First love relationships are very important events in the lives of teenagers. Discoveries, explorations, questioning, emotions, conflicts... This intense period is full of learning experiences.
As these are their first relationships, young people do not yet have the knowledge to distinguish between what is acceptable and what is not. Trusted adults, such as parents, can play an important role in supporting their teens to develop positive, egalitarian relationships.
Psychological and sexual abuse, whether they take place in person or virtually, require specific consideration as they are often misunderstood, subtle and trivialized. Knowing how it can manifest itself makes it easier to identify:
|Psychological and verbal abuse||Sexual abuse|
Monitor to whom and where their partner is communicating
Controlling outings, clothing, eating, etc. Isolate them from their friends or family
Manipulate, tell lies
Giving the silent treatment
Blackmailing or threatening (to leave, commit suicide, reveal intimate details, etc.).
Laughing at one’s partner, ridiculing them in front of others
Criticizing, denigrating, despising what the other person does, likes, wears, chooses, etc.
Making or forcing the other person to perform an unwanted sexual act
Use sexual blackmail ("if you really loved me, you'd want to...", "I'll leave you if you don't...", etc.)
Putting pressure on their partner to have sex
Sending nude photos without permission
Forcing someone to watch or make pornographic videos
Restricting their partner from using contraception or forcing them not to use any
Psychological abuse stemming from feelings of jealousy is often interpreted by young people as proof of love. Although jealousy is a natural human emotion, dealing with it through controlling behaviors is still problematic.
Healthy relationship characteristics are influenced by our values, needs, and priorities. They can change over time and are worth thinking about, defining, and discussing. Feeling safe and respected, trusting your partner, experiencing pleasure, being able to be authentic, communicating in a positive manner, and being free to be yourself are some examples.
Let's not forget that conflicts are human and constructive! For more information on disagreements, visit this site (in French): https://etincelles.uqam.ca/adultes-de-confiance/les-desaccords/