Safe dating for teens
Don't quiz your teen about details, except to determine their medical needs and current safety.Call a sexual assault center for help and advice - most of these agencies have a 24-hour crisis line. Younger adolescents are also at risk: a recent study found significant levels of abusive behavior in “tween” (ages 11to14) dating relationships, and teens report that abusive behavior increases dramatically in the later teen years. It is the result of social attitudes and practices that normalize unhealthy behaviors in interpersonal relationships.Adolescents are often pressured to conform to masculine or feminine gender roles that reinforce unequal power and control between dating partners."Don't say harsh things about your teen's dating partner, even if they are frighteningly awful.You will virtually guarantee that your teen will leap to the partner's defense, playing out a modern scenario.Download the brief, written by PHI's California Adolescent Health Collaborative.
Be mindful of your own and your family's language and attitudes.Peers, family, adults, media, and personal experiences can directly or indirectly condone the use of abuse.Unfortunately, many teen dating behaviors, such as extreme jealousy or possessiveness, are considered normal.Adolescence is a critical time in developing lifelong behaviors, attitudes, and expectations about intimate relationships.Teens who are in abusive relationships have a higher likelihood of being in abusive relationships as adults.Be sure teens know that alcohol is the number one "date rape drug," and that a partner who encourages you to drink or get high is not trustworthy.Tell your teens that they can call you for a ride home, no questions asked, if they find themselves in an unsafe situation, no matter what the circumstances. Many teens conceal sexual victimization because they are afraid of getting in trouble for drinking or being someplace they are not allowed to go. They will often alert you to a dangerous situation even if your teen is reluctant to tell you.Invite your teen's dating partner to your home. Do the "old fashioned thing" of communicating limits and curfews to both your teen and their partner, even if it embarrasses your teen. A thirteen-year-old dating an eighteen-year-old is not in a safe situation.Teen dating violence is a major adolescent health concern.Youth ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence of any age group—a rate nearly triple the national average.