Tips and Resources for Parents and Caregivers
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and Paradigm Treatment is shining a light on this cause in the hopes of building awareness, providing resources and support, eliminating shame and associated stigma.
Teen dating violence can manifest physically, emotionally, or sexually, and can include stalking. It can take place either in person or electronically, which means that texting, social media, games and apps are all potential areas in which violence can occur. According to the CDC, 8 percent of high school students reported physical violence and 7 percent reported that they experienced sexual violence from a dating partner in the 12 months before the survey.
What’s more, victims of teen dating violence are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, and may be more prone to drug and alcohol abuse. Clearly this is a serious problem affecting thousands of our nation’s youth, but this isn’t just about adolescents – teen dating violence has a profound impact on parents, teachers, friends and communities.
See below for a list of resources to help friends, loved ones and individuals dealing with this issue.
Contact the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474, by “loveis” to 77054, or by visiting their website.
Talk to Your Teens
Keeping the lines of communication open and healthy can provide adolescents with effective support and a safe space in which to process what is happening for them. As a preventative measure, consider discussing warning signs of abuse with your teens, as well as how violence is portrayed in media and popular culture. Awareness is a strong preventative approach.
Lead by Example
Modeling healthy relationships can be a profound learning tool for youth. Seeing caregivers engaging in healthy, loving, safe and supportive relationships can potentially decrease the likelihood of engaging in abusive relationships with peers.
Build Community Alliances
If you have concerns that your teen is being abused or experiencing violence in their relationships, talk to their teachers, guidance counselors, coaches and extended family to assist you with assessment, resourcing and support. If for no other reason, parents of teens experiencing violence need their own forms support and encouragement.
Rely on Experts
Knowledge can be empowering. Consider looking into the following online toolkits for information, exercises and useful tips:
- Break the Cycle
- That’s Not Cool
- Futures Without Violence
- Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence
- Healthy Relationships Protect Teens: A Parent’s Handbook