Children and young people need lessons in building strong relationships to counteract negative role models and “Disneyfied” portrayals of love, experts say

Children and young people need lessons in building strong relationships to counteract negative role models and “Disneyfied” portrayals of love, experts say

Newswise – Children should be taught in school how to build strong relationships to counter negative role models and “Disney-like” depictions of love they are exposed to, experts have said.

Learning how to build and maintain strong partnerships should be an integral part of working in schools to promote health and well-being, according to a new study.

Relationship stress is linked to public health problems such as alcohol abuse, obesity, poor mental health and child poverty.

Children should learn that relationships take work, how to manage expectations, and that “good” relationships don’t just happen.

Young people taking part in a new study said relationship education would help them develop better communication and conflict management skills. They said they would welcome classes on how to manage different stages in relationships, how to maintain happy relationships and end relationships that could not be sustained, and how to deal with the consequences.

The interdisciplinary research of Simon Benham-Clarke, Jan Ewing, Anne Barlow and Tamsin Newlove-Delgado from the University of Exeter, was carried out as part of the Beacon project, funded by the University’s Wellcome Center for the Cultures and Environments of Health.

Experts conducted focus groups with 24 young people from the South West between the ages of 14 and 18 and ten relationship professionals. All recognized the importance of schools that support young people to build healthy relationships.

Simon Benham-Clarke said: “Our research shows that schools need improved support for relationship education, including expertise and resources, as well as guidance to refer students to external sources of support. Positive relational behavior should be modeled, integrated and built upon in all curricula at the national level and be reflected in a school’s ethos.”

“Those we interviewed emphasized the importance of teaching skills such as relationship, communication, empathy, respect, conflict resolution and repair, and ending relationships kindly and safely.”

dr Newlove-Delgado said: “Young people saw schools as offering an unbiased and alternative perspective on relationships, particularly for those who might have more difficult backgrounds, but there was an expressed desire for schools to have a greater focus on how Relationships “work” instead of sex education.

“Participants also felt that the conversation about family and peer relationships should come first and build upon later discussions of romantic relationships in later school years, with some emphasizing connections between patterns of relationship behaviors.”

“Some youngsters worried that if it came too soon, romance education might put pressure on people their age.”

Professor Barlow said: “Those we interviewed felt that schools could improve relationship outcomes for students in ways other than relationship education, e.g. B. by having someone to talk to personally and privately. Others wanted directions and information on resources outside the school.”

dr Ewing said: “While young people’s families were viewed as the main source of learning about healthy relationships, there was clear support for the role of school to complement this, as not all families exhibit healthy relationships. Relationship professionals have felt that there are important transitional moments in life, such as marriage or having a baby, when people are receptive to learning relationship skills, but that schools play a crucial role in teaching and embedding critical skills for initiating and maintaining a healthy relationship .”

There was strong support for relationship education to start early, preferably in elementary schools, to explore what healthy friendship and socializing looks like before engaging in romantic relationships that would teach important life skills to young people. Early onset in primary schools and with counseling support where needed was seen as particularly important for young people whose parents were involved in conflict.

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