Teen dating abuse is at epidemic proportions ranging from verbal abuse right up to even death. This tragic reality among our teens has disrupted many households as moms and dads strive to protect their own teens. I have witnessed the impact from both afar and within my own home.
Whether we want to admit it or not, teen abuse is striking at large in our communities and it is occurring as young as 11 to 14 years old. One startling number is that nearly half of teen girls who have been in a relationship report either being verbally, physically or even sexually abused. Even more startling for me, you may not even know your daughter is in such a relationship. For a parent that’s rather scary to think about.
Abuse in teen relationships is not different than what you see in adults. The abuser romances the other to the point that they will quickly forgive any violence, physical or other that may occur. But until you actually witness this you rarely have the ability to fully grasp how true and dangerous this is.
A boy who knew exactly what to say and how to say it flattered my daughter. His constant daunting made her feel special and important. His words made her feel more beautiful than ever. So much so that she was shockingly willing to compromise how she was treated to continue feeling that way. My efforts to intervene were met with harsh retaliation from both.
Parents Don’t Have to Fight This Alone
Organizations like MADE, Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse are a group of parents who know that all to well. Their aim is to properly educate middle and high school students on teen dating abuse with a focus on healthy teen relationships. Their goal is to prevent teen dating abuse before it starts.
When I first started noticing a change in my daughter it was not soon enough. She was so drawn by his attention that my warnings were viewed as accusations. We argued daily. Even after she began to admit the abusive behavior existed she still desired contact. The lesson, abused teenage girls are no different than abused women. They long for the over indulgence they receive from those same men in their lives no matter the consequences.
If you find yourself faced with a teen that is involved in dating abuse seek support. You are possibly the only fighting chance your teen has of finding his or her way back to healthy relationships. Seek out organizations like MADE and make a fighting stance to protect your child.