If you have never had a conversation with your teenager about teen dating violence, you should. Teen dating violence is more common than one would care to think. And, sorry to disappoint all of you that believe your kids tell you everything. They don’t. According to a study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, 67% of kids do not tell their parents that they are involved in abusive relationships.
Teen Dating Violence affects millions of teens in the U.S. each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that:
- Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.
- About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year.
- 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are four types of behavior included in teen dating violence:
- Physical violence
- Sexual violence
- Psychological aggression or what I commonly refer to as mental abuse.
Talk to your kids before its too late. Make sure they understand that coming to you, or another caring adult, is always an option.
There are some wonderful resources out there for parents looking to learn more about teen dating violence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a program, Dating Matters, for children between the ages of 11-14 to teach them healthy relationship and coping skills.
LoveIsRespect.Org is an organization dedicated to eradicating teen dating violence through support and education. If you are a teen in need of immediate support you can chat with them on their website, LoveIsRespect.Org, or call 1.866.331.9474