Teen Corner – Parents

parentsKnow the Warning Signs for an Unhealthy Relationship (from www.giverespect.org)

Do you notice your daughter or son:

  • Spending less time with family and friends?
  • Communicating constantly with her/his boyfriend/girlfriend, including texts, emails and phone calls?
  • Giving up things that used to be important to her/him?
  • Becoming isolated from friends?
  • Being pressured by a girlfriend/boyfriend about what to do, where to go, or what to wear?
  • Worried about upsetting her/his boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • Apologizing or making excuses for her/his boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s behavior?
  • Exhibiting physical signs of abuse, such as bruises, scars, cuts, or other injuries that s/he can’t explain or the explanations do not make sense?

If you suspect abuse, talk to your daughter or son to gather a better idea of what kind of relationship they feel they are in and use it as an opportunity to define what a healthy relationship looks like.

If at any time you feel that you or your teen is in immediate danger, call 911.

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

SARC 24-hour Helpline: 410-836-8430

What Type of Relationship is Your Daughter/Son In?
Ask your teen, and have him/her ask herself/himself these questions:

Does your boyfriend or girlfriend…

  • Communicate openly with you when there are problems?
  • Give you space to spend time with your friends and family?
  • Are they supportive and respectful?

If your daughter or son answered YES to these questions, it is likely that s/he is in a healthy relationship. Encourage your teen to trust their instincts about the relationship to stay safe and comfortable.

If your daughter or son answered NO to these questions, ask your teen or have them consider:

Does your boyfriend or girlfriend…

  • Control where you go, what you wear, or what you do?
  • Try to stop you from seeing or talking to family or friends?
  • Call you derogatory names, put you down, or criticize you?
  • Threaten or scare you?
  • Hit, slap, push, or kick you?
  • Force you to do something sexual when you don’t want to?
  • Humiliate you when you are alone or in front of others?

If your daughter or son answered YES to any of these questions, their health and safety may be at risk. If you suspect abuse, there are people and resources available to help. Remind your daughter or son that s/he deserves a violence free relationship and that abuse is NEVER appropriate and NEVER their fault.

If you think your daughter or son may be controlling, abusive, or violent with their partner, tell them abuse and violence are NOT acceptable and that violence will not solve their problems. Let them know when you truly care for someone you don’t hurt them or try to control them. Abuse is a choice and there are resources and counselors that can help her/him understand the consequences, choose alternatives to violence, and stop the abuse.

If your teen isn’t ready to openly communicate with you about her/his relationship, let them know there are confidential resources and trained individuals available to answer questions and help them avoid unhealthy relationships. Pass on the information above, but let your teen know you are always available to talk.