What to do if you suspect your teen is in a violent and/or emotionally abusive relationship?
Parents should start talking to their children about healthy relationships well before they start dating. Provide your children with examples of healthy relationships in your own life. Point out healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors in television, movies, and music and take an opportunity to talk to your child about what is appropriate and what is not. It is never too early to teach self-respect.
Teach your children to respect themselves. No one has the right to make your child feel bad about himself or herself. No one has the right to insult, control, or hit another.
Always keep the lines of communication open. Encourage your child to come to you. Take the opportunity to talk to your child anytime the opportunity presents itself. Be open, understanding, and non-judgmental. Listen to your child and refrain from lecturing.
Ask your child questions to encourage conversations about healthy relationships and awareness of dating violence, such as:
What makes a healthy relationship?
What do you want in a relationship? o
What are the relationships like that you have witnessed at school or among friends? Have you witnessed any acts of violence?
Have you seen someone using Facebook or text messages to insult, monitor, or control any of your friends?
What would you do if you witnessed or experienced dating violence?
How could you help someone in an abusive relationship?
If you suspect your teen is the victim of dating violence, make sure your teen knows you are there to help. Express your concern for your teen – keep the focus on your teen, not the abuser. Be clear that you do not blame your teen and that you are, and always will be, supportive of your teen. Understand that your teen must be one who decides to end the relationship – you can not do that for your teen. When your teen does end the relationship, help your teen develop a safety plan to stay safe during and after the break-up. Get advice and resources from a domestic violence agency.
Some common Red Flags and warning signs of emotional abuse and physical violence in teen dating relationship.