Teen Dating Violence

The following article about teen dating violence was put together by my dear friend Karla Reese, 'Super Mom Extraodinaire' as I've come to think of her.  As a mother to a teenage daughter, teen dating violence is a big concern of hers. One she takes serious enough to take a proactive role in her daughters life.  I've never seen such a healthy example of parenting and communication, the way they engage is mesmerizing. Karla's heart is so big she has taken a motherly role to many who had no one to turn to. Through Karla's personal experiences and research about this cause she has a very important message to share with parents: 

I have been a mentor for teens for many years. In these years, I have discovered that what seems to be an overwhelming majority of "acting out" is generally an issue with self esteem. Unfortunately, many parents believe teenagers need less guidance than they did as young children. This belief, coupled with the fact that this age is fraught with many challenges and communication barriers tend to keep the relationship between teenagers and parents tentative at best. 

In truth, if you have not established a mentoring relationship with your teen, you will find it very difficult to reach them, once they have reached an age where they wish to exert more independence. However, teenagers need more attention from their parents at this very crucial period in their lives. This is a time they need their parents to meet their mental needs the most with support and understanding. 

In the many years I have worked with young adults, age 13-19, I have seen some severe issues I would like to address with this message. The fact that February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month spurred me to write about issues I have seen that concern me a great deal.

Before I do so, I would like you to be aware of some striking statistics!

DID YOU KNOW?

  • 89 percent of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 say they have been in dating relationships

  • 1 in 3 teens experience some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships

  • 1 in 5 high school girls are physically or sexually hurt by a dating partner

  • About 10 percent of students nationwide report being physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past 12 months

  • Girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence

  • Teen girls face relationship violence three times more than adult women

  • Only 33 percent of teens who have been in or have known about an abusive dating relationship report having told anyone about it

  • 1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say that a boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their partner.

When I have seen this occurring, I noticed that the partners are able to maintain power and control over the girls, isolating them from their family and friends, because the girls think these behaviors are a signs of loveThey are totally unaware that their relationship is unhealthy. The girls exhibit such self destructive behaviors as depression, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, unwanted sexual contact and even suicide. 

Please take a look at these warning signs that your teen may be in a violent relationship:

  • Personality seems to change

  • Distances themselves from their friends and family

  • Looses interest in activities they previously enjoyed

  • Constantly checking their cell phone and gets upset when asked to put their phone away or turn it off

  • Is withdrawn and quieter than usual

  • Is angry and irritable when asked how they are doing

  • Makes excuses for their partner

  • Has unexplained scratches, bruises and injuries on their body

  • Brushes off violent behaviors from their partner 
  • Partner seems to control what your teen wears

Parents, if you are afraid to talk with your teens, please find a mentor you feel they trust and ask them to chat. It is extremely vital you get them some help and raise their awareness. A counselor, pastor, Scout leader or any mentor that accepts this responsibility would be more than willing to help your teens understand what constitutes a healthy, respectful relationship.

 

Statistics from www.loveisrespect.org and loveisnotabuse.com.

 


Comments

Purple, your kind words at the beginning of this article are SO BEAUTIFUL!! I feel SO HONORED TO HAVE SUCH A DEAR FRIEND!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING SUCH AN AMAZING PERSON AND AN ADVOCATE FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR HELP! Every person can be a hero. It just requires stepping up and reaching out. It may be out of your comfort zone, but it is well worth it. Make a change in one person's life, and hope they pay it forward. This is how we change the world. One person at a time. Light each other's lanterns, friends! "...Be the change you wish to see in the world" Gandhi

It is an honor to have you as a friend, I value your support Karla!

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