Did you know that 1 out of every 3 teenagers will be involved in an abusive relationship? Abuse can be physical, emotional, or even sexual. Dating violence can have immediate and long-term consequences. Teens are vulnerable to depression and are likely to turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. Many victims of teen dating violence develop low self-esteem and have trouble adjusting to life as an adult.
Do you suspect that your teen is involved in an abusive relationship? It is important to get involved and stop the abuse before it causes long-lasting harm. Here are 4 ways to stop teen dating violence.
Know the Signs
Do you know how to identify the signs of dating violence? The first step in stopping abuse is by knowing what it looks like. Abuse can take many shapes and forms. Keep an eye on your teen and see if they demonstrate any of these signs:
- Physical bruises, scrapes, or abrasions
- Unexplained violent mood swings
- Fear of disappointing their dating partner
- Displaying submissive behavior while with their dating partner
- Depression, anxiety, or other emotional distress
- Drug or alcohol use, or
- Spending less time with old friends.
It can be difficult to tell if these are signs of dating violence or simply growing pains that accompany the teenage years. The best way to find out what these behaviors indicate is by having a conversation.
Talk to Your Teen
While you may be able to identify the signs of dating abuse in your child, they may not know what teen dating violence looks like from the inside. You can equip them with this knowledge. Let your teen know that the following behaviors can be classified as teen dating abuse:
- Refusing them to spend time with other friends or family members
- Pressure to have sex before they are ready or willing
- Making the teen feel guilty for not having sex
- Eavesdropping on private conversations, texts, and emails
- Hitting, slapping, biting, or punching
- Yelling, screaming, and inflicting emotional distress, and
- Blaming the teen for failures in the relationship.
Having the ability to identify abuse can allow your teen to end an abusive relationship before it escalates.
Keep a Journal
Do you think that your teen is in an abusive relationship? Have you been unable to get them to communicate with you? Keep a journal of your concerns. Write down a sign or symptom of teen dating abuse each time you identify one. This can help down the line. The list can help your teen see the relationship from a different perspective. If the abuse escalates, your journal can be used to support a restraining order or criminal charges.
Get the School Involved
Once an abusive relationship has been identified, it is important to make sure that your teen is protected. They may be hesitant to end the relationship because they will have to see their abusive partner at school. You can get the school involved by speaking with administrators and counselors.
Loop them in on the situation and ask for their help in keeping your teen safe. Counselors can be available to talk to your teen and help them through the breakup. Any stalking or abusive conduct can be identified and stopped before it can cause harm. Getting the school involved can also allow the abusive teen to get the help he or she needs.