Teen dating violence is an all too real reality for those that live it. Statistics show that 1 in 3 teens have been in an abusive relationship. That is a high percentage and somehow the numbers need to come down.
Here are some of the signs of an abuse relationship:
- physical signs such as bruising
- missing school, dropping out
- inability to make decisions
- personality change, mood changes
- drug and/or alcohol use
- has emotional outbursts
- failing grades/problems at school
Signs that the the person you are dating may become abusive:
- irrational jealousy
- relationship moves too quickly
- anger/fits of rage
- tries to keep you from your friends/family
- does not take accountability – blames others for feelings, thoughts and behaviors
- gets forceful in arguments
- displays cruelty to children or animals
- is verbally abusive
- makes threats
- drug or alcohol use
What can teens do to keep from falling into an abusive relationship or situation:
- It is a good idea to date in pairs or at least double date. Try to not pair off with anyone.
- Find out what the plans are for the date as specifically as possible. Let your parents and friends know these plans so that if you aren’t at the right place at the right time they will know how to find you or when to become alarmed.
- Stay sober. You decrease your ability to react when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is always a good idea to just stay sober so you have your clarity.
- Don’t leave places with someone you don’t know well. And if you have to leave make sure someone knows where you are going and who you are with.
- Be assertive. If something makes you uncomfortable express it.
- Use your instincts. If something feels “off” or not just right listen to the feeling and get away or out of the situation as fast as possible. It is not important to save the feelings of anyone. You have to look out for you.
Parents and teachers can help teens stay out of these situations. If you have a teen with good self esteem and that you can talk to you are probably in a better spot to help them. Keep open lines of communication and if necessary use a parent contract to clarify your specific rules about dating.