Teen dating violence is a serious problem affecting adolescents across the nation, and it is an issue that often goes overlooked or unrecognized.February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, and we’re joining the cause to get the word out about what teenagers, parents, teachers, and community members can do to be aware of and prevent teen dating violence.According to the Office on Violence Against Women at the U. Department of Justice, violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim is dating violence.
“For example, demanding to know where someone is at all times, touching or pinching parts of someone's body in public when they’ve made it clear it’s unwanted, or controlling what type of clothes someone wears—these are all abusive behaviors that violate someone’s boundaries.” The laws about sexual violence and dating violence vary by state and situation.
The following information is not a legal guide or an exhaustive list—rather it’s a general list of early warning signs for behaviors that are, or could become, violent.
Notice what "dating" seems to mean to your child and then talk about it.
Michelle Anthony, Ph D, a developmental psychologist and learning therapist in Denver, suggests an opening line like: “It sounds like a lot of kids are talking about dating now. ” If you can't tell what dating means to your kid, try discussing dating as shown on TV shows or in movies that are age-appropriate.
Parents may joke that it’s an experience they want their child to have -- just not until somewhere around the age of 30. A 6th grade girl may say, "Jacob is my boyfriend," but what does that mean?
Seriously, though, when is your child ready to date? "At this age, kids use dating labels but aren’t ready to have much direct one-on-one interaction beyond maybe sitting together at lunch or recess," says Dale Atkins, Ph D, a family therapist in New York.
However, knowing the warning signs of dating violence is important to help teens, parents, and teachers recognize abusive behaviors. Intimate Partner Violence in the United States — 2010.
Early warning signs of dating violence include: While it is clearly a significant issue, “[t]een dating violence can be prevented, especially when there is a focus on reducing risk factors as well as fostering protective factors, and when teens are empowered through family, friends, and others (including role models such as teachers, coaches, mentors, and youth group leaders) to lead healthy lives and establish healthy relationships. A., Lowry, R., O’Malley, E., Mc Manus, T., Chyen, D., Whittle, L., Taylor, E., Demissie, Z., Brener, N., Thornton, J., Moore, J., & Zaza, S. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report – United States, 2013. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Mc Ghee, Stephanie.
“Of course it will probably be uncomfortable for both of you,” Anthony says.