Violence among dating relationships has increased greatly in recent years with one in three teenagers experiencing some form of dating violence. (See my blog Teen Dating Violence: A Serious Problem.) So as a parent how you help protect your teenager from dating violence and teach them that violence is not appropriate in relationships? First decide at what age you will allow your child to date. Then when your child does begin dating set up some dating guidelines and encourage your child to use these guidelines.
Possible dating guidelines could be:
- Double-date the first few dates
- Let your parents know your exact plans for the evening
- Have a set dating curfew
- Do not drink or take drugs
- Have a clue word that you can use to call for help
Growing up my parents insisted that my siblings and I follow these rules. When we were out with friends we did not have a curfew. But when we were on a date we were expected to be home at a certain time as well as telling our parents what we were doing. Double dating was always encouraged and expected for the first few dates. We also had a keyword that we could use if we needed help. If we were on a date or at a party and wanted to leave we could call our parents and ask, “Is Uncle Bill there yet?” We didn’t actually have an Uncle Bill. The phrase was our sign that we wanted our parents to come and pick us up allowing us to get out of the situation without losing face. My sister was the only one who ever had to use it and she was very grateful.
Parents can also protect their teenagers by teaching them that they have control over their own dating activities and relationships. The Domestic Violence Advocacy Program of Family Resources suggests that youth be taught that
|they have a right to:|
|ask for a date||refuse a date|
|suggest dating activities||right to express their own feelings|
|have limits and values respected||alcohol or drug use|
|ask for and refuse affection||be heard and express opinions|
|say a date’s actions are inappropriate||have friends and space aside from their partner|
|they have a responsibility to:|
|determine their values and limits||communicate honestly|
|respect values and limits of others||ask for help when needed|
|set high goals||be considerate|
To many adults these things seem like common sense. But teens are inexperienced at dating and feel pressure from friends and the media to act a certain way. Thus teens need to be taught the appropriate way to act during a dating relationship.
See my related blogs:
Stay tuned for the related upcoming blog:
The Prevalence and Effects of Sex In The Media