The new school year is quickly approaching for our youth. Part of the growing up experience is developing friendships and intimate relationships. For parents, letting kids know that they are available and willing to discuss any subject that affects their lives or that they are unsure about is important to their security and safety, especially if there is any suspicion if dating abuse. Conversations around healthy relationships and knowing the signs of dating violence contribute to the health and well-being of our young people as they mature.
A 2011 CDC nationwide survey found that 23% of females and 14% of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.
Teen Dating Violence has been defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional abuse within a dating relationship among adolescents. It can happen in person or digitally. The perpetrator might be a current or former dating partner, someone the victim “sees” or has been intimate with casually. Signs of teen dating violence can include changes in the behavior of the person being victimized, including:
- your child loses interest in doing things that used to be enjoyable
- your child apologizes for her partner’s behavior
- your child has unexplained injuries or offers explanations that don’t make sense
- your child no longer wants to see friends or families, and he becomes more and more isolated
- you witness controlling behavior from your child’s partner, checking up on her constantly, calling and texting, etc.
- When your child and his partner are together, she calls him names and puts him down in front of other people.
If you or someone you know is experiencing teen dating violence, please call the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix at 340.773.9272, for more information about free and confidential services. Check out a Parents Guide to Teen Dating Violence, from breakthecycle.org. Visit their website for other helpful tips on starting or continuing the conversation on teen dating violence with your child.