16 Feb Healthy Dating and Relationships
February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month. TDV is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that affects millions of young people in the United States. Dating violence can take place in person, online, or through technology. It is a type of intimate partner violence, which includes physical violence, sexual violence (physical and non-physical), psychological aggression, and stalking.
According to the CDC “Teen dating violence profoundly impacts lifelong health, opportunity, and wellbeing. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. The good news is violence is preventable, and we can all help young people grow up violence-free.”
Helping teens (and even pre-teens!) understand the importance of healthy relationships is vital in keeping our kids safe. When we have important conversations with our teens, they not only gain an understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like, but also begin to develop the skills needed to maintain those healthy relationships. Here are some ways to talk with teens about healthy dating and relationships:
- Start early: Begin the conversation early and establish an open and comfortable line of communication with your teenager.
- Focus on respect and communication: Emphasize the importance of respecting oneself and others, as well as communicating openly and honestly.
- Discuss boundaries: Talk to your teenager about setting and respecting boundaries in relationships, including physical, emotional, and digital boundaries.
- Highlight healthy relationship behaviors: Discuss healthy relationship behaviors, such as equality, compromise, and mutual support.
- Address red flags: Educate your teenager about red flags in relationships, such as controlling behavior, jealousy, and disrespect.
- Encourage seeking help: Encourage your teenager to seek help if they experience any concerning behaviors or situations in their relationships.
- Model healthy relationships: Set an example by modeling healthy relationship behaviors in your own relationships.
Remember, having ongoing conversations about healthy relationships is important for your teenager’s well-being and safety. By having these conversations, you can help your teen develop the skills and knowledge needed to maintain healthy relationships and avoid unhealthy ones.Most importantly, if you are concerned about the safety of a family member or friend, encourage them to seek help. Face It partners from across the state are ready and willing to help individuals experiencing teen dating violence:
The Center for Women and Families 24/7 Hotline: 1-844-237-2331
The Nest Lexington: 1-859-259-1974
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
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