Dating Violence and Your Teen: Know the Facts
The CDC states that dating abuse affects life outside of dating relationships. Abused teens are more likely to do poorly in school and engage in drug and alcohol use. In addition, abusive relationships can lead to eating disorders, depression, and suicide. Since the patterns of violence can be carried to future relationships, abused teens are three times more likely to experience violence during college, and are more likely to be involved in partner violence in adulthood.
How to help
Since many people in a violent relationship feel ashamed and usually blame themselves, the first step toward getting help is admitting abuse. The Massachusetts Medical Society offers tips for parents to talk to their teen about dating violence, and what to do if they suspect their teen is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship:
- Tell your teen you are there to listen and help, not to judge.
- If your teen does not want to talk to you, help him or her find a trusted adult to talk with.
- Focus on your teen, and not on putting down the abuser. Point out how unhappy your teen seems to be while with this person.
- If your teen wants to break up with the abuser, recommend that the breakup be final and definite.
- Support your teen's decision and be ready to help.
- Take whatever safety measures are necessary to protect your teen. Consider getting help from guidance counselors, the school principal, or the police if necessary.
- Ask for teen dating violence and intervention programs at your teen's school.
Getting help as soon as possible could be a matter of life and death for your teen. For more information on teen dating violence, visit the following professional websites: