February is the month in which many of us think of hearts and roses, candle lit dinners, and Valentines. It is the month of love.
It is now also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
One in three will experience some form of abuse before leaving the teenage years.
Name calling, pushing, isolation from friends and family, hitting, devaluing, forced pregnancy are just a few of the many tactics a dating partner may use to control his/her partner.
It begins with a belief that the abusive boyfriend (less commonly, girlfriend) has an entitlement that, if written on paper, looks like: I am in charge of our relationship.
If you love me, you will do what I want.
I have a right to control your behavior.
I take priority over your family, friends, school work, your talents, gifts, and interest.
While these Entitlements or Beliefs may sound extreme, these are active in one out of three dating relationships.
Our job as adults is to listen, listen, listen to our Teens.
Forbidding a teen to date another teen doesn’t work. Parents need support in that difficult scenario as well as the Teen. For more information, see: loveis/respect.org.