy Relationships


 What does it mean to have a healthy relationship with your youth when it comes to alcohol and other drugs?

Should I buy my underage youth alcohol?

It is illegal for anyone, even an adult, to serve alcohol to your youth's underage friends even while in your home. 

Some recent studies have found that adult supervised teen drinking can actually increase the potential for problems with teen drinking. See Parent Action on Drug's  "Are you prepared to help your teen make good decisions- stats, facts and talking points about alcohol and other drugs" 

What Makes the communication Between Youth and adults About Drugs Comfortable

The local survey found that what youth are looking for in conversation with adults about drugs is a calm, non-threatening response. They also felt that a good relationship needs to be established before the conversation. Harsh, controlling approaches and passive, resigned tolerance from parents seemed to be less effective than openness when talking with youth about drug use.  Keep communication active by planning 5-minute conversations about substance use in general, weekly.

Role Modelling

Set an example by being responsible about your own use of alcohol and other drugs. If you choose to drink, refer to Canada's Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and discuss how you use the guidelines to manage your own drinking.  As a parent, you are always a role model. Your children will see your example—positive or negative—as a pattern for the way life is to be lived. There is no responsible use of illegal drugs. For more information on role modelling go to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website.  


What is a healthy relationship?

Do you know how to talk to your youth about what a healthy relationship is?

Throughout our lives, we are involved in many different kinds of relationships. We have relationships with our children, siblings, relatives, friends, partners, and people we work with. Relationships have the potential to make us happier people and add to our feelings of self-worth. These are healthy relationships.

Unfortunately, we can also be in unhealthy relationships. Unhealthy relationships may make us feel uncomfortable. It can be difficult to come to the realization that someone is not treating you with the respect that you deserve. It is important to remember that some disagreement is normal within relationships and usually compromise is required. This does not necessarily mean that a relationship is unhealthy. Here are some points to consider when thinking about whether a particular relationship is healthy or unhealthy:

In a healthy relationship, you:

  • Treat each other with respect
  • Feel comfortable and secure
  • Support one another
  • Communicate openly
  • Encourage other friendships
  • Use fair fighting techniques (no name calling)
  • Take interest in each other’s lives
  • Are not violent with each other
  • Are dependable
  • Trust one another
  • Can be yourself
  • Can have different opinions and interests
  • Listen to one another
  • Both compromise, say sorry and talk arguments out
  • Have fun together

In an unhealthy relationship, one or both of you:

  • Try to control the other
  • Are afraid of disagreeing with the other
  • Discourage one another from being close with anyone else
  • Are overly possessive or jealous
  • Prevent one another from doing things you enjoy
  • Criticize or humiliate one another in front of others
  • Push, shove, grab, hit or throw objects
  • Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, or objects of personal value
  • Criticize the others friends
  • Ridicule or call names
  • Make the other feel bad about themselves
  • Cannot be yourself
  • Control the others money or resources (i.e. car)
  • Use physical force or threats to prevent the other from leaving
  • Do not make time for each other
  • Control how the other dresses

What about jealousy - is this love?

Jealousy is about real or imagined fears; fear of being alone, fear of loss of love, fear of being dishonest in a relationship, fear of being embarrassed. The source of jealousy is usually insecurity within the relationship. The jealousy does not necessarily come from any action of your current partner, but rather from bad experiences in past relationships and imagined fears about potential pain in this relationship. Jealousy can ruin a relationship. Whether the jealousy is your own, or your partners, both of you must talk about it. For a relationship to grow, jealousy has to be dealt with. Communicating honestly with your partner is the best way to deal with jealousy.

Jealousy might seem like a sign of love, but when someone uses anger or jealousy to try to control what you do, where you go, who you talk to, what you wear, or acts like they own you, this is not love it is control. You have the right to talk to who you want to, wear what you want to wear, and go places you want to go to.

Rights in Any Relationship

Healthy relationships are honest, respectful, and responsible. In a healthy relationship, partners don’t pressure each other to go against their personal values and they communicate openly about their feelings. Healthy relationships involve people who decide together how they will take responsibility for their relationships, and for the outcomes of the decisions they make.

If a partner, friend, family member, relative, or teacher is harming you physically, emotionally or sexually, tell someone you trust. This type of behaviour is against the law and needs to stop. There are many resources available to help you. If they encourage other harmful behaviours, like abusing alcohol or drugs, unsafe sexual behaviour, or other activities that make you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to leave the relationship. Trust your instincts and the people close to you whose opinions you trust and value. Everyone deserves to feel safe, valued and cared for. Remember; in a healthy relationship both people involved feel good about themselves. By treating yourself with self-respect and believing in your right to be treated well, you are taking important steps to developing healthy relationships.