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Avoiding Teen Dating Violence

Avoiding Teen Dating Violence

Dating Partner Warning Signs

Whether your teen has known her boyfriend or date for seven years or seven days, she should be conscious of the person’s behavior at all times and not put her safety at risk. Pass along these warning signs to your children so that they can respond proactively to a threatening situation rather than reactively.

  • Acts jealous and possessive.
  • Won’t let you have friends.
  • Checks up on you.
  • Refuses to accept breaking up.
  • Bosses you around.
  • Insists on making all decisions.
  • Belittles you and your opinions.
  • Frightens or threatens you.
  • Owns, uses or talks a lot about weapons.
  • Acts violent, getting into fights or angering quickly.
  • Pushes, grabs, pinches, or hits you.
  • Pressures you for sex or gets serious about your relationship too fast.
  • Uses alcohol or other drugs and pressures you to do the same.
  • Has been involved in a number of failed relationships.

What can your child do to protect herself in a threatening situation?

  • Talk to someone you trust and/or can help, like a parent, friend, counselor or clergyman.
  • Tell a school counselor or security officer what’s going on.
  • Make daily notes about the disturbing behavior.
  • Avoid being alone with your date at home, school, work or anywhere else.
  • When you go out, tell someone where you are going, who they are with and when you’ll be back.
  • Plan and rehearse what you will do if your dating partner gets abusive.

If a friend of yours is a victim of dating violence, how can you help?

  • If you see signs of abuse, talk to your friend about it.
  • Tell your friend that you’re worried and want to help.
  • An abusive partner often undermines the victim’s self-confidence, so point out your friend’s good qualities.
  • Encourage your friend to talk to a trusted adult, offering to go along.
  • If the situation’s getting worse, talk to an adult yourself, and if you witness an assault, contact the police, school principal or other adult immediately.
  • Don’t endanger yourself by confronting the abusive partner.

Want to take an active role helping others deal with dating violence?

  • Start a peer education program for teenagers in your area.
  • Ask your school librarian to purchase self-help books about dating violence and domestic violence.
  • Use school bulletin boards and newspapers to raise awareness about the problem and how to deal with it.
  • Put on a play about teen dating violence.

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