Parents Guide to Dating Violence

DSC_2685 - compressedIt might be very easy to think that you would know if your children was in an unhealthy or violent relationship. When we look at the facts, often unhealthy relationships are a lot harder to recognize than we think. And even scarier, a lot more common. According to,

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18.

The stat that I thought was scariest, though? Eighty-one (81) percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

Hopefully the numbers have convinced you that teen dating violence is something that needs to be talked about with your teenager. Scared to start the conversation? Here are some tips:

  • Remember that dating relationships are starting much younger than most adults realize. A relationship that may seem like puppy love for a silly high school romance are often much more serious than we think, at least in the eyes of your child. Don’t downplay their feelings!
  • Make sure that you and your child both know the red flags of an unhealthy relationship. (Try starting here) Have a discussion specifically about jealousy within relationships. When, if ever, is it a healthy part of dating?
  • Ask about what your teen experiences personally, or about their friends relationships. Let them take the lead and tell you what they see and think.
  • Don’t just talk to your daughter about how to stay safe, talk to your son about his role in ending dating violence. How we teach our sons to treat their relationships is incredibly important!
  • Ask about what your child wants from a relationship, and what would be a “deal-breaker” for them.
  • Make sure your teen knows some local resources in case they aren’t comfortable talking to you about their relationship, or if they have friends that might be being abused. Make sure they know how to support their friends or intervene if necessary too!
  • Most importantly, remember that this is not a one-time conversation. It is so vital to keep lines of communication open with your teenagers and let you know you support them and want to hear what they have to say. Having a supportive parent that a teen can talk to about relationships might be one of the biggest advantages they could have.

  • Still need more help? We’d love to talk to you about it. Give us a call at 873-6601.