Teen Dating Violence (FocusAS.com)

Teen dating violence often starts as emotional or verbal abuse and can quickly escalate into physical abuse or sexual violence.

About one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship.  Forty percent of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. (US Department of Justice, 2004 statistics)


Parents: If Your Teen is Involved in an Abusive Relationship

You must give your child the help, support, and protection she or he needs, such as:

  • Ask questions and listen with an open mind and heart
  • Communicate openly with your teen
  • Respect your teen's feelings
  • Be calm and take positive action
  • Set limits where appropriate
  • Avoid power struggles with your teen
  • Help set up a safety plan if your teen is trying to end the relationship
  • Deal with your anger and frustration in calm, reasoned, and constructive ways
  • Resolve conflicts with your teen early
  • Be a role model for your teen on issues such as sobriety, your personal relationship with your spouse and others

If Your Teen is the Abuser

It is vital that you address this issue in a way that will break the cycle of violence.  There are things you can do to help your teen and others recognize the abuse, understand the dynamics behind it, and get help to stop the behavior before it becomes a life-long pattern, such as:

  • Recognize controlling and abusive behavior
  • Acknowledge your awareness of controlling and abusive behavior
  • Confront your teen's controlling and abusive behavior
  • Communicate your concerns to the parents of your teen's partner
  • Consult with community programs and mental health professionals for ideas
  • Accept help and support for your efforts from friends, family, and others in the school, church, and community
  • Seek help for your teen through community and mental health programs
  • Support your teen's efforts to stop the pattern of abuse

National Teen Dating Violence Helpline


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