February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)! Teen Dating Violence (TDV) often goes unnoticed and discussed due to our belief that these are not “adult” issues. However, this is not the case: one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner and one in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend (loveisrespect.org). Further, abuse and violence that begins in adolescence become more extreme in adulthood. We at InterAct aim to drastically lessen these statistics by talking to your children about boundaries, expectations, and TDV.
Boundaries and expectations often go unspoken during romance, leading to unhealthy assumptions and standards within romantic dynamics. By addressing individual boundaries, expectations, desire, and beliefs, we will deconstruct expectations to ensure that what your children are looking for is healthy, fair, and realistic. Further, by acknowledging the prevalence of dating violence, red flags, coping skills, and self-reflection, we will help your children better fathom the gravity of TDV while providing them the skills to lead healthy lives as individuals and as romantic partners.
This topic can be heavy and triggering for parents and students, alike. Websites and organizations such as Break The Cycle (breakthecycle.org), Love is Respect (loveisrespect.org), and RAINN (rain.org) offer fantastic education for teens and adults, and we recommend you search them if you have any concerns whatsoever. Also, please continue to talk about these difficult topics with your children. We can only do so much in the few hours we see them, and these discussions merit much more than we can offer in this limited capacity.
As always, if you have any questions about any of the topics presented above, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or call at (919) 828-7501.