Dr. Rachel: Healthy Dating

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Anyone who has a teenager in the house dreads the thought your teen actually dating. Our teaching doctor has some good advice for teenagers and their parents.

Sooner or later all kids start dating. Dr. Rachel tells us it is important to prepare our children for dating and instill in them healthy and respectful dating habits.

Healthy dating starts at home, parents illustrate to their kids what a relationship is.

Dr. Rachel says, "if your house is loving and supportive, then your child is likely to seek out a healthy loving relationship. If there is abuse, violence, or yelling, then your child will possibly seek that kind of relationship. Unhealthy relationships start early and last a lifetime."

In a survey, about one in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner, one in 10 teens reports being hit by a date,
and one in 10 teens has also reported that they have been kissed, touched or physically forced to have sex when they did not want to at least one time when they were dating.

We need to tell our kids that under no circumstances are that behavior okay. Our children need to be told that they should never ever allow someone to touch them in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable, and no means no.

Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout your child's life. Kids who are victims are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, and they are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.

Dr. Rachel reminds us, talk openly with your kids about inappropriate dating behaviors and allow them to ask questions. "It's never too early to start talking about tough topics. Don't wait for your child to come to you, you should be the one to start the conversation."