Parents need to take notice of signs for dating violence and abuse of teenagers

When it comes to teen violence, many families struggle to notice it, even with their own children. Some people write off inappropriate comments by thinking, "That just part of being a teenager" or "Kids will be kids."  Other adults are intimidated by their own ignorance. You may not know the current language teenagers are using and so you feel out of touch.  Instead of embarrassing yourself when intervening, you simply avoid the potential conflict.  You do nothing.

Plus, we think as teenagers, they would speak out if someone their own age was making them feel uncomfortable or was hurting them.  Reality is the direct opposite.  Approval and being "part of the crowd" puts extreme pressure on teenagers NOT to speak out, even when they know something is not right.  You don’t want to be the kid who ratted on someone.

What are the signs?  Here are some starting points for teenagers (and even pre-teens) to look out for:

  1. Extreme jealousy
  2. Controlling behavior
  3. Quick involvement
  4. Unpredictable mood swings
  5. Alcohol and drug use
  6. Explosive anger
  7. Isolates you from friends and family
  8. Uses force during an argument
  9. Shows hypersensitivity
  10. Believes in rigid sex roles
  11. Blames others for his problems or feelings
  12. Cruel to animals and children
  13. Verbally abusive
  14. Abused former partners
  15. Threatens violence

The above 15 points are from Michelle Woods and her team at MayDay Inc.  Michelle also states that as an educator and law enforcement, you should be on the lookout for these signs:

  1. Physical signs of injury
  2. Truancy, dropping out of school
  3. Failing grades
  4. Indecision
  5. Changes in mood or personality
  6. Use of drugs or alcohol
  7. Emotional outbursts
  8. Isolation

Bottom line, we need to teach our teens to choose better relationships and partners. Re-enforce the qualities of a loving and fair partner. As parents, we are responsible for teaching teens the warning signs.

Here is a recent article where these tips were provided by Michelle Woods and MayDay Inc:
Baker City Herald MayDay Helps Teens Avoid Violence

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