What Every Parent Needs To Know
About Teens & Dating Violence
By: Gina Kendall Lusardi
While we, as parents, would like to think of our teens as still being helpless little babies who needed us for everything, sadly they don’t. It is sad but true, our sweet little babies are growing up and talking to the opposite sex, and in some cases, the same gender. They are getting all giddy and googly eyed. It is our jobs as parents of, dear I say, dating teens to protect them and educate them on how to navigate this whole new world they are exploring. Unfortunately, dating violence is real and is something you must educate your sons and daughters on. Providing them with information on preventions, educating them on the signs to look for, and equipping them with the tools they need if they do every find themselves in this situation. Every violent relationship has an abuser and a victim. Girls can just as easily abuse a boy as boy’s abuse girls. A matter of fact, the number of men reporting dating and domestic violence is on the rise.
Here are some tips on how to talk to your teen regarding dating violence. Take the time one-on-one to talk to your teen, just the two of you. Find a place that their friends aren’t going to be, a safe place that they will feel comfortable enough to open up to you. Open dialogue is vitally important. Obtain all the facts about dating violence before you go in order to give your daughter or son the correct information they will need to stay safe. Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what- without judgement. Yeah, I know, that is hard when your baby tells you that someone is abusing them. But for their sake, you have to. Making sure they are safe is the #1 priority.
I’ve put together a list of thing to look out for if your teen is in a relationship or “just friends” with someone:
Your child apologizes for their partner's behavior and make excuses for them.
They lose interest in things they use to enjoy doing.
They stop hanging out with their friends and family.
You notice name calling or insults.
Their partner acts extremely jealous of others who pay attention to your child, especially the
They tell your child that you, their parents, don’t like them.
Constant checking up on your child. Calling, texting, or demanding to know where they are.
Your child mentions their partner's violent behavior but laughs it off as a joke.
You witness their partner lose their temper, striking your child or breaking objects in a fit of
Your child has unexplainable bruises or injuries and their story don't make sense
These are just a few things to look out for. If you suspect anything, talk with your teen. Listen, don’t judge, make sure they are safe and seek help.
It’s important that you know your rights and your child’s rights. If need be, get the police involved. It is your duty as a parent to protect your child from abuse. It is your right as a parent to keep your child away from the person who is doing them harm.
Some “experts” say don’t solve your child’s problems for them, it’ll just put a wedge between you. I say, better the wedge of their bedroom door than the wedge of 6 feet of dirt. We can not turn a blinds eye and chalk it up to “just being a teenager.”
1 in 10 high school students have been purposely hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
43% of dating college students have reported experiencing violence and abusive behavior.
If your teen is the one doing the abusing, it is your obligation to get them the help they need in order to control their anger. Your child must know that there are consequence to their actions. They must be held accountable for hurting another human being. Hitting another human being is a crime, it is assault and can lead to jail time. DO NOT sweep their actions under the rug because that’s just who they are. Not only will you be doing serious harm to your own child by playing it off, but now your child is doing harm to another mother’s baby. And your child does NOT have that right!
For more information on dating violence or to report abuse call:
THE NATIONAL DATING VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-866-331-9474