Would you be surprised to learn that more than a third of teens say they have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused while dating? This was the finding of a new survey presented this past July at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in Hawaii. The largest group who reported some type of abuse was teens between the ages of 13 and 16! Teens, ages 17-19, were a close second. While this data has yet to be scrutinized by review, it speaks to a serious problem facing many young people.
And this may not surprise you, those teen abusers were often middle school bullies!
One thought as to why this link between bullying and dating violence exists is because both behaviors involve establishing dominance. Perhaps bullies carry into their dating relationships this propensity to dominate through the use of violence and abusive behavior. If so, then bullying and dating violence are part of an escalating pattern that needs to be addressed early on in a teen’s development.
The website loveisrespect.org publishes these warning signs to help teens determine if their dating relationships are abusive, problematic or healthy. Share these with your teens so they can be more aware of signs that point to trouble:
–Does the person check your email or cell phone without your permission?
–Does the person constantly put you down?
–Is he/she extremely jealous or insecure?
–Does he/she have an explosive temper?
–Does he/she isolate you from friends and family?
–Does he/she make false accusations?
–Does he/she physically hurt you in any way?
–Does he/she tell you what to do?
–Does he/she repeatedly pressure you to have sex?
If you see these signs in your dating relationship, these are warning signs of possible abuse and violence.