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Parenting A Troubled Teen: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

While February has Valentine’s Day, a holiday celebrating love, it is also the month designated for teen dating violence awareness month. Abusive teen relationships can be a factor behind your troubled teen’s struggles. However, we understand that it can be tricky to know how to identify and talk about teen dating violence with your teenager, so we developed a short guide to help you through.

Signs Of Teen Dating Violence In Your Troubled Teen

If your troubled teen has become involved in a relationship which has turned abusive, there will be clear signs which you can observe in your teenager. Some of these signs are:

  1. Withdrawn – Abusive relationships tend to isolate the victim from their support system. You should be concerned if your teen stops hanging out with their other friends, going to activities they used to enjoy, and spending as little time as possible with family members.

  2. Poor performance – When your troubled teen’s grade begin to slide at school, this can be a sign of teen dating violence. This can also apply to other activities your teen is involved in, such as sports and extracurriculars.

  3. Appearance altered – Many abusive partners are demanding when it comes to the appearance of their abused partner. If you realize your teen has drastically changed their dress and appearance or is hiding outfit changes from you, this can be a sign your teen is in an abusive relationship.

  4. Emotional changes – Mood swings, ranging from manic happiness to depression and anxiety are common in abusive teen relationships.

Preventing Your Teen From Entering An Abusive Relationship

While it can be tempting to prevent your teen from entering an abusive relationship by forbidding them to date, this is not the answer. Many teens will sneak around and date regardless of your rules, and when they become entangled in an abusive relationship, they may be too frightened by the rule-breaking to tell you. Instead, there are several ways you can help your teen avoid entering an abusive relationship as they learn to date.

  1. Discuss abusive relationships – If your teen is armed with the information which will help them identify abusive behavior in relationships, then they will be better prepared should they encounter an abusive partner.

  2. Set firm guidelines – When you allow your teen to date, give them clear dating rules they need to follow such as curfews, date locations, check-ins, and other ways you can ensure your teen will be safe while on their date.

  3. Encourage group dates – Group dating is an excellent way to encourage your teen to date in a safe and social setting. As violent teen dating relationships often occur when the couple is alone, this is one way to prevent your teen from being isolated.

  4. Meet all dates – Most teens aren’t the best judges of characters, especially as they are caught up in a dizzying rush of hormones. Do your best to meet anyone your teen goes out on a date with so you can do your own assessment.

Helping Your Troubled Teen After A Negative Relationship  

Despite your best efforts, your teen may enter into an abusive relationship. It can be hard for a troubled teenager to recover from a violent relationship as they lack the life experience to help them deal with the aftermath.

Allowing them time away at a residential treatment center can help your teen find their center again. Between the therapy and academic recovery help, your teen can heal and overcome their abusive relationship ordeal.   

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