There is this old saying, “Love Hurts”. The truth is, love shouldn’t hurt. It does not matter to me if we are talking about “true love” or “puppy love” it just, plain and simple, should not hurt.
As always, you guys know that this is not a comprehensive list, but a good place to start, when it comes to teen dating violence and knowing the warning signs.
1. Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission – This is controlling behavior. While I do believe that parents have the “right” to invade a teens privacy, especially if they believe safety is a concern, this does not apply to boyfriends/girlfriends. Jealousy and suspicion is a dangers path to head down, especially when your teen is just forming their idea of what dating is supposed to be.
2. Isolation & emotional change – It’s true, teenagers get emotional. Sometimes those hormones get the best of even the most level-headed teen, but that’s not really what we are talking about here. A sudden decrease in friends after starting a relationship is often a way for abusers to increase your teens dependability on the abuser, making it even more difficult for your teen to leave the relationship out of fear of isolation.
Relationships can be dramatic, but if you notice your teen crying more and wanting to be alone more, it’s probably time to check-in with your teen and make sure that they know they have your trust and support. If your child is dealing wit teen dating violence let them know you support them UNCONDITIONALLY!
3. Making excuses – There is a reason your teen is defending their significant other every time you turn around. Look into it. Trust your instincts, and go with your gut, but keep your eyes open at all times. Teen dating violence can be life threatening. Keep those lines of communication open and let your teen speak freely about the relationship so that you can pick up on any subtle hints. Your teen might be in denial, but it’s your job not to be.
4. How he/she talks to your teen – Belittling and put-downs are an obvious sign. However, also notice if your teen is being ASKED to do something, or TOLD to do something. There is a difference. Does your typically social, opinionated, and outgoing teen, become meek and quiet around their significant other? This may be a sign of teen dating violence and manipulation.
5. Jealousy – We’ve all been there. Insecurities get the best of us and we get jealous from time to time. It happens. However, when jealousy goes too far, teen dating violence is just a heartbeat away. Accusations of cheating, the demand for constant communication and check-ins, isolation from friends & family, social network stalking, these should all make that little red light in your brain start blinking. Again, parents trust your instincts. If you’re wrong you can always apologize. If you’re right, you could save your teen a lot of pain and suffering.
LoveIsRespect.org has some startling statistics when it comes to teen dating violence.
- 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.
- One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
- Approximately 70% of college students say they have been sexually coerced.
If you, or someone you know is being abused, you are not alone. Call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or find some resources on the web at www.BreakTheCycle.org
Love does not hurt. Stay Frosty,