adults >> talking to teens

Educate yourself
and the teens in your life about building healthy relationships. Talk about identifying
personal values
, creating boundaries , and encouraging open communication. If
appropriate, integrate your own experiences as examples, but don’t compare yourself
to your teen.

Teach your teens about dating abuse and resources to support friends in abusive relationships.

Talk
with your teens about their relationships, including any behaviors you’ve seen and heard
in their relationships that worry you. It’s important to focus on the behaviors and not criticize
their dating partner or friends. Help your teen talk through their feelings and any decisions
about leaving or staying in the relationship and safety planning. Ask your teen what they
need you to do (for example, listen, provide comfort, refer to resources, safety plan, etc.).
Let their needs guide your actions. You may feel pressure to “save” your teen from an
abusive partner or “stop” your teen from being an abuser, but remember that no one can
force anyone to do anything they are not ready for. If you offer information and support but
let your teen make their own decisions, they will be more likely to turn to you when they
need help.

Listen
with an open mind. Your teen may just want someone to talk to about their situation. As
difficult as it may be, respect their boundaries -- how much or little they want to share.

Be there
to give support. It can be hard to know what to do in an abusive relationship. In fact, it’s
normal for teens to go through multiple break-ups and make-ups when they’re in an
abusive relationship. Let your teen know you’ll be there for them, any time they need
help. If your teen wants to talk, offer to meet your teen in a safe, confidential location
at a time of day that works best for them. The more you do to support your teens, the
safer and more comfortable they’ll feel.
Quick Exit
24 Hour Hotline: 1.800.899.4000