- Help teens understand they are in control of their relationships.
- Provide teens with practical advice to evaluate their relationships.
- Encourage teens to set relationship and sexual boundaries they are comfortable keeping.
- Inform teens that healthy relationships require shared values:
- Each person’s freedom and priorities are respected.
- Common interests are shared.
- Other friendships and relationships remain strong.
- Partners are not pressured into activities they do not feel comfortable doing.
- Decisions are made jointly.
- About one in five high school girls report having been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
- One in three teens report having a boyfriend or girlfriend who demanded to know where they were at all times. One in four teens who have been in a serious relationship say that a boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
- If you suspect your teen is in an unhealthy relationship, look for signs such as:
- Withdrawal from other friends.
- Regular and demeaning joking by a boyfriend or girlfriend at your son’s or daughter’s expense.
- Excessive texting, IMing, or phone calling.
- Drastic, sudden changes in tastes or interests.
- If your teen tells you that he or she has been the victim of abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest:
- Stay calm.
- Create a safe environment for communication.
- Allow your teen to express what is going on.
- Avoid threatening revenge on your teen’s partner.
- Explore what community resources are available to help (such as hotlines, counselors, and clinics).
- Consider reporting the violence to local law enforcement.
- Document everything—what your teen reports; what actions you take; and what clinical, social work, and law enforcement personnel tell you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Choose respect: Dating violence facts
. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/chooserespect/understanding_dating_violence/dating_violence_facts.html
Loveisrespect.org. (2011). Dating abuse fast facts
. Retrieved from http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/dating-abuse-fast-facts/
Last updated: April 29, 2013