Teen Dating Violence Awareness

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The Alliance for Safe Kids wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do as a parent to prevent teen dating violence and abuse.

More than 1 in 10 teens who have been on a date have also been physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year. One of the most important things you can do is keep the lines of communication open with your kids.

Warning Signs

While the following non-specific warning signs could indicate other concerning things such as depression or drug use, these should also raise a red flag for parents and adult caregivers about the possibility of an unhealthy relationship:

  • no longer hanging out with his/her circle of friends
  • wearing the same clothing
  • distracted when spoken to
  • constantly checking cell phone, gets extremely upset when asked to turn phone off
  • withdrawn, quieter than usual
  • angry, irritable when asked how they are doing
  • making excuses for their boyfriend/girlfriend
  • showering immediately after getting home
  • unexplained scratches or bruises

Take steps to make a difference:

  • Be a role model – treat your kids and others with respect.
  • Start talking to your kids about healthy relationships early – before they start dating.
  • Get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at your teen’s school.
  • If you are worried about your teen, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.