February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, or TDVAM. As the father of a teenage daughter, this topic and this monthly observation really touches me.
In a selfish way, I’m pretty glad COVID-19 interrupted our social norms and limited the “teen dating scene.” One of the collateral aspects of the restrictions that resulted from this outbreak is that I don’t have to worry about what might happen when my daughter goes out on a date, or even with a group of friends.
For parents, you may have similar feelings and thoughts. This month is set aside to ensure that we are all more aware of teen dating violence and some of its aspects that come with it, such as stalking and sexual assault. This year’s TDVAM theme is “Know Your Worth”.
Here’s a question for parents: When was the last time you had a conversation with your teenager (men and women) about dating violence?
Three in four parents say they had a conversation with their teenager about what it means to be in a healthy relationship, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – but 74% of sons and 66% of daughters said they did not. ‘had not had the conversation about dating violence with a parent in the past year. Perhaps it is time to revive this subject.
Let’s define teen dating violence. According to the Community Resource Center based in San Diego, Calif., “Teen dating violence is a type of domestic violence or intimate partner violence. Teen dating violence is the use of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behavior to exert power and control over a partner. This can happen in person or electronically, especially through unwanted texting and social media posts. “
The CDC goes on to say that one in three teens – 33 percent – report experiencing verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse each year.
The CDC also says that young victims of teen dating violence are more likely to:
- experience symptoms of depression and anxiety;
- Adopt unhealthy behaviors, such as the consumption of tobacco, drugs and alcohol;
- Exhibit anti-social behavior, such as lying, stealing, bullying, physically hitting / hitting others; and
- Have suicidal thoughts.
During this month, organizations, teachers and parents are strongly encouraged to develop initiatives and strategies focused on empowering and educating adolescents on methods to establish and engage in “healthy relationships”. , that is, relationships centered on respect and equality. reality that there are challenges associated with building and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships.
As adults / parents it is vitally important that we let go of some control and wholeheartedly listen to what our teenagers have to say.
Remember, at one point we were teenagers too. Remember your teenage years… was it easy for you to discuss “relationship issues” with your parents? For many of us, I would dare say it was not an easy conversation to have. If this has been easy for you, consider yourself lucky.
While February provides an opportunity to focus on teen dating violence, it also requires our focus and attention throughout the year.
If you have teens who are dating or are of dating age, encourage them and the people they have relationships with to go 2021 Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month pledge at https://www.factforward.org/ and fill out the form.
The pledge simply states: “I pledge to treat my partners with equality and respect. I am committed to using healthy communication to resolve conflicts. I agree to ask for consent and to respect the limits of my partners. Your teenager then types his initials in the box provided to sign the undertaking. They may also consent to having their initials published and indicate that they would like to receive more information about teen dating violence and healthy relationships.
According to the CDC, about 360 teens are treated in emergency rooms each day for “assault injuries.” Preventing violence is key to protecting our teens and fostering their growth as healthy adults.
Personally, I will do my best to ensure that my daughter is not among those who have been / are being assaulted. And you?
For more information, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) or TTY at 1-888-232-6348, or https://www.cdc.gov.