Healthy relationships aren’t just for couples! We need healthy relationships with our parents, trusted adults, friends and partners. Here are some universal characteristics for all healthy relationships:
- Mutual respect. Respect other peoples’ boundaries and listen to them.
- Honesty. Honesty will build trust and strengthen the relationship.
- Understanding. Each person should take time to understand what the other might be feeling and offer support.
- Good communication. Each person should speak openly and honestly with each other.
Check out these healthy relationship resources to learn more:
Consent means agreeing to engage in a specific activity with someone. Engaging in sexual behavior with someone who does not, or cannot, consent is sexual assault, or rape. Here are some key takeaways when it comes to understanding consent:
- It is consent if both people agree and give a clear and enthusiastic “yes.”
- It is consent if both people agree on their own (not through bribery, coercion or force).
- If a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot give consent.
- Anyone can stop and change their mind at any time.
Talking about consent by age
Discuss their bodies openly. Even when your children are young, you can start to discuss their bodies. Use correct terminology like “penis” and “vagina” when describing body parts, just like you’d say elbow or toes!
Teach them to ask a friend for a hug before giving one. Talk with your children about personal space, respecting when others do not want to be touched.
Handling rejection. Discuss that it’s okay to be told “no” and healthy ways to practice acceptance, empathy, and respect for boundaries.
Focus on the importance of not having secrets. Teach kids that if anyone asks them to keep a secret about touching their bodies or having them touch someone else’s body, they should tell a trusted adult right away and they will not be in trouble. Kids should have 2-3 trusted adults in their life that they can identify.
Preteens & Teens
Include consent in conversations about sexual health. During these adolescent years, parents can broaden the discussion to concepts of sexuality and sex. Discussing changing bodies, crushes and sexual feelings, setting boundaries, respecting others’ boundaries, communication, rejection, and affirmative consent should all be part of the conversation.
Explain what role alcohol may play in sexual scenarios. Discuss how alcohol impairs someone’s ability to consent or know if someone is consenting, but that ultimately, actions under the influence of alcohol are not exempt from responsibility. Parents should also note the differences between impairment and incapacitation, and that someone who is incapacitated cannot consent.
Explain the age of consent. The Oklahoma Age of Consent is 16 years old. A “close in age” exemption allows minors over age 14 to consent to a partner younger than 18 (if they are within two years of age).
Relationships can be complicated and look different for everyone, but dating violence or partner abuse is never okay. Tell a trusted adult if you are experiencing dating violence or abuse (physical, verbal or sexual). Abuse can include:
- Forcing you to engage in sex
- Controlling your reproductive choices like forcing you to get pregnant or to not use birth control
- Hitting, kicking or slapping you
- Threatening you and trying to control what you do and where you go
- Visit our local resources page for a list of hotlines to access resources for help around intimate partner violence.