Dating abuse in high school is unfortunately a growing epidemic. Three out of every five teenagers will be in an abusive relationship before they even graduate. I wanted to take a moment remind parents that you should talk about dating and what are important aspects of a healthy relationship with your teenager.
It is never too early or too late to talk to your teenager about relationships. Your child needs to feel like they can come to you about relationship issues. If you do not have a conversation about dating with your child, they are more prone to hiding aspects of their relationship from you.As a parent you can focus your dating talk around respect. Encourage your child to have respect for themselves and for others. Let your child know that you are there to help and not judge their relationship. Most teens start hiding things regarding their relationship because they do not know that you are available and are want to listen to them. The most important part of “the relationship talk” is LISTENING!
Talking about dating abuse with your child can be difficult but if they are not educated by you, the parent, then they may become a victim of teen dating violence. Lay down parental guidelines regarding your child dating. Make sure that you focus on their safety and self-esteem. Here are a few quick topics to go over with your teen:
- How a relationship should make him/her feel? (Confident, supported, happy, and safe)
- Abuse always gets worse. It usually starts as verbal abuse and then can escalate into physical harm if not addressed early enough in the relationship.
- Let your teen know you support their relationship decisions if it is healthy and morally sound.
- Let them know that you care, you love them, and you are always there to help and listen.
- Love and fear should not coexist. No one has the right to control what you do or who you talk to. No one has the right to hit you or lay a hand on you.
- Abuse is never the victims fault. Your child is not to blame for being in an abusive relationship. Commonly abusers make their victim feel like it is their fault, but no matter what it should not be happening and your child needs to know they are NOT to blame.
Take a few minutes this week to talk to your teen about relationships. Summer is quickly approaching and summer love is in the air. Kids are dating earlier and earlier these days. It’s never too soon or too late to talk to your child about dating abuse. It doesn’t have to be a super serious conversation you have over dinner while everyone else in the family is around. They would probably prefer that it was just you and them in the room. You can make it a fun experience by get ice-cream after dinner one day!