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Dating Violence: Tips For Parents

Dating Violence:  Tips for Parents

Romantic and sexual feelings develop during the teen years. Teenagers are starting to date and experiment with different types of relationships. It is fun and exciting to meet someone new, and sad and difficult to break up.

As a parent, you can help your teenager make good decisions about dating. With guidance and support, teens can learn about healthy relationships and get the strength and courage needed to leave those that are not.

Parents Need To Know What’s Going On

Myths and Facts 

MYTH: “Teen dating violence is just another way of saying rape.”

FACT: Abuse comes in many forms. Besides sexual violence, it also includes:

• Yelling, swearing, put-downs, and threats

• Being pushed around or hit

• Controlling, bossy, and bullying behavior 

MYTH: “Oh, it’s not that common.”


• More than 1 in 10 teenagers experience physical violence in a dating relationship.

• When threats and emotional abuse are included, it’s even higher. 

MYTH: “It only happens to kids from bad homes.”

FACT: Dating violence is not limited to families with a history of violence. It happens to teens from families of all cultures, income levels, and educational backgrounds.

MYTH: “It can’t happen to my child.”


• Boys, as well as girls, can be victims of dating violence.

• It can happen in any type of relationship— straight, gay, or lesbian.

• It can occur at any time in a relationship— those just starting or ones that have been going on for a while.

Why Teens Are Silent 

There are many reasons why teens don’t tell their parents or friends about the violence they are experiencing. They may:

Warning Signs of Abuse Some of the following may be just part of being a teenager. But, when these changes happen suddenly or without explanation, there is cause for concern.



Physical appearance



Abusive Behavior It is important for you to recognize signs of an abusive relationship.

Tips For Parents Talk about healthy dating relationships and possible problems. It is never too early or too late to teach about respect. Respect for self and others is important in any relationship.

If you think your teenager already may be involved with an abusive partner:

If your teenager tries to break up with an abusive partner:

What You Can Say It is important for your teen to talk about dating violence, either with you or with another trusted adult. Many people who have been victims of dating violence have been able to change their lives after they began talking with others.