Have you talked to your teen about dating violence?

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month.  This is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it.  Dating violence is more common than many people think with one in three teens in the U.S. experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.

Here are some tips on talking about healthy relationships with teens:

  1. Encourage open, honest, and thoughtful discussion about relationships by asking open-ended questions about their relationship values.  Make sure to encourage debate rather than dismissing their ideas as “wrong.”  Click here to find conversation starters to talk to your teen about relationship violence
  2. Understand the pressure and the risk teen’s face and take the time to listen when your teen wants to talk about it in a nonjudgmental way.  Click here to understand the warning signs of teen dating violence.
  3. Take a clear stand about how you feel about disrespect, use of abusive and controlling behavior or any forms of violence in relationships.  Click here to join the movement to end relationship violence in Colorado and show your teen that using violence is not ok, but asking for help is.
  4. Make the most of teachable moments by talking about healthy and unhealthy relationships as shown in TV shows, movies, music, news, community events and experiences of friends and family.  Click here to see if you are modeling respect at home for your teen.
  5. Teach teens how to stand up for friends when they see abusive behaviors.  Click here to learn more about talking to teens about friendship and bullying.
  6. Focus on elements of healthy teen relationships and development.  Click here to learn more about talking to teens about healthy relationships.

Want to learn more?  Below are some additional resources for teen dating violence:

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Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1‑844‑264‑5437)
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.