What Can You Do About Teen Dating Abuse?
Teen dating abuse almost always involves boys abusing girls. Is your daughter a teen being abused by the boy she is dating? One recent study showed that 1 out of 4 girls will be abused while dating as a teen. Over 90% of those will do nothing. They will not ask for help and many of them will not leave the guy they are dating and a lot of the abuse can often be mental rather than physical.
Is there anything you can do as a parent or a friend? Let's look at the signs and how you can help if you think a teenage girl in an abusive relationship.
First of all look for any changes in her. Is her boyfriend the controlling type? Is he constantly emailing her, or text messaging her, or calling her cell? Does he get mad or yell at her if she doesn't immediately reply? If she is edgy or feeling like she has no room to breathe you have to really question the type of boyfriend he is to her. This is classed as a form of mental abuse.
Have you noticed her moods swing form happy to sad? When girls first date they are often happy but as he becomes abusive she may become depressed or even cry a lot because she does not understand what she is doing wrong. She is not doing anything wrong and you have to step in and be supportive of this fact.
How does she spend her time? If she no longer gets together with family or friends she may be being forced into a relationship that isolates her and how she spends her time. If she would like to go out with her friends, but does not feel she can out of fear for how he will react then she is in an abusive relationship and does not even realize it.
Does she stick up for everything he does even when it is not right? She may think she loves him and not realize what he says and does is actually hurting her rather than helping her. If he is always throwing jealousy tantrums for example and she explains that he is just showing how much he loves her she is being abused without understanding it.
It is important that you do not gang up on him as parents. Even close friends can be resented if she feels you are always out to get him in some way. As long as you listen and make yourself available to talk to you can help her see what is really going on. Teen dating abuse is not fun for her or you, but being supportive without being judgemental can help her in the long run.
If you are a parent, friend or even a teen that is experiencing abuse you can speak to someone 24/7 at
Girls and Boys Town
. They have trained counsellors who can respond to your questions 365 days of the year and deal with all sorts of teen problems including teen dating abuse, depression, parenting troubles, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.
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