Teen Dating Violence: How can we help as Parents?
Dating Violence can be any type of abuse in a relationship. Whether it’s physical, sexual, mental, or emotional, it can have some serious effects on our teenagers.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of all U.S. teenagers over 20% of girls and 10% of boys have been victims of physical or emotional abuse from their dating partner in the last year! With the romance age as young as 12 years old it is important to discuss healthy relationships with your child/teenager.
What do I say?
You can start off by discussing healthy dating relationship habits and talk about the way a partner should behave/act towards one another. This will give an idea of the kind of person they may want to date instead of getting into an unhealthy relationship.
Communication is key! In a healthy relationship there is no thoughts of guilt or fear of being physically abused by their partner. They want to feel comfortable expressing their feelings without any backlash or repercussions.
Care is another important factor when it comes to healthy relationships. Caring for one another and showing support is very healthy. You want to be caring and compassionate towards your partner. Encourage one another, and don’t put each other down! Compromise is key. Every relationship may have problems or disagreements but is important to always find a solution.
Get to know who your child is dating! Invite them to family outings/events!
Be an Example!
Let your relationship be an example to your child. Don’t just discuss with your child but set an example and show them healthy relationship habits yourself. Even as a single parent it is important in who you choose to date, because your relationship will be seen by your child.
Social Media (Monitor your child!)
Nowadays most relationships start on social media. As a parent you should get familiar with what platforms your child is using. This will keep you up to date with any change that may be going on with relationship trends, facts, advice etc. Also, it is important to keep a close eye on any signs of abuse your child may be experiencing.
· Frantic calls or texts from partners
· Frequent crying
· Excuses for inappropriate behavior
· Anxiety, Depression,
· Participating in unsafe sexual acts
· Use of drugs, or alcohol
Raising a teenager can be difficult but let them know that they can confide in you! Encourage them that if they ever need to talk about anything that they can come to you. Be relatable and let them know you may have faced similar situations in your dating life as well. As a parent our number one concern is protecting our child from harm. Talk to your child and prevent dating abuse before it starts!