Whether you are the one in an unhealthy relationship or an outside third party, recognizing the signs of teen dating violence is crucial to prevent permanent damage. These damages can be both mental and physical, they can start as small signs, but grow into bigger problems if left unresolved.
It is a difficult and sensitive topic to discuss, which is why knowing what to look for can make a difference sooner rather than later. Here are some warning signs of an unhealthy relationship.
For teens: signs of when the relationship is becoming unhealthy
• They check your cell phone and social media without asking
• They become possessive over what is considered normal activities
• They get jealous, insecure or angry without much incentive
• They are constantly telling you want to do or want their permission before you do things
• Physically or mentally hurting you
When a relationship becomes violent, the warning signs are clear if you know what to look for. A partner can hurt you more than just physically. Mental abuse often comes alongside physical abuse, and can even become the more damaging problem.
Teens are still growing into who they want to be and deciding how they want to shape their future. This is why dating violence among adolescence can be more damaging than adult relationships. Teens may not want to tell their parents because of the humiliation they will experience from admitting it.
Parents can play a key role in prevention by demonstrating a positive role model at home. They are urged to talk to their children about healthy relationships when they begin to reach adolescence. Generally, having the talk in middle school can give them the information they need to know before they start dating.
For parents: watch for these warning signs from your teen
• Drug use
• Unexplained bruises or marks
• Declining grades
• Lack of self-care/esteem
• Secretive about personal things
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, preteens who are already exposed to intimate violence at home are more likely to become involved in an abusive relationship without realizing it. This can lead to traumatized relationships, mental health issues and abusive acts.
Showing a positive role model at home can help children understand sooner what a healthy relationship is. They will be less likely to accept dating violence and more likely to have positive attitudes towards themselves and other relationships.
If you are a parent who suspects your teen is in an unhealthy relationship, there are multiple ways to get help for them. Teens in this situation are often afraid to seek help for themselves. There are hotlines available, and even websites that offer solutions. Even if it is just asking them if they need help, it can go a long way.
Written by: Alex Dunn