Teen Dating Violence:

Teen Dating Violence:
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Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager who was young and in love? What it was like to want to see them all the time in school and whenever they had time or wanting to talk to them nonstop? Well, now as a teen with the expansive world wide web, they have hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to talking to people. There is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Kik, video calling apps, dating apps, etc. Being a teen in a romantic relationship can be a lot for them.

According to the National Institute of Justice Journal, research journals stated that in a 2007 survey, 65% of girls and 66% of boys who were in a romantic relationship experienced physical aggression along with being mutually aggressive. Teen dating violence is still an evolving phenomenon in our country and information about it is continuing to come to light. However, with information that is out about this topic, we want parents and guardians to be informed as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to make sure you are communicating with your teen and also watching the signs.

Teen dating violence can occur in different facets such as verbal aggression, stalking, psychological aggression, physical violence and sexual violence. It is good to know that some behaviors from children such as name-calling and teasing could be a “normal” part of their relationship, but it could develop into more serious forms of aggression and violence. Most teens feel scared to tell friends and family what is going on in their relationship. The CDC states that one in twelve teens experience physical and sexual dating violence. As a parent, that statistic is scary. How many children are usually in a classroom in high school, 30? So out of that room, at least two may be experiencing teen violence based on those statistics.

Let’s talk about short-term and long-term negative effects of being in an unhealthy relationship in high school. Teens are always developing and they are dealing with their hormones which impact their mental state as well as physical changes. 

Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like:

  • Using alcohol and substances
  • Experiencing anxiety and/or depression symptoms
  • Lying or covering up information
  • Bullying or hitting others
  • Contemplating suicide

When a young person experiences any of these consequences of dating violence, it only lays the foundation for what they expect in future relationships. Those who are involved in intimate partner violence at a young age are at a higher risk to be in college or as a young adult.

Tips on how to help your teen prevent dating violence:

  • Teach boundaries and healthy relationship skills
  • Empower your teens by engaging with positive influential peers and adults
  • Create protective environments
  • Strengthen your family support system

However, if your teen comes to you with small statements that might warrant teen dating violence along or has expressed it happening to them. First, let them know they are safe with you, and second, validate them and their feelings. If they want to make a police report regarding what is happening, support them. Reach out to a professional in this field to discuss victim services and resources that could help them overcome their struggles.

By: Alexia Eller, LMSW

Are you interested in learning more about teen dating violence or allowing your teen to see a professional discuss dating violence and if they might be experiencing it? Reach out to our Arlington, TX-based counseling office, our team of therapists (including Alexia Eller, author of this article) is equipped to help both in person and with telehealth options. We would love to connect with you!

 

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