Parents and dating violence
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline is available to help parents and teens 24/7 via phone, text, or online chat.
They also offer great resources for teens about such relevant topics as how to talk about sex in a healthy relationship, and how to show respect through texting.
And it gets worse: One study found that half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide.
We all know that high school relationships are often fraught with drama and dysfunction, so it can be tough for parents to judge the line between normal teenage behavior and abuse.
Their grades drop, they become isolated from friends and family, and they often turn to drugs, alcohol, or other dangerous coping tools.
They are at greater risk for depression, eating disorders, and risky sexual behavior—an abused teen girl is six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get an STD.
An abusive relationship is one where there is a pattern of power and control in which one person tries to gain power by taking someone else’s power away.
“Parents do get scared and worried in a way that peers a lot of times don’t,” said Ehrhardt.
“When they talk to their peers, they may get someone who’s more understanding or just won’t make as big as a deal out of it.” Still, most of the parents I interviewed said they think their teens would tell them if they were in an abusive relationship.
“If my daughter was dating now, I think she would be comfortable telling me if she experienced some type of violence,” said Brown.
National data indicates teens might not want to bring it up with a parent.