Around one in 13 teens are abused on dates. Here, Psychology of Violence editor Sherry Hamby shares how parents can intervene.
Teen dating violence doesn't happen in a vacuum. According to new research by University of New Hampshire's Sherry Hamby, both aggressors and their victims have more than likely also experienced some form of domestic or sexual victimization.
- Crimes Against Children Research Center
- CDC's Dating Matters initiative
- Love Is Respect
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Start Strong Teens
This week on Professional Help, Hamby, who also serves as the editor of the journal Psychology of Violence, shares five ways parents can curb this interconnected pattern of abuse and help their teens forge healthy romantic relationships.
Be a good role model. Teach your teens how to behave when dating by being respectful, egalitarian, and loving in your own 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. You'll just teach them not to mention these issues to you.
Stay vigilant. Teen dating violence is overwhelmingly connected to other kinds of attacks, even if you live in a "good neighborhood." Many victims are primarily assaulted by peers and acquaintances, while others also experience family violence. Our data shows that even teens from high-income, suburban, rural families get exposed to surprising amounts of violence and disorder, like drug deals and gang activity, especially if they're in middle and high school. Talk to your teens to find out the truth about their world.