Teen Dating and Violence Awareness (and Prevention Month)
According to Youth.gov, February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. With an estimated 1 in 10 teens experiencing some form of dating violence, it is crucial that we teach awareness and prevention to protect the teens of our community. The more educated on the subject our teens are, the less vulnerable they are to falling victim to dating violence.
Teen Dating Violence Statistics
We mentioned that an estimated 1 in 10 teens are experiencing some form of dating violence or another. These high rates don’t end here. Studies have shown that adolescents ranging from the ages of 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault among the country’s population. Our teens are a vulnerable population. This is why dating violence education is so important.
The Impacts of Teen Dating Violence
Those who experience dating violence can begin to suffer from a number of mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or PTSD. Teens who have experienced dating violence also struggle to maintain their self-esteem, which can lead to a range of different consequences, including social withdrawal and eating disorders.
Violence can have a way of sticking with a person. Teens who suffer from abuse when dating may bring the effects in their other relationships. This can leave the teen stuck in unhealthy relational patterns throughout their lives, impacting their romantic relationships, friendships, and connection to their family members.
Preventing Teen Dating Violence
If you are wondering how to help your teenager avoid falling victim to teen dating violence, we are here to help. A few ways you can raise awareness about and help prevent teen dating violence include:
Know the Warning Signs
Abuse in a relationship is absolutely not acceptable. However, abuse can be difficult to recognize when you are actually in the situation. Educating our teens on the warning signs of a violent or abusive partner can help protect them from falling victim as they enter the dating world. The warning signs of a violent or abusive partner include:
- Controlling behavior
- Extreme jealousy
- Insisting on being with you every free moment you get
- Requesting passwords and account information
Any act of violence or control can be a warning sign that the relationship can soon turn abusive. It is important to take these warning signs very seriously and leave the relationship as soon as possible before things get worse.
Teach Teens About Healthy Relationships
Healthy and happy relationships are the goal. As you are raising your child, try to keep in mind that they are looking to you for guidance on navigating their world. Modeling and teaching your child about what a healthy relationship looks like will help them avoid falling into toxic or abusive relationships later in their life.
Being a Trustworthy Source of Support
Be open with your child. Let them talk to you about what they need to, and don’t shy away from talking to them about difficult subjects. Making sure that you and your child have an open stream of communication will ensure that they know they have somebody to turn to in case they need help getting out of a tough situation.
Encourage Them to Stand Up for Themselves
As you are raising your child, offer them opportunities to encourage openness about what makes them happy or uncomfortable. Teach them communication methods that will ensure they are able to get their point across effectively.
If you have struggled with dating violence, we are here to help. Contact us today, and we will offer you the support and assistance you need.
Keywords: adolescent therapy, how to help your teenager, teen dating violence, preventing teen dating violence