February is teen dating violence awareness month and of course, we need to spend some time talking about this subject. Firstly, we have to understand that teen dating violence happens just like adult dating violence happens. We cannot decide that becuase they are teenagers, that their love does not matter. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I want us to discuss some key myths about teen dating violence and how as a parent, you can notice the red flags and support in a helpful way.
Myth #1- My teen can't date so they can't be abused
This seems like the best way to prevent your teen from being in a violent relationship. However, the reality is they may still date without your knowledge. It is important to rember teen dating does not exactly look the same as adult dating. So while you may think of dating as going out, spending time together in person, they are connecting virtually and in common spaces such as school, after school programs, sporting events and so forth.
Myth #2- It will be easy to notice
All red flags are not easily noticeable, especially if the relationship isn't strong. Even when the relationship between parent and teen is strong, teens can be great hiding information they do not want you to know. This is why having regular conversations about healthy relationships and using pop culture is a great way to weave this topic into regular conversations.
Myth #3 - If I know the person they date, everything will be fine
I saved this one for last simply because many parents feel the control of the spouse will be the best for their child. The problem with this line of thinking is if the person is manipulative, they will have an ally within you and this will give them power to control the relationship.
In conclusion, check your personal thoughts around teen dating violence because those very biases may alter your ability to see when your teen is being abused. Any questions, feel free to reach out.
Here are some additional resources about this subject:
If your teen is experiencing dating violence or you suspect violence, do not be afraid to intervene from an understanding perspective. They’re are times when intervening strongly can cause your teen to completely rebel and leave you completely unable to help.
If this is something your teen is struggling with, consider therapy as an avenue to help you and your teen explore their toxic relationship. Domestic violence impacts us all in various ways and if you are struggling to intervene, seek support.
With Love from your favorite teen therapist,