When teen dating turns violent

Guest post by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

That super cool guy or girl asks your teen out. They’ve had a huge crush on them for months and are head over heels in “love.” But be sure to keep communication open with your teen so you can help make sure they don’t get into a teen dating violence situation.

The most important thing to tell them is that they have a choice. They can say no to anything in the relationship and shouldn’t feel bad about getting out of a situation that makes them uncomfortable.

Here are 10 tips they should keep in mind when dating. You have the right to:

  1. Be respected and treated as an equal.
  2. Say no to someone who asks me out.
  3. Suggest activities or refuse activities.
  4. Have your own feelings and ideas and share them without worrying about how my dating partner will react.
  5. Speak up when I think my dating partner’s actions or language are unfair or hurtful.
  6. Express my opinions and be heard by my partner.
  7. Refuse physical touch with anyone, at any time, for any reason.
  8. Have friends and space aside from my dating partner.
  9. Leave the relationship.
  10. Have my privacy rights respected, including the rights to private conversations, phone calls, text messages, social networking activities, emails, etc.

Warning signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship may look different for everyone. It is about when a dating partner chooses to break boundaries. Those boundaries can be emotional, physical, sexual or verbal.

Here are some behaviors that can be warnings that a relationship may be abusive:

  • Calls or texts excessively
  • Makes the other ask “have I done something wrong?”
  • Uses guilt to control or manipulate
  • Isolates from friends and/or family
  • Keeps the other person from doing things they enjoy
  • Monitors the other person using technology
  • Shows up unannounced
  • Embarrasses the other person in public on purpose
  • Tells the other what to do, what to wear how to act
  • Threatens to do self harm if the person leaves the relationship
  • Shows or hints at an explosive temper

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any age. If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 500-1119.


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