Have you talked to your teen about what it means to be in a healthy relationship? One study found that 74% of sons and 66% of daughters surveyed said they had not had a conversation with their parent about dating abuse.¹ If we aren’t teaching our teens about healthy dating, who is?
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Please join us in our efforts to educate young people about dating violence. Understand the unique dating challenges teens face and listen to and engage with teens directly.
“No matter what I do, I'm no good without you.” (Rihanna)
“I don't like the way he's looking at you. I'm starting to think you want him too.” (Nick Jonas)
“Yeah you can start over you can run free
You can find other fish in the sea
You can pretend it's meant to be
But you can't stay away from me” (Maroon 5)
These quotes, from top 100 songs, are just a few examples of manipulative, controlling, and potentially abusive language written by cultural icons admired and emulated by young people.
Today’s teens consume media at a rate unparalleled by any previous generation. And it’s through social media, music, movies, and television that teens learn about relationships and dating. Celebrity couples, movie romances, and other relationships also shape the way teenagers view and express themselves in their own relationships.
It’s impossible to prevent teens from being exposed to depictions of unhealthy or abusive relationships. They are ubiquitous in our society and part of a larger societal issue that includes gender stereotypes and what is expected of boys and girls. The best way to prevent teen dating violence is through education and understanding. Here are some steps you can take:
Learn the signs of teen dating violence. These include:
· Excessive jealousy or insecurity
· Demanding/controlling access to their partner’s cell phone and social media accounts
· Pressuring a partner into unwanted sexual activity
Engage in open and honest conversations with teens about healthy relationships and dating. Listen to what your teen has to say!
Together we can open a conversation about healthy relationships, teach by example, and sow the seeds for healthy relationships between young people.
Daniel and the Domestic Violence Team