Teen dating violence is a difficult and touchy subject. But approaching the issue, or not, can mean the difference between life and death. Some studies show as many as 1 in 3 teens are affected.
Both young men and women are capable of acting out in abusive ways, and parents need to be aware of any signs of trouble.
Teen angst can be a low level annoyance or escalate to dangerous uncontrollable anger. I was a teen once and can attest to both ends of the spectrum. Ultimately teen domestic violence is about one person controlling another person when the controller has no control over themselves.
Abusers speak out of both sides are their mouths. They brilliantly abuse their partner while demonstrating an outwardly clean cut genial appearance.
Parents must observe their child as either a potential abuser or the abused. They must realize their kid is capable of being a perp or a victim. To ignore the signs of abuse is to enable it.
Look for red flags. Parents know if their teens have dominant or submissive personalities. Any exaggeration of the latter or obvious shift in demeanor is a red flag.
Signals of a controlling relationship range from the obvious signals exhibited by a person’s overbearing body language to the not so obvious manipulative text messages. Look for signs of fear in your child such as behaving oddly (which can mean a thousand things) or verbal or physical abuse. If your child begins to change their daily routine to accommodate their partner that may mean they are being manipulated. If they exhibit signs or speak of being responsible for the feelings of their partner that’s a big red flag.
Nobody is ultimately responsible for another’s feelings, but parents are ultimately responsible for observing their teens and educating them on what’s appropriate and inappropriate then intervening when behaviors tip in a destructive direction.
For more information go to CDC.gov.