When Young Love Hurts
Domestic violence isn’t just an adult problem. Teens can experience it too, and while it may be easy to chalk up certain behaviors to the moodiness of teenagerhood, the following common danger signals may indicate physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional abuse, says Julye
Myner, Ph.D., executive director of Center for Hope and Safety.
A PARTNER WHO:
Checks phone, email, or social media accounts without permission.
Frequently puts down or name-calls.
Pressures someone to have sex or engage in sexual activity against their wishes or will.
Exhibits extreme jealousy or insecurity.
Has an explosive temper, outbursts, or mood swings.
Commits any form of physical harm.
Shows controlling behavior, including isolating someone from friends and family.
HOW TO HELP
If you notice any of these signs in your child’s relationship, have an open conversation and let them know you’re there to help.
For teens caught in an abusive relationship, it can be hard to ask for help—if they don’t feel comfortable opening up to you, pass along this information: They can call 866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522 to speak with a trained counselor 24/7.
BE A SUPPORT
Removing the stigma around domestic violence can go a long way toward helping teens
(or anyone) get out of and move on from an unhealthy situation. “Remind them that they’re not alone—one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a survivor of some sort of abuse from a dating partner. And emphasize that everyone deserves to be in a relationship free from violence, including them,” says Myner.