Do you know if your daughter or son would recognize when a relationship is in danger of becoming abusive? A personal story I tell to teens is about the time I was physically abused by a boyfriend. I had the good sense to break the relationship off at the first incident, but in retrospect, there were warning signs that the physical abuse was coming. I saw my boyfriend lose control of his temper with his family, and he had already begun verbally abusing me before the incident of physical abuse.
February is Teen Dating and Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and I found myself wondering how we can prepare our sons and daughters to recognize unhealthy patterns in a relationship before it gets to the point of emotional or physical damage. I found a wonderful document, written to and for teens, about the warning signs of potentially abusive relationships. It’s put out by the American Psychological Association. I would urge every parent to print this out, and ask their teen to read it and then discuss it together. Every teen (guy or girl) will either be abused, or know someone who is. Let’s equip them to be strong and courageous in insisting on being treated with respect, and be advocates and wise guides for their friends who may be suffering an abusive relationship.