Warning Signs For Teen Dating Violence
Information from the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence to help spot signs of dating-related violence.
The following was provided by the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence:
In the recent presentation on dating violence given at Wakefield Memorial High School by Tom Santoro, the father of a teenager murdered by her ex-boyfriend, the speaker spelled out some of the warning signs for dating partners to look for. Young people are reluctant to talk to their parents about such sensitive issues and may not even know they are in an abusive relationship. He spelled out ways in which teens can question their relationships, in order to determine if they are possibly abusive. Likewise, the parents of teens can use the same checklist to determine the health of their teen’s relationship.
When a teenager has a new dating partner, parents can find out much about the partner by finding out a few basic facts. Are good qualities of character evident? Does he or she have other friends other than your teen, and does he or she encourage your child’s friendship with others? Do the partners communicate with each other in a way that each of them listens to the other and, at the same time, is allowed to give opinions and discuss emotions? Does the partner feel that there are times when it is acceptable to use physical force?
For parents of girls, does the partner feel that women should and can be as wise, strong, and independent as men?
If your teen is in an ongoing relationship, parents should observe if the partner shows signs of anger at small matters, perhaps even throwing things during a tantrum. Does the partner belittle your teen, or hold unnatural control over him or her by constantly checking up via phone and texting to know where he or she is at all times, and making accusations of infidelity whenever there is no immediate answer to a communication? Does he or she demonstrate jealousy toward your teen’s friends and ex-partners, or belittle him or her when they are either alone or with others? Does the partner drink and drug, become abusive, and then blame the abuse on the substance? Does he or she show affection only after such an incident and promise never to let it happen again?
In addition, there is the important question of whether the partner has been the victim of abuse. An abused child may become an abusive adult and needs help.
These are all warning flags. If you have an uneasy feeling about a teen’s partner, you may very well be correct and should find a way to act upon it.