- What are some early warning signs that my teenager might be in an abusive relationship?
- Why do teen relationships become abusive and why doesn't my teen listen to me when I suggest that the relationship is not good and needs to end?
- I believe my teen may be in an abusive relationship. What can I do?
- I believe my teen may be the abusive partner in a an abusive relationship. What can I do to help my teen break this pattern of behavior?
1. Question: What are some early warning signs that my teenager might be in an abusive relationship?
Answer: It is sometimes difficult to recognize signs of potential abuse early in a relationship. Many early warning signs do not give cause for alarm until later in a relationship when things start to go downhill. However there are certain early indications that a relationship may be or become abusive. Here is a list of things that should raise red flags.
- Unexplained injuries
- Your teen fears their partner
- Partner checks up on your teen
- Verbal abuse by the partner, such as name-calling and demeaning comments
- Your teen gives up things that are important such as school, friends, time with family, activities, and other interests
- Your teen apologizes for their partner's behavior
- Partner abuses other people, animals, or things
- Change in appearance or behavior of your teen or their partner
- Your teen and their partner spend most of their time together
2. Question: Why do teen relationships become abusive and why doesn't my teen listen to me when I suggest that the relationship is not good and needs to end?
Answer: Abuse in teen relationships is about control, just like in adult relationships. There are many things that underlie the abuse and many reasons why it is not easy to end the relationship. Here are some of the dynamics underlying an abusive relationship.
| || |
Power and control
| Bonds with abuser|
Abuse during childhood
| Hope that things will get better|
| Romantic ideal that love conquers all|
| Fear that partner will not let go|
Peer pressure and gender roles
| Lack of resources|
| Low self confidence|
| Feels trapped|
Low self confidence
| Does not understand the consequences|
3. Question: I believe my teen may be in an abusive relationship. What can I do?
Answer: There are a number of ways to approach and assist your teen if you think your teen is involved in an abusive relationship. You know your teen and should be able to decide what approach will be best. Here are some ideas.
Ask questions and listen with an open mind
Set limits where appropriate
Respect your teen's choices
Keep channels of communication open
Be calm and take positive action
Avoid power struggles with your teen
Help set up a safety plan if your teen is trying to end the relationship
Deal with your anger in calm, reasoned and constructive ways
Resolve conflicts with your teen early
Manage your frustration so it does not affect your teen
4. Question: I believe my teen may be the abusive partner in a an abusive relationship. What can I do to help my teen break this pattern of behavior?
Answer: Once you recognize that your teen might be the abusive partner in a relationship, it is vital that you address this issue in a way that will break the cycle of violence. There are things you can do to help your teen and others recognize the abuse, understand the dynamics behind it and get help to stop the behavior before it becomes a life-long pattern. Here are some ideas.
Recognize controlling and abusive behavior
Acknowledge your awareness of controlling and abusive behavior
Confront your teen's controlling and abusive behavior
Communicate your concerns to the parents of your teen's partner
Consult with community programs and mental health professionals for ideas
Accept help and support for your efforts from friends, family and others in the community
Seek help for your teen through community and mental health programs
Support your teen's efforts to stop the pattern of abuse
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