For Parents of Teens

Teens Need Adults to:

  • Listen
  • Model strength, openness, trust, and cooperation
  • Respect intelligence
  • Value teen’s fears
  • Respect teen desire to be independent
  • Provide a clear, understandable conceptual framework to aid in problem solving
  • Provide options
  • Prevent rudeness, judging (especially about appearance), lecturing, attitudes of disrespect
  • Emphasize local community information, services, and networks
  • Understand systematic mistreatment that young people receive in this adult-defined world and correct that mistreatment
  • Avoid victim blaming statements
  • Avoid reaffirming sex-role stereotypes
  • Believe in the severity of the abuse
  • Acknowledge the role of power and control in abusive relationships, and how authority figures can replicate that role.
  • Validate the victims concerns

Unique Aspects of Teen Dating Violence Relationships:

  • Teens resist seeking help from parents and other adults, especially authority figures. Fear of losing their newly gained independence can deter a teen from accessing resources.
  • Lack of experience in dating relationships makes teens more susceptible to gender stereotypes.
  • Romanticized ideals about relationships and love may cause teens to confuse jealousy, possessiveness, and abuse with signs of love and affection.
  • Lack of experience and peer group norms make it difficult for a victim to judge if his/her partners behavior is out of line. Isolation can make it even more difficult to do a reality check
  • Relationships are frequently perceived as very significant by teens. Although they may be shorter in length, they can be experienced as intensely as adult relationships.
  • Teenage women are vulnerable because of the double standard of sexual morality for women and the resulting fear of a bad reputation among peers.*
  • Peer intervention can end or escalate a relationship. Many aspects of peer intervention may ultimately increase the risk to the victim.
  • The victim is often unable to avoid the abuser because they attend the same school.
  • Many adults do not take teen relationships seriously, discounting them as puppy love or over-dramatized.

Adapted from The Curriculum Project: The Minnesota Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

*Denise Gamache (74) in Barrie Levy’s Dating Violence – Young Women in Danger.

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Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County
Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish CountyWednesday, February 24th, 2021 at 11:01pm

We are honoring Kimberlé Crenshaw for the last week of Black History Month. She has made many great contributions including coining "intersectionality" and applying it to domestic violence work by demonstrating the importance of considering overlapping identities of survivors and their experiences!