One of the roles you play with young people and families is as educator. In families where violence may have been normalised, it is important you take the initiative to talk about what a healthy relationship looks like. In families where parents and children lack positive bonds or connections, it is crucial you work with them to help them understand one another.
A parent who is responding to their own trauma or managing disability or stress may not pick up that their child is at risk of harm or using violence. Your role is to bridge this gap and help families work together for the safety of their children.
Be prepared to ask young people about their relationships—both their friendships and their romantic relationships. This is part of getting to know them, their world and what is important to them.
Understanding what a young person’s relationship is like
Take the time to understand the young person’s relationship and what their experiences are. Some things to explore are:
- who they’re dating and how they met
- how long they’ve been together
- is it exclusive or are they casual
- their thoughts on dating and relationships
- their thoughts about gender — what they think of women, men and their roles in society and relationships.
If the young person is in care, it is important that you support their carer to talk to them about sex, safe sex, protection and consent. It may also be appropriate for you to be the person to have this conversation.
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