We all know how difficult it is to be a teenager. Everything seems life shattering. Not making the team, not getting the lead in a play, and not being asked out by the most popular person in school. All these things can seem as if the world is coming to an end. But what about the teen that facing a true life altering ordeal. There is a growing number of teens in abusive relationships. Approximately 9% of teens are a victim of physical violence from their partner every year. Teen dating violence is defined as the mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse that occurs within a romantic relationship. Examples of teen dating violence:
• Emotional abuse – this includes your mate talking down to you; hurting your feelings.
• Verbal abuse – this includes your mate yelling, threatening, or mocking you.
• Controlling behavior – your mate calling you repeatedly, telling you who you can talk to or hang out with, going through your phone without your permission, and most importantly forcing you into a sexual situation when you’re not ready.0
Most teens may not realize they’re in an abusive relationship. Especially, boys. Most teens–both boys and girls–thought it was okay for girls to hit boys. It is not! Starting as early as eleven years old, parents should have the conversation with their teens about abuse. And please understand that eleven years old is not too young to have this discussion. Pre-teens are at the very threshold of learning to interact on a whole other level with the opposite sex. In this day and age, dating begins quite early, even if parents have strict rules about it. And we all know how quickly kids learn these days.
If you are worried about your teen being in an abusive relationship, here are some signs to look for:
• Does your child show physical signs of abuse?
• Has his or her grades began to fall, or have they dropped out completely?
• Have they changed their personal style (dress, hair, makeup, if allowed, etc.)?
• Has their confidence taken a dive?
• Have they quit their normal routine of activities (after school or otherwise)?
• Are they using drugs or drinking alcohol?
• Are they having mood swings or emotional breakdowns?
• Have they started isolating themselves from family and friends?
• Do they apologize for their significant other’s angry outbursts or awkward behavior?
• Do they seem overly worried about upsetting their significant other?
• Are they suffering from sudden weight loss, depression, anxiety, or suicide?
If any of these signs stick out to you, please talk to your teen. They need someone in their corner. Please talk them today!