TEEN DATING SAFETY

One in three girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. 

"Interpersonal and Physical Dating Violence among Teens"

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus

Group of Friends

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JUMP TO SECTION:

TIPS FOR CONNECTING WITH YOUR TEEN ABOUT DATING SAFETY

THE RELATIONSHIP SPECTRUM: FROM HEALTHY TO ABUSIVE

TEEN DATING SAFETY: WORKSHEET + DISCUSSION GUIDE

TEEN DATING SAFETY RESOURCES

TIPS FOR CONNECTING WITH YOUR TEEN ABOUT DATING SAFETY

Accept what they are telling you.

Listen and be supportive even when you don’t understand or agree with their decisions. Being judgemental will make them feel worse and less likely to reach out to you for help when they need you.

Don’t prevent them from seeing their partner.

Controlling their actions will make them more likely to keep secrets from you. Avoid taking their decision-making away from them – as this is a tactic they may already be experiencing in their abusive relationship. Remember that forcing this may be something that their partner can easily use to manipulate and use as “proof” that other people are the problem.

Don’t give up.

Your instinct is probably to defend and protect your child, but abusive situations aren’t always that simple. Even though helping them can be frustrating when you don’t understand or agree with their decisions, they need to know that they can trust you and depend on you for support. Make decisions that let them know that you’re there for them.

Adapted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline

REMEMBER:

Even if the conversation feels uncomfortable or awkward at first, your teen needs your support during this vulnerable and critical time in their development

 

THE RELATIONSHIP SPECTRUM

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy relationships somewhere in the middle.

HEALTHY

A healthy relationship means both you and your partner are:

  • Communicating

  • Respectful

  • Trusting

  • Honest

  • Equal

  • Enjoying personal time away from each other

  • Making mutual choices

  • Economic/financial partners (in older teens/young adults)

UNHEALTHY

You may be in an unhealthy relationship if your parter is:

  • Not communicating

  • Disrespectful

  • Not trusting

  • Dishonest

  • Trying to take control

  • Only spending time together

  • Pressured into activities

  • Unequal economically (in older teens/young adults)

ABUSIVE

Abuse is occurring in a relationship when one partner is:

  • Communicating in a hurtful or threatening way

  • Mistreating

  • Accusing the other of cheating when it's untrue

  • Denying their actions are abusive

  • Controlling

  • Isolating their partner from others

 

TEEN DATING SAFETY: WORKSHEET + DISCUSSION GUIDE

Download our Teen Dating Safety Worksheet and Discussion guide to help support your conversation with your teen or pre-teen about establishing healthy relationships.

 

ADDITIONAL TEEN DATING RESOURCES

 

Supporting Your Child:

What to Look For

Understanding Types of Relationship Abuse

QUIZ

How Would You Help Someone in an Abusive Relationship?