A guide to realizing if
your child is at-risk, displaying
self-destructive behaviors, and
needs your help and intervention.
Every 6.5 seconds, a woman is physically assaulted or raped by an intimate partner – a spouse or dating partner.
25% of adolescents report verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year. It would take nearly 31,000 school buses to hold all teenagers who experience dating violence in a year.
Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking and suicide attempts. Experiencing violence during the teen years increases risk for victimization later in life.
Information from The CDC Injury Center.
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ABUSE: Teen Dating Violence
Teen dating violence often starts as emotional or verbal abuse and can quickly escalate into physical abuse or sexual violence.
About one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship. Forty percent of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. (US Department of Justice, 2004 statistics)
You must give your child the help, support, and protection she or he needs, such as:
Ask questions and listen with an open mind and heart
Communicate openly with your teen
Respect your teen's feelings
Be calm and take positive action
Set limits where appropriate
Avoid power struggles with your teen
Help set up a safety plan if your teen is trying to end the relationship
Deal with your anger and frustration in calm, reasoned, and constructive ways
Resolve conflicts with your teen early
Be a role model for your teen on issues such as sobriety, your personal relationship with your spouse and others
It is vital that you address this issue in a way that will break the cycle of violence. There are things you can do to help your teen and others recognize the abuse, understand the dynamics behind it, and get help to stop the behavior before it becomes a life-long pattern, such as:
Recognize controlling and abusive behavior
Acknowledge your awareness of controlling and abusive behavior
Confront your teen's controlling and abusive behavior
Communicate your concerns to the parents of your teen's partner
Consult with community programs and mental health professionals for ideas
Accept help and support for your efforts from friends, family, and others in the school, church, and community
Seek help for your teen through community and mental health programs
Support your teen's efforts to stop the pattern of abuse
NEXT: Help and Support
Information on Teen Dating Violence
A Parent's Handbook: How To Talk To Your Children About Developing Healthy Relationships ~ How to create an environment in which parents can give their pre-teen boys and girls the skills with which to have positive, healthy relationships with peers and in dating situations.
Dating Violence ~ Warning signs, dating safety, statistics, safety planning, and the Dating Bill of Rights.
Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls & Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, & Suicidality ~ This study clearly demonstrates a link between health risk behavior and the experience of dating violence among adolescent girls.
Dating Violence Among Adolescents ~ Information on dating violence backed up by statistics for both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
For Teen Daters, A Cell Phone Can Be An Abusive Leash ~ A study found that 20 to 30 percent of teens who had been in relationships said their partner had constantly checked in on them, had harassed or insulted them, or had made unwanted requests for sexual activity, all via cell phones or text messages.
Friendship as an Antidote to Dating Violence ~ Female teens are less likely to be victims of abuse during dating if they have strong support from friends.
Love Is Respect ~ Online home of the National Teen Dating Violence Helpline (1-866-331-9474) and a community where teens, their families, and friends can find support and information on dating abuse.
Peer Sexual Abuse Dangerous for Teens ~ This study found that traumatic dating experiences (where rape or other violence occurred) were linked to a sharp increase in self-destructive behaviors like suicide attempts and eating disorders.
Prescription for Teen Dating Do's & Don'ts: Parents Should Talk Openly, Set Limits ~ More than ever, teens need their parents to provide guidance and boundaries when they are ready to start dating. Here are some excellent tips for parents.
Teen Dating Violence ~ Articles, fact sheets, and informational resources on dating violence from the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center.
Teen Dating Violence: A Closer Look at Adolescent Romantic Relationships ~ Most teenagers do not experience physical aggression when they date. However, for one in 10 teens, abuse is a very real part of dating relationships, with between two and three in 10 being verbally or psychologically abused.
Teen Power & Control Wheel ~ Teen dating abuse includes harassment, intimidation, privacy violation, threats, using male privilege, limiting independence, humiliation, and isolation.
Tragic Tale of Teen Dating Violence ~ Is your daughter vulnerable to an abusive relationship? Read this powerful story on a devastating event.
Recommended Reading for Parents
by Jill Murray
One in three girls will be in a controlling, abusive dating relationship before she graduates from high school — from verbal or emotional abuse to sexual abuse or physical battering. Is your daughter in danger? Dr. Murray identifies these controlling, abusive patterns of behavior and helps you get your daughter out of the relationship without alienating her. You will learn what draws her to this type of relationship, why she has a hard time talking to you about it, the special barriers teens face when breaking off a relationship, and what's going on in the mind of a teen abuser. Dr. Murray will help you show your teen what a respectful relationship looks like, and teach her the importance of respecting herself.
© Focus Adolescent Services