If you have teens in your life, this topic is worth your time and attention.
In a healthy dating relationship skills class for teens, the facilitator asked the participants what they do when they get angry at their boyfriend or girlfriend. One young man spoke up and said, “I just choke her.”
Sadly, violence is a reality in many teen dating relationships.
According to a study commissioned by Liz Claiborne and conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited in 2008:
National Center for Victims of Crime studies indicate that teen dating violence runs across race, gender and socioeconomic lines. Males and females are victims, but boys and girls are abusive in different ways. Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch, or kick. Boys injure girls more severely and frequently.
A comparison of intimate partner violence rates between teens and adults reveals that teens are at higher risk in intimate partner abuse.
Is your teen at risk?
Does he or she know the warning signs of an abusive relationship? Would you recognize the symptoms? Many parents say they don’t know the warning signs of teen dating violence.
If you are wondering whether or not your teen is in an unhealthy relationship, here are some warning signs from the Break the Cycle website:
Teens need to understand that hitting a girlfriend or boyfriend is a crime. In the vast majority of teen dating violence, the female is the victim. However, this conversation shouldn’t only take place with female teens. This is an important conversation for parents to have with their sons and daughters.
A number of excellent resources are available to help you discuss dating violence together, including breakthecycle.org. The site has a parent’s guide for talking to your teen, statistics, warning signs and additional resources. Another great resource is loveisrespect.org.
Being aware of the warning signs of violence and taking action can prevent the wrong types of relationships from happening. It can also end abuse cycle for teens who are in the midst of it.