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10 Tips for Preventing Teenage Dating Abuse

Parents play an important role in helping teenagers learn to build healthy relationships. It's never too early to talk with your children about abusive behavior and what is healthy - and unhealthy -in their relationships with peers. Below are tips you can use to help your teenager build healthy relationships:

  • Model good relationships. Be respectful in your relationships at home and show your teen that communicating in a positive way helps build trust and respect.
  • Talk with your teen about other dating relationships seen at school or on TV. Use these opportunities to discuss what's healthy in a relationship and what's not.
  • Teach your teen that abusive or violent behavior is never acceptable.
  • Ask questions about your teen's relationships with friends. Reinforce that you are available to talk whenever your child has questions or concerns.
  • Talk with your teen about the importance of being respected - and being respectful - in a relationship.
  • Keep the conversation casual. Let your child ask questions and guide the discussion.
  • Educate yourself on digital abuse. This can include excessive texting, sexting, sending threatening texts or emails and using social media sites to post insults. Talk with your teen about using texting and social media sites responsibly.
  • Be supportive of your teen's choices. Let your teen know that you are available if he or she ever feels uncomfortable in a relationship and you will do what you can to help.
  • Talk with your teen about the importance of trust and relationship boundaries. Let your child know that privacy is important. Your teen should be concerned about anyone who wants to share passwords for phone or email accounts.
  • Remind your teen that relationships don't have to be physically violent to be abusive. Talk about recognizing the warning signs of an abusive relationship. Your teen should be concerned about anyone who is disrespectful, threatening or demeaning.


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