Tips for Parents of Tweens & Teens
Facts about Teen Dating Violence & Tips for Talking About It
Relationships are tough. At any age.
Friendships can be confusing and dating can be downright scary – for youth and parents.
Talking with your kids about healthy relationships is important but not always easy.
Here are some facts and starting points for conversations.
- 47% of 11 to 14 year olds say they have been or are in a dating relationship
- 72% of tweens and teens day they started dating by age 14.
- Tween dating is not as innocent as we want to believe yet only 7% of parents believe their children have done more than kiss.
- Tweens and teens who have experiences sexual activity are more likely to experience dating violence.
- 62% of tweens have friends who have been verbally abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Who are they talking to?
- Tweens are more likely to talk to their parents – 67% identify mom or friends as someone they can talk to about relationships.
- Teens are more likely (78%) to talk to their friends about relationship concerns than their mom (48%).
- Only one-third (34%) of tweens or teens who experience dating violence told anyone about the abuse.
Starting the Conversation
- Ask about relationships – theirs and friends at a young age.
- Ask them about behaviors of others that bother them – what are they? Why is it a problem?
- Ask what they consider okay behavior in a friendship or relationship – do they think name calling is okay? Why?
- Ask where they see concerning behavior – social media? At school?
- Remind them that you there to listen.
- Talk with your teen about what healthy and concerning behaviors look like – respect vs. put downs, trust vs control, etc.
- Ask your teen what they see in the relationships of friends. It they see abuse, what would they do?
- Talk about boundaries – its okay to want to spend time away from their partner.
- Watch for red flags and bring them up – excessive texts, calls, one partner making all of the decisions, fear of not responding to calls/texts fast enough.
Social Media & Technology
- Unhealthy behaviors may not be obvious.
- Excessive texts, harassing posts, etc. are red flags.
- Talk about healthy communication.
- Talk about how to handle requests for inappropriate pictures.
- Talk about consequences of what is posted on social media or sent by text.
Statistic Sources: Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study: www.loveisrespect.org