Q How do rights and responsibilities vary across different relationships?That’s a great question. In balanced relationships such as friendships and romantic relationships, there should be an equal balance of power. This means that both/all people in the relationship have equal rights and responsibilities which are things such as treating each other with respect, kindness, safety, empathy and compassion and be able to expect these things in return. One of the most clarifying questions you can ask is “do we have the same amount of power in this relationship?”. If the relationship is a friendship or romantic relationship, for it to be healthy, it's important to have an equal balance of power so that both people feel safe to express themselves freely and openly and still be treated with respect, even when you might have a disagreement. In different types of relationships there are some different rights and responsibilities and it's important to know what your rights and responsibilities are and where the boundaries are in those relationships.Examples of relationships that may be unbalanced are things like, teacher and student, sports coach and player, parent and child, police officer and member of the public. In these situations, there is an unequal balance of power, however this is for the protection of the community and in these cases, the person with more power also has more responsibility to behave respectfully and maintain the safety of those they have power over.- Christie
Q Why are boys and girls treated differently?
Sometimes girls and boys can be stereotyped and treated differently by past expectations and gender norms. Some people have ideas about how girls and boys should act but this isn’t a “RIGHT” way to be a girl or boy, or a certain way to treat boys and girls. Everyone, no matter what gender, deserves to be treated with respect.
Q What should you do if a friend avoids talking to you and talks behind your back, and lies to others about you?
Sometimes friends can act in not very nice ways. If they are lying about you and talking about you behind your back, it doesn’t sound like they’re being a good friend. You can let them know that this is hurting you and you want them to stop.
Being left out and spoken about behind your back can cause you to feel lots of different negative emotions. You might feel sad at first and then become angry and jealous. These emotions are normal, but they will pass. Instead of denying your emotions, give yourself some time to feel them.
Sharing your feelings with someone who cares about you can be helpful. Try talking to a parent, carer, a good friend, or someone else who you feel that you can trust. Explain what happened and be honest about how it made you feel. The person who you share with may be able to give you some advice about how to deal with your situation.
If the behaviour was intentional by your friend, then it is best to avoid showing your emotions to them. Bullies often use exclusion to get a rise out of people, so even if you are upset about being talked about and left out, try not to show it. You may be giving a bully what they want by showing that you are upset. Instead, try to act like you are not bothered by it.
If they continue to exclude you, consider finding a new group of friends – once who don’t leave you out, who enjoy your company and respect you.
There are many elements that make a relationship ‘good’ and many of them depend on what’s important to you. For example; common interests, personality type, similar sense of humour, similar values, morals and life goals. These are some elements that can add to the compatibility in a relationship. However in a good healthy relationship, underlying all these elements, there needs to be respect, regardless of the other positive attributes your partner has.
Respect is demonstrated in many ways for example, being able to trust one another, respecting and understanding each others boundaries, acknowledging eachothers different points of view and being able to communicate openly and fairly.
To have a good relationship, there needs to be an equal balance of power, this means that when these points of difference come up, you are able to have open respectful communication and work through these challenges. It means one partner does not control, manipulate or degrade the other and instead, you problem solve, build eachother up and support eachother in your individual and shared goals.
Q Is it scary being in a relationship?
It can be! It is often something new and different. It’s important to talk to the other person in the relationship to let you know how you’re feeling. A certain amount of awkwardness at the beginning of a relationship (dating or friendship) is perfectly normal and to be expected – you’re getting to know each other and trust each other and those are not things that should ever be leapt in to!
Q What should you do if a parent/guardian or sibling don’t let you say what you feel and if you do, they get mad?
Sometimes when trying to say how you feel to your parent/guardians or siblings, you might feel that they are not listening to you. This can be a frustrating and upsetting experience not being heard. If this is happening it may be useful to use our “I feel…” statements to show exactly how you feel and what they can do to help you. If this doesn’t work and they still don’t listen, it may be a good idea to write it down and give it to them. If this still doesn’t work, you can reach out to other adults and let them know how you’re feeling. This is why it’s so important to have 5 adults that you can trust, and don’t forget Kids Helpline!
Q Why do girls have to be classified as "girly girls" or "tom boys"?
This is because of stereotypes! A stereotype is an overly simple belief about a particular group of people and is often negative. By stereotyping we assume that a person is, thinks, or acts like all members of a certain group. For example, a stereotype is that all girls like dressing up and wearing makeup and that all boys like sport. They make us ignore differences between individuals and think things about people that might not be true. They also make us believe that people should act in certain ways which can make us treat others badly because they don’t ‘fit’ a particular stereotype. So, we need to be really careful when we make assumptions about other people just because they are a girl, a boy, short, tall, skinny, overweight, living with a disability, have different cultural backgrounds to ourselves or any other factor.
Q I'm starting high school soon. Is it going to be hard?
High school can be great, fun, awesome, awful, scary and boring – all in one day sometimes! Everyone at high school is going through a lot of changes, maybe some difficult times at home, struggling with juggling homework, dealing with a changing body and changing relationships... That’s a lot!
Everyone in grade 7 will be nervous – you are certainly not starting high school alone and there will be loads of people there to help if you need. Promise. High school can be tricky for some so remember to put yourselves into someone else’s shoes – have a think about how they might be feeling and if there is something that you could do that might make them feel a bit better.
Q What is the right age to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?Some people become interested in having a boyfriend or girlfriend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult. There is no magical age that tells you when you can and cannot start dating. However, parents and carers’ rules about relationships play a part here too. If your parents have told you that you must be a certain age to date and you keep a relationship secret from them, it will be difficult for them to help if you need support and advice. Relationships can be tricky, and you may need the support from your family at some stage.In any case, regardless of age, it is important that if you do decide that you want to start dating someone, that you ask for their consent and communicate this with them. You both must also be mature enough to follow basic relationship rights and responsibilities, such as respecting one another as an equal, giving yourself and them space to spend time with other friends and family, and ensuring you both are free to express yourselves respectfully without any pressure or threats.If you feel you and the person you are interested in understand how to be a respectful partner and will not pressure each other to do anything that you are not ready for, that is more important than any particular age.-Bonnie
Q Why should we trust people?
It’s important to find friends and adults that we can trust so that we have someone to talk to when things aren’t going well for us. Someone who we know will always have our back and also celebrate with us when things go well.
Q What is the right age to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
There is no magical age that tells you when you can and cannot start dating. Although, regardless of age, it is important that if you do decide that you want to start dating someone, that you ask for their consent and communicate this with them. . Sometimes parents or caregivers will tell you what age you’re allowed to have a girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s important for you and the other person to be ready and willing to be in a relationship, no matter the age.
Some people become interested in having a special friend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult.
From a legal and ethical point of view – not just how it may look in public. As far as the legal age of sexual consent goes, in Queensland people under the age of 16 can’t have intercourse. In terms of dating, it would very much depend on the ages of the couple, the age difference and whether or not there was an imbalance of power in the relationship. I would also be concerned about any young person who was in a relationship where it was supposed to be secret and therefore hidden from public. If one person on the relationship is trying to keep the relationship a secret, maybe it’s an unsafe or unhealthy relationship.
Q Why do I fight with my friend even when I try my hardest to be the bigger person and try to make no mistakes?This is a complex question and one that is a little difficult to answer without the context. Friends can have different views, different beliefs, hobbies, interests, lifestyles and still be great friends. It's all about respect and healthy communication. It sounds like what would be helpful is to check in with yourself around what is and makes a good friend/friendship and work out if what you and your friend have is healthy, balanced and respectful. I noticed, you said you try not to make any mistakes. It is a good idea to check in with yourself around what mistakes you are talking about. If your friends' expectations are controlling, for example, you spend time with someone else and he/she gets angry at you and makes you feel like you have made a mistake, then your friend is not respecting your right to have other friends. Your friends should always support you and not try to control you. If however, your mistake is talking negatively about your friend behind his/her back and your friend gets upset, then you have broken your responsibility to be a good friend and your friend can decide if they still want to be friends with you or not. You can’t ever control how someone else behaves, but you can decide whether you want to be friends with someone who doesn’t respect your rights. And ALWAYS remember your responsibilities. If you are friends with someone, you are responsible for treating them with respect and making sure that you don’t harm them - physically or emotionally. Some ways to check if you and your friend are treating each other respectfully:
Accept people as they are. You can like other people even if you don't agree with everything they say or do.
Be a good listener so that others can tell that you are really interested in what they are saying.
Ask them about themselves.
Be a positive person; talk about the good things in your life. No one wants to be hassled by problems all the time.
Don't be a cruel gossip or tell tales… "She said… and I don't think she likes… and she doesn't want to be your friend." Sounds familiar?
If it continues to be a problem for you, speak to an adult that you trust to give you good advice on how to be a good friend. A good guide is to treat other people the way that you like to be treated!Also check out our post on Relationship Rights and Responsibilities. - Christie
Q What does responsibility in a relationship mean?
A responsibility is something that you have in relationships. You have a responsibility to respect everyone’s rights, and they have the same responsibility to respect yours. It’s accountability – something that you should do. You might have responsibilities at home like cleaning your room, doing the dishes, feeding the dog etc. In the same way you need to do these things, you need to carry out your responsibilities in a relationship.
Q Is it strange being in a relationship with a boy?
Sometimes! Dating anyone can be a bit strange especially if you start holding hands or even kissing! If you are uncomfortable or not ready for something when dating, it’s important to let the person know and ask them to respect your decision.
Q What do you do if you really like someone but it makes you anxious?
Lots of thoughts and feelings arise when you are around the person you like – and a big one is the fear of rejection. Most people are scared of being rejected because they think that it means that there is something wrong with them. But chances are, if you’re trying to act like anyone other than whom you really are, you’re probably acting like a bit of a dork. Just remember that this relationship stuff is new to everyone your age and the person you like is probably just as nervous about getting it right as you are.
If someone is causing you anxiety and stress because of their behavior towards you it would be best to talk to a trusted adult.
Q Is it okay if you don’t want to be in a relationship?
This is totally normal! Some people become interested in having a special friend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult.
One of the greatest things about being a human being is friendship. Having others around to share things with and have fun together makes life more interesting. Don't feel pressured into looking for a special friend just because it seems to be the 'in thing' to do. You could end up losing someone as a good friend and that would be sad, as good friends are hard to find.
Q How do I get a girlfriend?Before you look at how you get a girlfriend, a good thing is to work out why you would like a girlfriend. Is there someone you have romantic feelings for? Is it because some of your friends have girlfriends?If there is someone you are interested in, there are many ways you could go about asking them out. You could start off building a friendship, seeing if you have common interests, morals and values that are similar. If this goes well and you feel like you and this person would work well in a romantic relationship, then you could ask the person out on a date. You can do this in a few ways, if you feel too nervous to do it face to face, you could send them a message asking them if they would like to go out with you. If you would prefer to do it in person, its important to choose your time well. Maybe somewhere away from your peers, where you can both talk respectfully and honestly about it. Something to consider before this is that you may not always get the answer you are hoping for. Be prepared for this and remember how important it is to be respectful no matter what. If the person you like tells you they would not like to date you, respectfully accept their answer and remember, you deserve to date someone who feels as excited about the relationship as you, so their honesty is a good thing. Using respect and being prepared when asking someone out makes room for a healthy friendship If the feelings are not mutual. And if they are mutual, congratulations! You and your girlfriend can enter into a relationship that started with respect.~ Christie
Q Why do girls get treated like objects in media?
Sometimes people can be disrespectful and like you because of your body, or things, or money instead of who you are as a person. This is not okay, you deserve to be treated with respect, and to be treated as an equal.
Sometimes, when people are disrespectful to a group based on their gender, their race, their religion, their education, whether they have money…. It can be because they think their wants, desires or beliefs are more important than others. When we think we are more important than others, it can turn into behaviour that preferences ourselves over others, belittles others, or even behaviour that is disrespectful and harmful to others. So it doesn’t matter if someone is male, female, religious, has a PHD or left school in year 12, is black white or even grey….. if they are human, they are to be respected. And we have to constantly check in with ourselves about the how and why we treat others the way we do. And when we muck up (as we all do) think about how you can make things better.
Not everyone thinks this way, but some people still believe in those stereotypes.
Q How do I get a boyfriend?Well, from your question it sounds like there isn’t a particular person you like at the moment, so I’m assuming we’re talking about a boyfriend in general, not how to ask out someone you know already. One thing to think about first is why do you want a boyfriend? Sometimes people feel pressure because if seems like everyone has boyfriends or girlfriends so they should have one too, but in reality plenty of people are single and happy that way.Meeting people who might become a boyfriend is pretty similar to making new friends. A lot of us find it difficult to find, make or keep friends – sometimes because they are shy or find it difficult to start a conversation. The best friendships, including dating relationships, are with people who share common interests, so you could try joining groups, activities or teams that interest you, which will give you the chance to meet new people. This gives you something to talk about and can increase your confidence to talk about other things with potential new friends.Watch and learn from social people who make friends easily, practise looking people in the eye when you talk to them, and listen to what others are saying, rather than focusing on your own self-consciousness – and smile. When you talk to someone new, ask them questions about themselves or what they like to do; it’s a good way to get started.If there is already someone you are interested in, or if you try the suggestions above and become interested in someone new, the main thing is to try to relax and be yourself. Lots of thoughts and feelings arise when you are around a person you like and a big one is fear of rejection. Most people are scared of being rejected because they think it means that there is something wrong with them. Just remember that this relationship stuff is new to everyone your age and the person you like is probably just as nervous about getting it right as you are. Telling someone that you like them or asking someone out can be really nerve wrecking & embarrassing. You can try asking them out through a text or pm,and if they say no, at least you can get the news in privacy, and it can be easier for them to have time to think about their answer. However, if you’re pretty confident that they like you back you may feel self-assured enough to ask them face to face. Just remember it’s important to respect the answer they give, and make sure they don’t feel pressured either way. Good luck!
Q What is it like to be a teenager?
There’s no easy answer for this because everyone person is different. Being a teenager can be one of the best times in your life because you have lots of opportunities but it can also be confusing and scary. There’s no rule book on how to act – but being respectful is a great start.
Q Why do boys play more video games than girls?
We need to be careful here because this is almost a stereotype! Perhaps the boys you know play more video games than girls, but in some schools/ towns maybe girls play more video games than boys? We really don’t know.
Q Why are girls and boys judged by the way they dress?
Sometimes people are judged by how they dress because of silly stereotypes. A stereotype is an overly simple belief about a particular group of people and is often negative. By stereotyping we assume that a person is, thinks, or acts like all members of a certain group. For example, a stereotype is that all girls like dressing up and wearing makeup and that all boys like sport. They make us ignore differences between individuals and think things about people that might not be true. They also make us believe that people should act in certain ways which can make us treat others badly because they don’t ‘fit’ a particular stereotype. So, we need to be really careful when we make assumptions about other people just because they are a girl, a boy, short, tall, skinny, overweight, living with a disability, have different cultural backgrounds to ourselves or any other factor.
Q Why does hardly anyone ask for sexual consent?
Remember that we never see this stuff on movies/TV/advertising and no-one really talks to us about it. It’s hard to know if we haven’t been taught and it’s also hard when popular culture tries to tell us that it’s not important. Lots of people DO ask and hopefully we’ll see it more in the movies soon.
Q Why does it take a week to get our answers?Hi! We are so glad that you are coming back to check for your answer. We are a small team who are often out and about at schools but we work really hard to get all answers up by each Friday. So, if you ask a question on Monday, check back on Friday afternoon and the answer should be there! 😊- Sarah
Q I told my friend I had a crush on them and they told everyone. Why would they do that?
If a friend shares something with other people that you shared in confidence with them, I’d suggest having a talk to them about what being a good friend means to you/them. Being trustworthy is an important part of being a friend. Often in schools people talk a LOT about who likes who and who asked out who. Remember that you can’t believe everything you hear and thing about the impact of the gossip on the person it is about.
Q What rights does each person have in a friendship?Everyone has rights and responsibilities in any relationship, whether it is a friendship or a dating relationship. Those rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand and if all friends keep them in mind then the friendship will be healthy and positive. For example, in a friendship you have the right to be spoken to respectfully, even during an argument, and you have the responsibility to speak to your friend in a respectful way, which protects their rights as well. Have a look at the list below to see other important rights and responsibilities:
I have the right …
I have the responsibility …
To be spoken to and treated respectfully at all times, even during an argument.
To communicate with respect – no name calling and no pressuring – even when we are arguing
Respectfully disagree with my friend about things
To respect that my friend will have different opinions
To say no to things I don’t want to do, without being pressured
To ask my friend to do things with me and respect the decision they make for themselves
To be treated like an equal
To treat my friend as my equal
To feel safe
To not threaten or control my friend
To express my opinions honestly
To have mycultural and spiritual beliefs recognised
To accept my friends' cultural and spiritual beliefs
To hang out with my friends and family without my friend
To give my friend space to hang out with their friends and family without me
To not be abused
To not abuse
Remember also that if you feel like your rights are not being respected, it’s important to speak to a trusted adult like a parent, a teacher or a guidance counsellor about it, and get some help.
Q Is it okay to kiss someone?
If you have their consent! If it’s a first kiss and you are still getting to know the other person maybe take things slowly. There is no rule book on kissing but paying attention to how the other person responds (e.g. do they pull away and say, “Yuk!") Remind yourself that there are many, many people your age that haven’t kissed or gone out with someone before and for most people in your age group this relationship stuff is all new. It’s one of the ‘jobs’ of adolescence to learn how to relate to people in ways that are different from when you were little kids. And new things are always a bit scary. If you go out with someone or kiss someone that you are already really comfortable with, you’ll feel less self-conscious and may even be able to talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Q Why are girls considered less than boys?We know that boys and girls can both do lots of the same things - boys and girls are both smart, sporty, creative, adventurous, kind etc. So we know that in reality boys are not more than girls, or better than girls. I am interpreting your question as, “even though boys and girls can do lots of the same things equally as well, why are girls thought to be less than boys?”This is known as gender inequality, and it started many years ago when things were very different in society. To give you a very brief snapshot; historically, females were considered the nurturers, the bearers of children, and the ‘homemakers’, and men were the providers, considered the head of the family. Over time as technology and science evolved, so did society and gender roles. Along with the advancements, such as the contraception pill for women, childcare, and education, women entered the workforce and began challenging traditional gender roles which meant that men were doing things that only women used to do, and women were doing things that only men used to do. Our society today recognises that girls and boys are both very capable and can do lots of the same things equally as well, however because our society had made decisions about how girls and boys should be, for example “boys are more sporty and never cry” and “girls should wear dresses and always present themselves nicely” sometimes boys and girls are not considered equal, even though they are. When this happens sometimes boys and girls are not given the same opportunities. It's important that you know that as a girl, or a boy you should be given the same opportunities and that you should not be left out or discriminated against because you are a girl/boy. If you are in this situation, its important you talk to your parents or teachers about it to see if you can be included in the activity.
Q What if you ask someone to kiss but they say no? What do you do?
Then you don’t kiss them and let them know that you respect their decision. Remember that consent needs to be gained freely, willingly and enthusiastically. It is SO important that we respect people’s decisions about their bodies and relationships. In this case, you could talk to them about it and ask if they want to talk more about it. They might not and that’s okay. You might like to check in with them again down the track (in a few weeks not in a few hours).
Q If a guy sends me a nude picture what should I do?If you are sent a nude picture, there are a few things you can do, and a few different issues depending on the age of the person in the photo and your relationship. If the person in the nude photo is under 18 years, it is a criminal offence for you to possess child exploitation material which is what this photo is catogorised as. In this case it's important you talk to a trusted adult who can help deal with the situation. Delete the photo and do not send it to anyone else as this is considered distributing child exploitation material which is a very serious offence. If it is your boyfriend or someone you are dating our advice is to discourage any sharing of nude photos, not only because it is against the law if you are under 18, but also because the photo is out of your control once it has been shared and you are relying on the trust of someone else to keep the photo confidential. It is a good idea to talk to your current boyfriend about this and don’t send any nudes in return. If you are both over 18 years old and you receive this photo, unsolicited, you might like to let him know how inappropriate it is to force a nude photo onto someone. You can also block him and report him within the app as this is a violation of the standards of the code in which most messaging applications fall under. It can be good to let him know you are reporting him to show him there are consequences for his actions and to deter him from sending this pic to others.