Teen Dating Violence

teen dating violenceAs adolescents grow, it is completely normal for them to become interested in romantic relationships, and it is a developmental process.[1] As walking and riding a bicycle takes practice, so does dating.1 When children are young, they often play together in same-sex groups, and as they age, their groups become more coed.1 (Less has been studied about LGBT+ processes.1) They experiment with romance by having different “crushes.”1 There is the “incidental” touching by passing books and borrowing pencils, as well as horseplay, which is often normal during this time.1 It is through the use of horseplay humor and teasing that create opportunities for physical contact with the person an adolescent “likes.”1 Although it isn’t the youth’s finest moments, it is often not a problematic behavior.1

Therefore, for parents, teachers, and other adults, it can be difficult to judge what is normal and what is worrisome behavior.1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen dating violence affects more than two million adolescents yearly.1 However, there are many differences between normative joking and more worrisome behavior.1

Extreme jealousy is the most worrisome factor for teen relationships.1 If a romantic interest is monitoring your teen over social media or through excessive phone calls and text messages, something is wrong.1 Many will even ask for a picture of their partner to assure themselves that their partner is where they said they would be.1 If your teen seems upset or obligated to reassure their partner, it is time to step in and end it.1

An adolescent who takes part in underage drinking or drug use is a risk factor for victimization.1 Experimentation with the wrong people can be extremely dangerous.1 Substances decrease the chances of a teen noticing signs of danger.1 However, this is how teens feel they are supposed to act to be considered attractive.1 Talking with them about the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol is key.1

Hitting, slapping, grabbing, shaking, unwanted touching, pressure to have sex, bullying, intimidation, use of demeaning language, threats, and humiliation are all signs of teen dating violence.1 As teens develop emotionally, they are influenced by their relationship experiences.1 Healthy relationships have a positive effect on a teen’s development, and unhealthy relationships can cause negative consequences for a developing teen.1 Those who are victims of dating violence do poorly in school and are at risk of binge drinking and suicide attempts.1

Adolescence is also a time when teens push for more independence from their parents.1 However, parents are allowed to push back. In fact, monitoring is crucial throughout the teenage years.1 Teens need support and protection against becoming a victim of dating violence.1

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