By TRACIE LS HODSON
Executive Director, The Beaman Home
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Beaman Home’s DoVE Outreach Program advocate April Slone wants area parents to know one out of three teens are experiencing teen dating abuse or violence. She adds that only 33 percent of those in an abusive relationship tell anyone about it. It is the leading cause of injury to young women, and the abuse results in severe psychological effects including anxiety, inability to concentrate and suicidal behavior. Despite all the studies and findings, many teens still don’t recognize the behaviors as abuse.
Family discussion about teen dating abuse help teens understand the dangers of a violent relationship that can ruin lives, and in some cases, end lives. That’s why Beaman Home’s DoVE Outreach Program is working to share the knowledge of warning signs interventions and preventions of teen dating violence in our community.
Slone’s research and experience indicate that 75 percent of parents don’t talk with their children about relationships. She adds, “While those numbers are high and scary, talking to your kids should not be.”
She continued, “Although your kids may not tell you this, they actually want to have those conversations. When you initiate these conversations, you have the power to set them up for safer and healthier relationships throughout their lives.”
Slone reminds parents that conversations, talking AND listening, are better than interrogations or shooting questions at them and expecting immediate answers.
- Talk to your children; let them know what teen dating violence is. Guide them how to react and remove themselves from dangerous situations. Help them make healthier choices.
- If you find your teen in a violent relationship, don’t judge them. Use active listening skills and let them know you are there for them.
- Remind teens that they always have the right to say “no” in relationships.
- Make sure your teen knows what love is and what it isn’t. Love doesn’t hurt. Possessiveness and jealously are not signs of love. Young people need to be reminded of that.
- Know who your teen is dating! Learn as much as you can about them, their family and background. This is not over-protectiveness. It’s love and concern for your child’s well-being.
- Arming youth with skills and tools to assess their current and future relationships is vital in protecting their futures, self-esteem and physical well-being.
The DoVE Outreach Program provides essential educational tools to fight domestic violence and abuse at all levels. To learn more or to schedule a group presentation or training, contact Slone at (574) 267-3044.
To enable Beaman Home to better understand issues teen are facing in this community, teens are encouraged to complete Beaman Home’s confidential Teen Dating Abuse Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Beamanhome. Please respond by Friday, March 20, 2015.
For more information about teen dating or other domestic violence abuse, contact The Beaman Home professionals toll free at 1-877-725-9363 or visit their website at www.thebeamanhome.com or www.Facebook.com/TheBeamanHome.