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Toxic Teen Relationships – Is Your Teenager In An Unhealthy Relationship?

Being a teenager isn’t easy and it can be a real struggle for some, as adolescence is an impressionable time when often teens are connecting more with their peers and disconnecting from their parents. It’s also normal during this time that they start forming relationships; it’s a time for young and first loves. For most, these relationships are healthy, and are just part of the growing up process, but sometimes they are not, which can be harmful in terms of their physical and mental health. In this article from Becoming Aware, based in Eastbourne in East Sussex, we look at the signs that parents should look out for if they feel their teenager may be in a toxic and unhealthy relationship and what they can do to help.

Adverse Effects On Mental And Physical Wellbeing

There’s a big difference between parents not liking the person their teenager is with and them being in an unhealthy relationship, the consequences of which can have an adverse effect on their mental and physical wellbeing as well as on their education and social life and can be accompanied by feelings of low esteem. When a relationship becomes unhealthy, your teen may become obsessed with their partner who may be possessive and controlling and the relationship may get serious too quickly.

Spotting The Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship

These are some of the things you should be looking out for if you think that your teenage daughter or son is in a toxic relationship.

· Separating themselves from friends, family and parents

· Changes in appearance – clothes, and/or hairstyle

· Giving up their hobbies and interests

· Noticeable weight loss

· Unexplained injuries such as bruising or scratches

· Personality is changing

· Becoming emotionally isolated and hiding away

· Loss of confidence

· Showing signs of depression, anxiety and stress

Discuss What A Healthy Relationship Involves

It will do no good to get angry at your teen or to lay down the law in regard to your teen not seeing their partner anymore, as to them this is the ‘love of their life’. Also, an absolute ‘no, no’ is to pass derogatory comments or unfavourable opinions about their partner. Your job as a parent is to stay calm and try to be a ‘mentor’ and be supportive in this situation and encourage them to talk about their relationship, and through talk it may be possible for them to understand that what they are experiencing is not the norm. Try to be curious and interested without being intrusive and it’s a good idea to discuss what a healthy relationship involves.

Actions To Take As A Parent Or Teenager

· Talk through the situation if possible

· Ask a family member or teacher to talk with them

· Encourage them to be assertive in their relationships

· Teach them what a healthy relationship is and what it involves

· Set limits on the use of electronic equipment

· Set some boundaries

· Seek professional help


It certainly won’t be an easy time as a parent if you have a teenager in an unhealthy relationship, but it is important that they don’t think that this is normal in a relationship. In your conversations with your teen, stay calm and friendly and don’t be judgmental. And if they won’t talk, don’t get discouraged and ask a close friend, family member or teacher to chat with them. It’s crucial to break the cycle and release the emotion from it.

What To Do Next

Karen Hoad from Becoming Aware is an ‘Emotions and Emotional Wellbeing’ practitioner and offers support to parents, teens and young people who find themselves in this situation. Call Karen on 07766 427966 for a without obligation chat or email

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