If you have a teenage child or are regularly around one, chances are at some point he or she will be dating. Though it can be hard to think about, dating violence is shockingly prevalent in today’s cultures (both for teens and adults). Having a conversation with your teen and keeping the “red flags” in mind can help you address the situation and help victims find a way out of abuse.
A 2010 study cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that “22 percent of women and 15 percent of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.” This is a problem that can affect anyone and it’s important that young teens understand that violence, verbal abuse and controlling in any relationship is never, under any circumstances, ok.
You can start educating about healthy relationships to young children by modeling healthy relationships and providing a supportive community. As children grow into preteens and teens, social media and texting can make it even easier for abusive partners to exhibit control over every part of their lives.
Break the cycle and share some warning signs for abusive partners. Abusive partners tend to frequently distrust their partners, have mood swings and a sudden temper and often express passiveness and controlling behavior.
Have a conversation about healthy relationships with your children when they start dating and follow up as they get older. While preparing to explain how intimate partner violence can happen the Power and Control Wheel from loveisrespect.org can help provide examples and red flags. Even if your child never experiences any level of dating violence or intimate partner abuse, statistically they might have a friend or peer experiencing one. Make sure they know how to get themselves or a friend help. The CDC also provides helpful facts to help you understand teen dating violence.