Here on the blog, I talk about ways to protect the ones you love. This means keeping your family safe and healthy – including in the relationships they have with others.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. This issue is a particularly scary one for parents. No one wants to think it could happen to their child, but according to the CDC, “9.4 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Be aware of the signs of dating violence and keep the lines of communication open with your kids and teens to keep them safe. Here’s what you need to know:
- Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school.
- They are more likely to engage in harmful behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use.
- They are more likely to develop eating disorders.
- Violence is not just physical. Teen dating violence also refers to emotional abuse and stalking.
- Dating violence often starts with emotional abuse such as name calling and belittling, which lowers the victim’s self-esteem. Abusers will make their victim feel worthless and like they are lucky to be in the relationship.
- Lack of parental supervision, warmth and consistent discipline are all factors in teens who become abusers.
Protect your teens by knowing their friends and watching for signs of abuse, like depression and lowered self-esteem. Encourage your teens to spend time with their friends in your home so that you can get to know them. Visit LoveIsRespect.org for resources regarding dating violence, too.
It’s all about protecting the ones you love!
May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!