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Teenage Dating & Violence March 11, 2011

Posted by Syd in Teenage Relationships.
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You know, even under the best of circumstances, the teenager years are generally pretty crappy.  You contend with puberty, the weird social hierarchy that is high school, studying for exams and SATs, and navigating those first relationships. 

 Every now and then you do hear truly heartwarming stories from people talking about their high school sweethearts, or the camp boyfriend/girlfriends, and the memories are good.

The other side of the story is very depressing.  The following stats are pulled from livestrong.com, as well as the supporting evidence.  Credit and thanks go to them for the information, and blame me for any grammatical errors in paraphrasing.

  • about 1 in 3 high school students have been, or will be involved in an abusive relationship.   
  • 40% of teenager girls age 14-17 say they know someone their age who has been hit by a boyfriend

Why is this happening?  Well, a teens lack of experience with relationships is one factor.  There can also be pressure from peers to be in a relationship, even if it is not an ideal relationship.  And certainly, home life is a factor.  If abuse at home has been ongoing for a long time, it can almost normalize the behavior. 

Self-esteem also plays an important role.    Like stated earlier – high school does a number on you even if your relationships are healthy.    For the victims, maybe they feel they can fix their abusers by staying.  Or they feel they have no one to tell.  Or their friends are going through the same thing.  So many different variables come into play and almost create the perfect storm of factors that will allow a teen to enter, and remain, in an abusive relationship. 

Parents, if you are looking for signs that your child may be in an abusive relationships, keep and eye out for the following:  sudden emotional outbursts, drug/alcohol use when it didn’t exist before, withdrawing from family and friends, decreased attendance at school (as well as any drop in grades), as well as the actual physical signs of injury. 

The APA provided a teen friendly document to help them spot signs that they are in an abusive relationship.

Please print out and distribute wherever you think it would be helpful.

Also, just a few of the National Domestic Hotlines available.  Over the next few days, we will be adding more local organizations in the US, as well as more international coverage. 

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