Teen Dating Violence is on the Rise: What Can Parents Do?
Dating violence is any form of abuse that takes place in a relationship including physical, sexual, mental, or emotional abuse. For teenagers, it has become a widespread problem that has serious effects on a developing teen.
A study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, “Of U.S. students who said they were dating, 21 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys said they had been victims of physical and sexual violence from a dating partner in the last 12 months.” In some communities, the numbers are even worse.
With teens becoming romantic as young as 12 and 13 years old, it is imperative for you to discuss healthy relationships with your tween or teen early and often.
To help, here are five things you can do to help reduce the likelihood that your teen will experience any form of dating abuse:
Define a Healthy Relationship
In a healthy relationship, each partner feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings without being fearful or made to feel guilty or fear of being slapped.
Every relationship experiences disagreements. In healthy relationships, both parties look to find common ground and try to find a solution to the problem in a peaceful manner.
Caring for someone is respecting that person enough to be compassionate and supportive of that person. It is offering encouragement to build each other up rather than looking to put each other down.
Be an Example
Our actions always ring louder than our words. Be the example they need. Many times children end up dating the same kind of people their parents do.
Monitor Social Media
Know the social media platforms that your teen uses. Use the same platforms yourself. Being active on social media will give you a good look at your teen’s life. It will also keep you in touch with relevant subjects and events that can provide great examples of what is and isn’t healthy.
Also, pay attention to any signs of abuse. Some of the common signs are responding quickly and frantically to texts or calls from their partner, frequently crying as a result of relationship problems, making excuses for inappropriate behavior, engaging in risky behaviors such as drugs and alcohol use, appearing anxious or depressed, or participating in unsafe sexual acts. These are warning signs that your teen could be in a dangerous relationship, and might need help.
Have an Open Dialogue
Be relatable to your teen. Let them know that you too also faced many of the same things they are facing. Give them specific examples from your life. Let them know when you feel something is awkward or embarrassing. This will help your teen confide in you more.
Raising a teenager is no easy task. In today’s world, it is even harder. The number one thing as a parent and caretaker is to trust your intuition. No one knows your child better than you do. Be present in their lives, and stay on alert. You can be the shield that protects them from abuse.
Share this Post