Talking With Your Teen About Teen Dating Violence…It’s Never Too Early Or Late

February 4, 2010

The teen years can be a difficult time for kids and parents. The teen dating scene can be especially challenging and complicated. Keeping communication open with your teen is the best preventative measure for violent teen dating. There are warning signs to look for and ways you can help your teen through this rough period in their life.

The majority of problems in teen dating violence occur against teen girls. As a parent, set an example for your teen. If you are in a violent or abusive relationship, it is tough for teens to realize that violence in dating is not acceptable. Teens and kids learn by example. Encourage your children to have healthy and loving relationships by setting an example for them in your personal relationships.

Girls can learn that it is acceptable to be yelled at by their date if they see it at home, just as boys can may think it is acceptable to be aggressive with their date if they see it at home. Being good role models will decrease the chances of your teen becoming involved with someone who is aggressive and disrespectful. Couples argue from time to time. Try to keep marital arguments out of ear shot of your teens whenever possible. Demonstrate to your teen how to argue fairly and show respect for one another even if there are disagreements from time to time in the marital relationship.

Parents can help teens by talking to them about the type of violence that sometimes happens in teen dating. Violence can be physical or emotional. When the abuse is emotional, kids often dismiss the violence in their dating relationships. Many teens do not even realize that emotional abuse exists. The kids are not mature enough to know what behaviors are considered emotional abuse. Unfortunately, the kids think that the emotional abuse is normal. Before teens begin dating, talk to them about respect and tell themhow to recognize the signs of emotional abuse. If they understand what emotional abuse is, they will know that it is wrong and not a normal part of dating. Parents should remember that dating and relationships are completely new to teens.

Most people realize that hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, spitting, biting and so forth are violent behaviors. These behaviors are all too common in violent teen dating. Emotional abuse can include name calling, humiliation, hurtful sarcasm and being threatened. Both types of violence are often hidden from parents, friends and teachers. The kids suffering from the violence can feel shame and embarrassment. They do not want to tell anyone that there is a problem. Some teens do not even realize that it is not part of normal dating. We have to teach children what is acceptable and not acceptable in a personal relationship.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

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