Is it Really Love?
Helping Your Teen Think it Through
Dating can be complicated at any age, but it’s important for your teen to understand that abusive relationships are never okay. Share with your teen that dating abuse isn’t something that just happens in the movies and on TV - it’s more common than they probably think. In fact, one out of every three teens ends up in a relationship that is physically, emotionally, sexually, or verbally abusive.
Explain that abuse is about control and power.
While healthy relationships are about love and support, abusive relationships are about control and power. Here are some questions that you could ask your teen to help them understand if a relationship is abusive:
- Does your boyfriend/girlfriend pressure you to have sex or do other things you are not ready to do?
- Does your boyfriend/girlfriend try to get you to drink alcohol or use drugs when you really don’t want to?
- Does your boyfriend/girlfriend try to control who your friends are and how you spend all of your time?
- Does your boyfriend/girlfriend make all the decisions and not listen to your thoughts or opinions?
- Does your boyfriend/girlfriend ever hurt you or make you feel afraid?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then your teen’s relationship is not healthy. If your teen is in an abusive relationship, it’s important to keep all lines of communication open and let your teen know that you are there for them. Here are some resources you can share with your teen to help them recognize the signs of abuse:
- T.E.A.R. (Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships
- Love is Respect: Get Help
- Abusive Relationships
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Teen Relationships
Talk about the differences between love and abuse.
Partners in a healthy relationship:
An abusive partner may: