Teen Dating Violence Is Definitely Worth Bringing Up... But How?
Parenting is a wonderful gift, with oh so many challenges along the way. Raising adolescents is a time that takes pure grit. And a lot of boundary checking. But in the end, can be so rewarding. With how busy it can be, it’s important to intentionally take time out to talk about teen dating violence with your child.
Teens are going through incredible changes in their autonomy and biology, experiencing hormonal and social motivations of a child no longer exploring innocently, but starting to make their way into the patterns of adulthood. To help them get through these times, it can seem easy to give up or throw up your hands during hard times, but don’t give up! Even though it can be uncomfortable, it is important to talk to them. Your teen might be truly calling out for help, but it can be easy to miss their signal as a parent. That is why it is important to take a proactive approach to learning about relationships. Teens need their parent’s wisdom at this time where their prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed. It is time to start developing socially as well as academically.
As a teen, we are exploring relationships with new wonder, setting the stage for future relationships. With the reality that so many teens experience teen dating violence, one in three adolescents, it is important to help the child understand the inherent dangers with growing older and developing relationships and moving safely in the world. Here is some important information worth passing on to your child. There are healthy relationship guides, info on how to navigate the digital age with cell phones, and learn about bystander intervention:
Starting the Conversation Early
If you suspect your teen may be a victim of abuse, you as a parent are the most important resource for your child. And if you need support, personally, there are resources to help. Remind your teen that they deserve a healthy relationship free from violence and that abuse is NEVER appropriate and NEVER their fault.
Understand that the impact of trauma such as teen dating violence shows up in various ways, but look for signs, such as depression, isolation, mood changes, substance abuse, etc.
Explain to your teen what abusive behavior can look like. Know the warning signs of unhealthy partner behavior, such as extreme criticism, humiliation, controlling behavior, jealousy, blame, isolation, and threats. Knowing how to spot the signs of unhealthy behavior can help them navigate the ways around it healthily. That is where talking about boundaries and consent are very important as well as defining values and expectations in relationships.
If your teen isn’t open to talking about their potentially harmful relationship, let them know you are there for them and will not judge them. There are confidential resources and trained individuals who can help your child who might be going through a challenging experience.
Pass on the information below, but let your teen know you are always available to talk.
If at any time you feel that you or your teen are in immediate danger, call 911.
Community Beyond Violence (Nevada County)
(530) 272-2046 (M-F 9-5)
Crisis Text Chat : www.resourceconnect.com/CBV/chat
24/7 crisis line @ (530) 272-3467
Love is Respect
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline
The Trevor Project 🏳️🌈
Wanting more resources for Teen Dating Violence?
Visit Community Beyond Violence’s page here to learn more. It takes a community to take care of each other. And talking to your kid about dating violence can go a far way to help them find resources and prevent violence in the future.