How To Talk to Your Teen About Dating Violence

Raising a teenager, often, is one of the most intimidating chapters of parenting. Disciplining becomes harder than "No you can't have dessert for breakfast" and sometimes it feels as if communication is one of the most difficult minefields to navigate. Do you set rules? Do you give them freedom? It's hard to walk that line of knowing when to bend and when to be firm. When do you intervene? When do you let them learn a lesson the hard way? 

It's often hard to know what to say or how to say it, especially when your teen starts to date. The reality is that young adult dating violence is a huge problem that affects communities across the country. 

Some Quick Statistics About Teen Violence: 

  •  Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
  • Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.


Here are some ways to help start the conversation with the teen in your life! 

1. Always keep an open environment!
2. Give your undivided attention-when the opportunity comes along, focus your attention on the conversation at hand.
3. For important topics, start the conversation. 
4. Talk often. 
5. Understand the questions, and always answer honestly. 

Don't be upset or offended if your teen is more comfortable talking to a teacher, mentor, or family friend. Try to encourage them to do so, and remember that the important thing is they have someone to talk to!


Visit Love Is Respect for more resources, tool kits, and advice about Teen Dating Violence.