Dating abuse among teens is more common that you’d think. In fact, 1 in 10 teenagers who have been on a date have also been physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year. If you’re a parent of a teenager or preteen, that statistic may be pretty scary.

The good news is there’s a lot you can do to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. Keeping the lines of communication open with your children is one of the most important ways you can help protect them from dating abuse.  Follow the tips below to help keep your family safe not only during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, but all year long:

  • Be a good role model.
    As a parent, you are also a teacher. Your behavior, actions and words will influence your children’s behavior, actions and words. If you treat your kids — and others — with respect, your kids are more likely to do the same.
  • Start talking to your children about healthy relationships early — before they start dating.
    Love is an intense emotion, so make sure your children have a solid understanding beforehand of what type of behavior is not acceptable in a relationship and how they can stay safe.
  • Get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at your teen’s school.
    Whether it’s inviting a professional speaker to make a class presentation or asking the administration to include appropriate resources that students, faculty and families can access on the school website, there are a variety of ways to educate people about abuse.
  • Ask for help.
    If you are worried about your teen, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text «loveis» to 22522.

Our Teen Health Center is a primary care clinic where individuals ages 12 to 24 can receive confidential care, including wellness checkups, STI testing and counseling. In addition, Family Health Centers of San Diego offers individual, couples and group counseling. Call (619) 515-2338 for more information. No referral is needed!

Additional resources available at Break The Cycle.