Respectful Relationships

Respect is a word that often gets used but is quite difficult to define. A lot of people would say they know when they are being treated respectfully, but might have trouble identifying their own disrespectful communication styles. Self-respect is often talked about but it is surprising how often people struggle to achieve it for themselves.

Respect can mean treating ourselves and others with consideration, care and esteem. To show respect means to have regard for other peoples' feelings and to treat them with dignity.

How to recognise a respectful relationship

Respect is an important part of healthy relationships, and everyone has the right to be respected. A respectful relationship is characterised by the following:

• people make their own choices and form their own views consistent with their age and developmental level
• feelings of self-worth are encouraged
• people's points of views and beliefs are valued
• the rights of a person to be safe, valued and cared for are understood
• people are accepted
• people are able to disagree at times and say what they think or feel without being put down or hurt in anyway
• people can listen and be heard
• 'No' is accepted for an answer
• a person can make mistakes and still be accepted and respected
• it is never controlling, and encourages personal growth and fulfillment
• it nurtures a culture of trust, honesty and happiness

Sometimes relationships are not full of respect. If you are in a bad relationship and need some help you can always talk to Childline. Talk to a counsellor free on 0800 1111 or through 1-2-1 chat online.

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