Steps to prevent dating violence

04-Sep-2016 02:40

During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others, and it is therefore an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of teen dating violence that can last into adulthood.

Learn more about characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Use teachable moments in real life and in TV and movies to discuss how to be assertive and how to handle difficult relationships.

Also, don't be the parent who freaks out at the first mention of sex, underage drinking, or a fight erupting at a party.

Encourage them to call a "Facebook truce" with their friends and to keep passwords secret.

Prompt them to change passwords regularly, and willingly play the heavy later ("My parents made me change my password"). Teens often feel invincible and eager to explore the adult world.

Most of the handful of programs that have been empirically investigated are school-based and use a group format.

Program length varies from less than a day to more than 20 sessions.

Experts believe that violence between dating teens is severely underreported.Teen dating violence can be prevented, especially when there is a focus on reducing risk factors as well as fostering protective factors, and when teens are empowered through family, friends, and others (including role models such as teachers, coaches, mentors, and youth group leaders) to lead healthy lives and establish healthy relationships.It is important to create spaces, such as school communities, where the behavioral norms are not tolerant of abuse in dating relationships.Culturally competent staff are comfortable talking about dating violence and healthy relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, as well as heterosexual youth.

A recent study found that LGBTQ youth experienced and perpetrated dating violence more often than heterosexual youth, and were twice as likely to seek help.2. Another study, of 223 at-risk Virginia teens, found that young people’s likelihood of experiencing violence and risky sexual behavior increased with their partners’ age.Dating relationships reinforce unhealthy gender stereotypes unless they are based on clear communication, trust, and nonviolent ways of settling conflict.