Cycle of an Unhealthy Relationship
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group
An important concept for students to understand when talking about healthy relationships is the cycles of unhealthy ones. Each relationship is unique and it may be tough to compare one to another, but when there is abuse or unhealthy aspects, there is usually a pattern. This pattern, or cycle, can start with the honeymoon phase, continue into the tension building phase, move into the explosion phase, and finally enter the honeymoon phase again, continuing the cycle. This cycle does not have to be a romantic relationship; friends and family can go through this cycle and find it hard to get out.
Everything seems to be going great with no issues or fights during the Honeymoon Phase. There may be apologies, gifts given, or promises made in order maintain the facade of a happy relationship. This is a time period the abusers use to manipulate the victim into believe everything is okay - or will be again.
The tension building phase is when the aggressor seems to be getting agitated at small things, often yelling, fighting, or controlling parts of the relationship. This phase is where many red flags occur.
The explosion phase is where the attack takes place. There can be different examples of outbursts of intimidation, emotional and verbal abuse, even physical abuse. Following the explosion, there is often an apology and manipulation of the honeymoon phase in order to keep the victim buying into the relationship.
Getting out of an unhealthy relationship is dangerous and tough. Recognizing the cycle of unhealthy relationships is the first step. After teaching the topics, have students create a visual to help retain content understanding. Monitor students' creations for any inappropriate content. Students should not be using themselves or other peers a victims or aggressors. One idea is to use the highly expressive, but less realistic Stickies rather than the regular Storyboard That characters.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a storyboard that shows the unhealthy relationship cycle. Use different example relationships for each cell.
- Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
- Title the appropriate cells with each phase and fill in the description with your own definition.
- Illustrate the meaning of the phase in each cell using a combination of school-appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
- Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.
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