Teens today are sometimes willing to pretend that abuse from a boyfriend or girlfriend is okay or normal, so that they are accepted and loved. Teens can mistake dating abuse as something much less serious than what it really is. Furthermore, parents can be very unaware that abuse with their teen is even taking place or that there is a serious problem.
To help prevent teenage dating abuse, parents have to be persistent with supervising their teens, as much as they protect them when they are younger. Fortunately, there are signs to watch for. If you notice any of these, you should confront your teen about them ASAP.
1. Physical Abuse
It’s not only boys that are abusive to girls. Teen girls can also be abusive. When a boy or girl engages in hitting, punching, or slapping a partner, it is ALWAYS abuse. Red flags on your teen are bruises, scratches, or a black eye. In some cases though, no signs of physical abuse will be seen. Possessive behaviors can also be abusive, such as an arm being squeezed quietly, but so hard that a hand print is left on the arm.
2. Controlling Partners
A girlfriend or boyfriend who has to know your whereabouts 24 hours a day can potentially be abusive. This is known as controlling abuse. Text messages that degrade or belittle a partner are also signs you should look out for. Also be on the lookout to see if your teen’s boyfriend or girlfriend encourages them to break rules. Whether they’re yours or the school’s, rules are meant to be adhered to. Peer pressure is a form of abuse too.
3. Verbal Abuse
When a partner calls the other one names, cuts them down or curses at them, this is also a form of abuse. If all of a sudden your teen feels insecure about themselves, it can be a sign that their boyfriend or girlfriend is not treating them right. Teens want to be loved, and if a partner is not making them feel this way, insecurity can very well set in and never leave. If your teen shows signs of insecurity, talk to them about what may be going on. Is it natural, or caused by their boyfriend/girlfriend?
Teens will hide abuse for many reasons. They may be embarrassed, feel they will lose their partner or even worry that they have let you down if you find out what is going on. If your teen shows any of these signs, talk to them and tell them that you can help them, no matter what.
Vicki Torres writes about self help and tips on how to spot abuse. She recommends doing a background check on anyone that will be around your child or teen.