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Peers Help Teens Understand Relationships – T.E.A.R. July 28, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Teenage Relationships, Uncategorized, Women Who Rock.
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In just four weeks, I’ll be back to packing school lunches and sitting through rush hour with teenagers talking in the back seat as if I can’t hear them.  It’s one of the best ways to learn about who has a crush on the soccer player, which teachers are the least desirable to have for science, and who the biggest bullies are.  It’s a time I look forward to being the invisible entity, the parent of a teen who doesn’t share everything with mom.  I’ve yet to meet a teen who does.

With that in mind, and knowing that my daughter’s best friend is already dating, it’s time for me to start thinking about how to talk about healthy dating relationships.  We’ve already shared ideas about self-respect, self-esteem and friendships, but there’s always that fear in the back of my mind that some of those lessons will be lost during one of the most difficult and emotional phases of my child’s life.

So where do I start?  Besides being thankful for the incredible role models already in her life, I am going to get the app for teen dating discussed earlier, td411, as it has so many useful links and speaks to healthy relationships and unhealthy ones.  Talking through the different sections with my teen will be a great introduction, and give me a sense of what her thoughts and concerns are.  I hope to prevent any kind of situation that would lead to an unhealthy relationship for my daughter, but it’s best to be prepared for every possible situation.  From the advice I’ve learned from our own blog, telling your teen to stop dating the offender won’t support your child in exiting a troubled relationship.

In addition to the great advice from this website and the sources we’ve listed, I’m really impressed by a group of teens, now called T.E.A.R. (teens experiencing abusive relationships) that offer peer-to-peer presentations.  In 2003, these four teens began an Awareness Day in their school to focus on abusive dating relationships, and raised $200.00 to donate to children who were formerly in domestic abuse situations.  They received 40 hours of crisis counseling education, and today they give presentations and offer a curriculum to purchase.  Each of these young women have been in an abusive relationship in the past, so when they are talking to their peers they are speaking passionately from experience.  They strongly feel that teen dating and the abuses that can occur aren’t taken seriously in society.  Assisted by an organization called Women AWARE, they are receiving grants and gaining more exposure for their cause.  I’ll be taking a closer look at their curriculum in the months ahead, and hopefully it will be a great addition to my parenting toolbox.  Maybe it’s something the school district in our area will be interested in presenting.

To learn more about T.E.A.R, schedule a presentation or purchase a curriculum, visit their website.

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