Listening and showing empathy might give your teen the courage to end a bad relationship.

How to Help Teenagers Get Out of Bad Relationships

by Candice Coleman

Watching your teen fall in love with someone else can be a rewarding experience and a waking nightmare, depending on your teen's partner. When the relationship goes awry, parents might be quick to step in and try to solve the problem. Only your teen can decide when to walk away from a relationship, though parents can provide plenty of advice and guidance in helping a teen escape from an unhealthy romantic relationship. Knowing when to intervene and when you should sit on the sidelines might ensure the best outcome.

1 Look for any signs that your teenager is in a troubled relationship. If her partner calls her names, keeps track of her whereabouts, discourages her from seeing family and friends or acts aggressively toward her, parents should take note, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

2 Talk to your son about any concerns you have about his relationship. Choose a calm, peaceful time to have the discussion. You might say, "I've noticed that Jill often gets angry with you and calls you names, and it bothers me. If you would like to talk about it, we can talk at any time." Though it might bother you, respect your son's wishes if he is not ready to talk about his relationship.

3 Listen if your daughter says she is ready to leave her relationship. If she is unhappy with the relationship, but it is not an abusive or dangerous one, encourage her to talk to her boyfriend in person, according to KidsHealth. She should not criticize him or draw out the breakup. She might want to say, "We have done our best to make our relationship work, but we have grown apart. I think it is best if we are no longer together."

4 Encourage your teen to call his girlfriend if the relationship is dangerous or abusive, making it clear that he does not wish to have contact with her. If your son feels that his former girlfriend might cause problems at work or school, you should encourage him to notify his teachers, principal and employer of any possible problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It might be necessary to change classes or jobs.

5 Stay supportive, avoid passing judgment and listen to your teen's concerns. While you might be unhappy about her former boyfriend, criticizing him will likely cause a rift between you and your daughter, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Instead, keep your focus on building your daughter's self-esteem and reminding her that she does not deserve poor treatment from anyone.

Tip

  • Encourage your child to make the breakup permanent if the relationship was bad. Providing your support and encouraging your teen to get involved with friends and hobbies again might ease the adjustment.

Warning

  • Call the authorities if your child's former partner issues threats. While they might be a false alarm, taking them seriously could prevent harm to either party.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

Photo Credits

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