- Family and Parenting»
- Advice & Tips for Parents of Teens
Warning Signs That a Teen Romance is Abusive
Protecting Your Teen from Abuse
Teens are very hard to read and this makes it difficult to understand if the teen is in trouble. Many parents miss signs of dating abuse simply because their teen is pulling away from them. Obvious abuse signs, such as bruises, are sometimes not apparent in teens because they will hide this type of abuse under clothing. Parents need to look for other signs of dating abuse to help protect their teen from a potential dangerous and deadly situation.
The target of the violence will become withdrawn. Teens withdraw from parents by nature, so other signs need to become the red flags. Watch the friends that come to visit. Do they change or suddenly not come around anymore? Withdrawing from friends is a sign that the abuser is isolating the victim.
are another sign that a teen is victimized by abuse. Teens are moody by nature due to extreme hormone changes, so the moodiness needs evaluation. If your teen is becoming moody, monitor the behavior as much as possible and look for patterns. Mood changes in abused victims are very sad. The teen will display depression, anger, and defensiveness when asked about the person they are dating. Mood changes
Watch the teen to see if he or she "jumps" at the partner's every request. If the teen does whatever the person requests as soon as it is requested, this is a sign of a controlling relationship. The relationship which begins this way could quickly become abusive.
Going hand in hand with the answer to demands is the loss of interests. Does your tuba player suddenly not play anymore? Does the painter stop painting? This is a sign of abuse. The partner is taking up so much of your teen's time that there is no time for interests. Additionally, the partner might be forcing your teen to stop these favorite activities.
Finally, the teen will be visibly upset after phone calls or dates with the person. This will coordinate with isolating his or herself from you. Your teen might become closed off from friends and family after talking to the person causing the abuse.
On the other side, a teen might be victimizing someone. If your teen is the perpetrator, you need to first put aside your guilt. Feeling guilty over this will not help anyone. Your teen needs help, but first you need to discover the signs that point to the fact that he or she needs the help.
Perpetrators tend to get very violent when they are angry. Does your teen try to hurt him or herself or others when angry? This is a sign that your teen might become abusive in a relationship.
Listen to how your teen talks about the partner. Are there comments about control over the partner? Does your teen put down the partner or say negative things? Teens are very passionate and when they love, they love unconditionally. A teen who makes rude comments or puts down a partner might be an abusive teen.
Finally, evaluate the teen's behavior. Is your teen argumentative? Does your teen get into fights often? Does your teen view jealousy as a sign of love? These are all indicators that your teen might need help.
If any of these signs come up in your situation, you need to get help immediately. Get help for yourself and get help for the teen. No person is an island and you should never deal with this situation alone. End the cycle before it becomes a lifelong habit.