February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
1 in 3 U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults.
43% of U.S. college women report violent or abusive dating behaviors as well. Teen Dating Violence Awareness month aims to lower these statistics by focusing on advocacy and education to stop dating abuse before it starts.
Is your child in an unhealthy relationship?
When two people are in a relationship they create a unique relationship dynamic. As a parent, you want the relationships that your teens enter to have healthy dynamics. A healthy relationship can look different to everyone, but a healthy relationship should have respect, equality, safety, and trust.
Respect means seeing, believing, hearing, and appreciating your partner and what they have to say, taking them seriously, and respecting their needs. In a healthy relationship, equality means a truly balanced amount of power amongst the people in the relationship. In a safe dynamic, you fully trust that your partner won’t intentionally hurt you. Trusting your partner also means that you can believe that they are saying what they mean and that when they act you can assume they’re acting in ways that are good.
Warning signs of unhealthy relationships
Dating violence can happen to anyone, and it’s more common than you’d want to believe. No parent wants their child to endure any dating violence. Dating violence or harassment can occur in any type of relationship, whether it’s casual or serious, and it can happen within any sexual orientation. Helps your teens stay vigilant by reviewing the warning signs of teen violence below, and leading a conversation using the Love is Respect discussion guide.
Creating a controlling environment and isolating you
This includes checking your phone, email, or social media accounts without your permission, or isolating you from friends or family.
Weaponizing their emotions
Your partner could have outbursts, temper, or mood swings and use them against you.
This includes any form of physical abuse, as well as pressuring you or forcing you to have sex.
They could act possessively toward you or show extreme jealousy with no basis.
This includes putting you down frequently, especially in front of others.
What teen dating violence could look like
If your teen is wondering if what’s happening in their relationship is normal, this video can be used as a guide to lead a conversation with them. Learn more: loveisrespect.org