Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back to School Supplies-Did You Forget Something?

By Susie Kroll 

We are now head-long into the new school year.  I’m sure every parent has done there level best to provide school clothes, supplies, laptops, and all the other necessary accessories for their student to succeed.  But have they thought about the other crucial supply their student needs to be safe?  Have they taught their child about Dating Violence?

We send our children, tweens, and teens out into the world of school to gain the necessary knowledge to succeed and be productive citizens of society.  One of the most overlooked and under-utilized piece of knowledge is knowing how to recognize and prevent Dating Violence from happening to them.  Dating Violence is not unlike Domestic Violence in that it can strike anyone, any gender, any race, any orientation, and any socio-economic group at any time.  What’s that mean? Even your child could become a victim.  I am not saying this to be cruel.  I am however, saying it because sometimes fear is the only way to motivate someone into action.  If you love your child, you will learn about Dating Violence and how to prevent it.  If you fear for your child you will learn how to recognize the signs of Dating Violence before it escalates to death.  Make no mistake, I want you to be alarmed at what you are about to read.

-69% of all teens who had sex by age 14 said they have gone through one or more types of abuse in a relationship.

-40% of the youngest tweens, those between the ages of 11 and 12, report that their friends are victims of verbal abuse in relationships, and nearly one-in-ten (9%) say their friends have had sex.

-Nearly three-in-four tweens (72%) say boyfriend/girlfriend relationships usually begin at age 14 or younger.

-Only half of all tweens (51%) claim to know the warning signs of a bad/hurtful relationship.

All of these statistics were provided by a 2008 study conducted by Liz Claiborne and

Now, I’m sure you are wondering why this happens.  Here are some of the findings that has found.

Teen dating violence often goes unnoticed because teenagers typically:
  • are inexperienced with dating relationships.
  • are pressured by peers to act violently.
  • want independence from parents.
  • have "romantic" views of love.
Teen dating violence is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and others.
Young men may believe:
  • they have the right to "control" their female partners in any way necessary.
  • "masculinity" is physical aggressiveness.
  • they should "possess" their partner.
  • they should demand intimacy.
  • they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.
Young women may believe:
  • they are responsible for solving problems in their relationships
  • their boyfriend's jealousy, possessiveness and even physical abuse, is "romantic."
  • abuse is "normal" because their friends are also being abused.
  • there is no one to ask for help or to show them anything different.

Tweens and teens are inexperienced in dating and relationships and have a romanticized view of love and relationships.  This plays a huge role in why teens don’t recognize what is happening to them until the damage has already been done.  They have never been taught to choose what they want out of a relationship.  Moreover, they don’t think they have a right to choose what they want out of a relationship.
So where are your tweens and teens getting their relationship models from?  Do you want them to emulate your relationships? Those they see on TV?  Those of their peers at school? Those they see in the media or in celebrity circles?  Are you cringing yet?  Unless we provide our tweens and teens with the knowledge and power to recognize Dating Violence and to set their own relationship standards we have to assume that they are using less that positive examples. 

It is an incredibly powerful thing to tell a tween or teen that they have the right to say what they want out a relationship.  Tweens and teens have the right to say they want to be treated nicely, with respect, and love.  They have the right to privacy and to have time away from their partners.  They can say that they never want to be hit, yelled at, or emotionally abused.  Every parent should try it.  Tell your children they have rights.  Tell them they are worth it.  Tell them to choose their own boundaries about sex, partying, and dating.  Encourage them to make good choices and guide them toward those good choices.  

I thought it only fair to give a brief overview into what Dating Violence may look like and what some of the signs of Dating Violence were.

Here are some of the early warning signs that a Dating Relationship could become violent and dangerous.  If your tween or teen’s partner exhibits any of the following behaviors, it might be Dating Violence: 
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Controlling behavior
  • Quick romantic involvement
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Alcohol and drug use that magnify Dating Violence
  • Explosive anger for seemingly little issues
  • Isolates you from friends and family
  • Uses force during an argument
  • Tells you what to wear, how to act, what to do
  • Shows hypersensitivity
  • Believes in rigid gender roles
  • Blames others for their problems or feelings
  • Cruelty to animals or children
  • Verbally abusive
  • Abused former partners
  • Threatens violence
  • Goes through your cell phone to see who you text, call, or view your pictures
  • Checks up on you via Facebook, Twitter, etc
Here are some of the common indicators that your teen may be experiencing Dating Violence:

  • Physical signs of injury
  • Truancy, dropping out of school
  • Failing grades
  • Inability to make healthy choices
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or friends
  • Commonly making excuses for their  partner’s behavior
  • Use of drugs/alcohol
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Moody and anxious
  • Engaging in risky behaviors

Please learn more about Dating Violence and how to prevent it.  If you have more questions, then great, this article has done its job.  Give your tween or teen all the supplies they need to be successful at school, in life, and in all their current and future relationships.

Susie Kroll specializes in Teen Dating Violence and Healthy Relationships.  For more information about Susie and how you can bring her to your school or event, please visit or schedule with ImaginePublicity

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