“Equal Choices” is a powerful slogan

Earlier today, I was speaking at a Wellness Conference for educators and counselors.  The audience asked me questions about healthy dating, dating violence, and relationships pertaining to teenage students.  If you work with teenagers today, you know many of them shut down the moment you say, "Dating Violence" because they feel the term is overused and they don’t think it applies to them. 

How DO you connect with the very serious issue of dating violence?  Two words . . . "Equal Choices."  Ask students if they have "Equal Choices" in their relationships and then go through all the different kinds of choices each student makes in a relationship.  You can even score the importance of the choices.  For instance, who decides the following?

  1. Movie to go see.
  2. Where to go for dinner
  3. Who is paying
  4. Who drives when we go out
  5. How much is too much drinking
  6. Who we hang out with
  7. Having friends of the same gender we are attracted to.
  8. How far we go sexually with each other (specifically at each stage)

Does the same person tend to dominate?  Does one person take control on issues that are more serious and/or long-lasting?  Do you both have "equal choices" in all of these areas?  If so, how do you establish the equal choices and how do you always honor them?  If not, why not?  What changes would need to take place for you to have "equal choices"?  Certainly, you DESERVE to always have an equal choice in a relationship concerning YOUR life.

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