My name is Monica Applewhite. I have spent over 20 years working with people and organizations to protect the vulnerable from experiencing harmful relationships and trauma. In these efforts, attention often goes to directly to “what not to do” and why relationships are dangerous. What can be neglected is the very real need to define what is healthy and good in relationship development. This site is meant to be a place where people and organizations can find links to information and research on relationships and how to use what we know to develop and sustain healthy relationships in the real world.
Parents and young children. Bonding, attachment and parental consistency form the basis for healthy friendships and intimacy in adults. Physical contact, nurturing, and caregiving all have a role to play, but there are plenty of tools in the toolbox to support relationship development with children: including fun, structure, communication and behavior management.
Parents and teens. Connecting with teens is the bridge between nurturing a young child and developing a strong relationship with an adult child. Insight into the tasks for young people who are becoming independent and the neurological development of teens brings a heightened awareness to parenting a young person and opens the door for ongoing trust and mutuality.
Relationships among children. Child to child same gender and opposite gender friendships provide the basis for healthy long term relationships in adulthood. Patterns that are developed within childhood friendships may either support strong intimacy and trust or establish an unhealthy pattern for future relationships.
Relationships among adults. Adults who do not have healthy intimacy with others may feel alone and insecure. The ability to form and maintain trusting relationships with other adults provides us with a support system and safety net during the many challenging experiences we face in adult life.
Teacher-student and other non-familial relationships. For many children and teens, teachers, mentors, coaches, counselors, and youth ministers enrich their lives with knowledge, guidance and personal concern. Wholesome, caring relationships between adults and children require an intentional approach to supporting the well-being of children and young people.