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What’s A Relationship Bill of Rights?

Posted by on Jul 1, 2020 | Comments Off on What’s A Relationship Bill of Rights?

What’s A Relationship Bill of Rights?

Building and maintaining relationships is a valuable part of a family, and of growing up. While healthy relationships provide so much joy and value to the lives of youth, they also have their challenges. One tool that families and youth can use to ensure their relationships stay strong, healthy, and safe is a Relationship Bill of Rights.

A relationship bill of rights is a great tool to review when relationships begin, change, or get rocky. Within this document is a list of rights and responsibilities that should always be met for a relationship to be considered healthy, regardless of how you or your relationships change. 

Rights are based on values and respected boundaries. Those rights could include: 

  • Be treated with kindness and respect
  • Refuse a relationship with anyone you feel unsafe around
  • State your needs and have them respected
  • Be listened to

Responsibilities are things you do to maintain the health of a relationship. They demonstrate respect for the other person’s boundaries, feelings and needs. Responsibilities could include: 

  • Communicating your limits and values
  • Respecting the boundaries of others
  • Being considerate of others’ feelings and differences
  • Asking questions before assuming or judging

How to Use a Relationship Bill of Rights

You can create a relationship bill of rights for yourself or collaboratively with your youth. Together you can discuss each right and responsibility. Why is each one important to have? Ask your youth if they feel like their needs and boundaries are being respected in their relationships, including their friendships. If they aren’t, ask your youth why they are continuing the relationship. Listen non judgmentally and have empathy for the pressure youth face to maintain many social connections regardless of the quality. Help them in understanding qualities of healthy relationships and remind youth that they have the right to end one at any time.

If needed, the relationship bill of rights is also a tool to help you as you talk with youth that aren’t being a respectful friend or partner. Remind them that one of their responsibilities is to respect other people’s rights and dignity. Their relationship bill of rights can be used to gauge how they are supporting their friends or partner’s rights. You can teach them empathy and communication skills by discussing how to address their relationship responsibilities.

A Tool to Start Conversations

Talking about relationships can be hard. A tool like a relationship bill of rights is a great way to start. It’s not a magic solution for all problems, but it provides a great opportunity to build trust, critical thinking, and communication skills with youth. Try creating a relationship bill of rights for yourself.Feeling stuck? We have more resources about talking to youth about healthy relationships here or contact Ophelia’s Place at info@opheliasplace.net to schedule an adult training opportunity.