By Alyssa Kramer
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and it allows for the opportunity to express why teen dating matters.
Romantic relationship are a common part of adolescents but not all those relationship are healthy. These unhealthy romantic relationships can start early and have a lifelong effect.
Teen dating violence is a widespread issue that can occur between a current or former dating partner, in person or electronically. A national survey conducted by the CDC recently found that 8 percent of high school students reported experiencing physical violence and 7 percent reported experiencing sexual violence from a dating partner. Teen dating violence can be physical, emotional, or sexual, as well as stalking.
Teen dating violence can have serious short-term and long-term effects. As adolescents develop emotionally, they are deeply influenced by experiences in relationships. Teens who have experienced unhealthy, abusive relationships are more likely to:
Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol
- Exhibit antisocial behaviors
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Experience academic failure
- Significant higher risk of experiencing violence in future relationships
Teens learn how to behave in relationships from peers, adults, and the media. They translate what they have learned in other relationships to new relationships with romantic partners. All too often these examples suggest that violence in a relationship is normal, but violence is never acceptable.
Teen dating violence can be prevented by:
- Engage in healthy, nonviolent relationships. Communicate with your partner, manage uncomfortable feeling like anger and jealousy, and treat other with respect.
- Talk and teach teens about what healthy, respectful relationships are and how to identify when a relationship is unhealthy.
- Change norms about violence. Create and enforce a message that treating people in abusive ways will not be accepted, specifically in dating relationships.