Understanding the Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence

Understanding the Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence

Did you know? One in three teens will experience physical, emotional, or sexual dating violence before they become adults. This is not okay. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and we want to provide teens and parents with the information and knowledge to recognize abuse, set healthy boundaries, and seek help if needed.

Recognize the Signs

As teens begin forming romantic connections, it is important they understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. So often, teens can get swept up in the new feelings that emerge as they begin dating, making identifying and responding to potentially abusive behavior challenging.

A healthy relationship often includes mutual respect and support, healthy boundaries, and healthy communication.

Warning signs of a potentially unhealthy relationship include:

“Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is important because teens are shaping their romantic habits, evaluating their boundaries, testing limits, and building their self-confidence and self-worth,” says Allison Hilton, Director of Youth Services. “It is important for us to bring awareness to the dangers of dating, and help guide healthy dating habits that are safe and fulfilling.”

Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries help us identify how we would like to be treated by others. By setting and understanding our boundaries, we can more easily recognize when someone crosses a line or makes us uncomfortable. Examples of boundaries include:

It is important to note that boundaries can change as we gain more life experience or become more comfortable in a relationship. When shifting boundaries, however, it is important to ask yourself if you are changing the boundary because you are comfortable or if it is being changed due to pressure from a partner. If a partner is pressuring you to shift your boundaries to suit their wants or needs better, this may be a sign of a potentially abusive relationship.

Seeking Help

Dating violence can be scary for the individual experiencing it and for parents who witness their child in an abusive relationship. Synergy Services offers many therapeutic services to help teens and parents through this challenging time. From teen support groups to individual counseling to art and music therapy, we have many options to help teens process the effects of teen dating violence. Learn more about our mental health services here. Learn more about our services here.