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Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Talk With Your Teen about Dating Violence

It's not only adults who have to bear the effects of dating and domestic violence. And as we can see from the outcomes, how difficult it is for a grown adult to disengage from an abusive relationship, imagine how much more worse and damaging it is for a teenager to handle and bounce back from.

A teenager is just developing and even though they want you to think they are adults, they are still learning and growing.
They, our teens need all the help they can get to handle dating violence, which is more prevalent than ever in our society!

Here are very crucial tips for parents to talk with their teens about teen dating violence, the widely unknown epidemic which affects one in three 14-year-olds.


How to Talk With Your Teen about Dating Violence

One in three 14-year-olds have been in an abusive relationship

International (April 18, 2016) – The numbers are staggering and widely unknown by most parents: one in three 14-year-olds has experienced physical, sexual or psychological abuse within a dating relationship, rising to 44 percent by the time American young people graduate from college. Teen dating violence (TDV) is a topic that parents must discuss with their children, yet many parents neglect to have this conversation because they do not believe that TDV is a widespread problem – or that it does not apply to their children.

“I knew to talk with Jen about alcohol, drugs, sex and all those other parenting talks, but I never knew I had to teach her about dating violence,” said Drew Crecente, whose 18-year-old daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. “I did not realize that it was such a pervasive issue at such a young age.”

In fact, 81 percent of parents either do not believe that TDV is a problem – or do not know if it is a problem or not.

In an effort to combat this epidemic, Crecente founded Jennifer Ann’s Group to increase awareness about teen dating violence, as well as provide educational information to help teens, tweens, and young adults identify and avoid abusive relationships through free educational video games.

“Parents have a largely underrated influence in preventing TDV, and it begins with a sit-down conversation, but knowing what to say and how to say it is also important,” says Crecente.



Encourage open, honest, and thoughtful reflection. Talk openly with your teen about healthy relationships. Allow them to articulate his or her values and expectations for healthy relationships. Rather than dismissing ideas as wrong, encourage debate, which helps young people come to his or her own understanding.

Be sensitive and firm. Parenting a teen is not an easy task, especially when it comes to helping him or her navigate their way through relationships. To be effective, you will need to find the balance between being sensitive and firm. Try to adapt to the changes faced by your child. Be willing to talk openly and respect differences of opinion. Realize that the decisions you make will sometimes be unpopular with your teen – that’s okay.

Understand teen development. Adolescence is all about experimentation. From mood swings to risk taking, “normal teenage behavior” can appear anything-but-normal. New research, however, reveals that brain development during these formative years play a significant role in young teen’s personality and actions. Knowing what’s “normal” is critical to helping you better understand and guide young people.

Understand the pressure and the risk teen’s face. Preteens and young teens face new and increasing pressures about sex, substance abuse and dating. Time and time again, young teens express their desire to have parents/role models take the time to listen to them and help them think through the situations they face – be that person!

Take a clear stand. Make sure young teen knows how you feel about disrespect, use of abusive or inappropriate language, controlling behavior or any forms of violence.

Make the most of “teachable moments”. Use video games, TV episodes, movies, music lyrics, news, community events or the experiences of friends to discuss healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Discuss how to be an ‘upstander’. Teach teens how to stand-up for friends when he or she observes unhealthy treatment of his or her peers.

Accentuate the positive. Conversations about relationships do not need to focus solely on risky behavior or negative consequences. Conversations should also address factors that promote healthy adolescent development and relationships.

Be an active participant in your young teen’s life. Explore ways to know more about your teen’s friends and interests. Find activities you can do together.

Be prepared to make mistakes. You will make mistakes. Accept that you will make mistakes, but continue to help teens make responsible choices while trying to maintain that delicate balance of being sensitive, yet firm.



Recognizing the importance of having this discussion is an important first step, Jennifer Ann’s Group has been producing video games about teen dating violence for this purpose since 2008. All of their digital games are free, engaging and effective; the ideal solution for parents ready to tackle this important topic with their adolescents.

Currently, the organization is accepting international entries for the Life.Love. Game Design Challenge,, providing developers and programmers the opportunity to garner attention and respect from the international gaming community to catapult their careers.

Registration for the contest is now open, and entries are due by June 1, 2016.  Winners will receive international recognition, and $11,000 in prizes will be distributed.


How to enter:
Rules, registration, FAQs and previous winners are available at:  https://jagga.me/contest


About Jennifer Ann’s Group
Jennifer Ann’s Group is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization preventing teen dating violence through awareness, education, and advocacy. The organization has been instrumental in the passing of legislation mandating teen dating violence awareness in schools and has distributed over a half-million free educational materials to schools, churches, and other organizations throughout the U.S. and U.K. at no cost to the recipients.

For more information, visit http://jenniferann.org.
On February 15, 2006, Jennifer Ann Crecente, a high school senior, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Jennifer was an honor roll student in high school, a camp counselor, a hospital volunteer, and participated in community theatre with her dad. Jennifer Ann’s Group is run by her father.




Colette is a busy mom of 2 kids focusing solely on being a mom. She hails from the Caribbean and now balances the full life of being a SAHM and dabbling in odd jobs to help around the home. She enjoys sharing her memories, hopes, food, travel, entertainment, and product experiences on her blog. Please read my disclosure 
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61 comments :

  1. The idea of anyone putting their hands on my baby girl gives me shudders. She's 17 now, so she's all in on the 'true love thing.' Fortunately she hasn't come across anyone who has or wanted to strike her, and she knows how I feel about it. Still, I don't think we ever had the one on one about this exactly, and I def. am going to do that now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you are inspired to the talk love.
      It's hard to prick their stars, but reality is best. Or Awareness is key.

      Delete
  2. I wish I had this information when my daughter was a teen. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Gillis.
      And you are welcome

      Delete
  3. I don't have kids myself but I always worry for young women that I do know in my family and my neighborhood. Sometimes these girls get involved with guys that don't always have the most honorable intentions. They get pressured into things in order to please them or just to have a boyfriend. It's a scary thing for parents. We must teach our young women that they are more than objects to be used for sex or as punching bags in some cases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is scary.
      Our young women need armor and help to make wise decisions.
      Thanks for sharing :)

      Delete
  4. My kids are grown now but this is a great article and something every kid should know.

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  5. This is a great article for me since I have upcoming tween and a teenage. It's a topic that needs to be address as parents. To both girls and boys

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    Replies
    1. Yes , definitely boys too.
      Thank you Camasha

      Delete
  6. Such a frigtening thought I hope this kind of thing doesn't happen to anyone.

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  7. It is even scarier because teens think they know just about everything.

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  8. These statistics are just so sad.

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  9. What a scary topic, but VERY important. Great tips :)

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  10. These are very important points. My daughter is all grown up now, but this is something every parent and daughter should know.

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  11. I just had a talk with my son and daughter last week about "No means no!" This is so important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And we have to keep the conversation going all the time. It's amazing how many times it takes for it to sink in.

      Delete
  12. I need to talk to my teen about this. I already have the sex and drug talks so will add this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And these talks are never ending. We just have to keep reminding our loves.

      Delete
  13. This is a huge issue facing this generation. So glad that you are bringing awareness to this issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laura,
      I wish it would be more in home with all families.

      Delete
  14. I do this with my teenage sister all the time. I remind her of her rights and I build her up so that she would never question herself and I pick on her at the same time to make sure she's strong enough to never be bullied.

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  15. About a year ago friend's friend's son was the victim of TDV and my friend was shocked to hear 'it happens' - REALLY? The scary thing is she has 4 teenagers.

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    Replies
    1. That is truly sad.
      We can't ever think this wont happen to us or our family.

      Delete
  16. Thank you for these tips. This is a very important topic to discuss with teenagers and adults!

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  17. It's important to explain to the the reality of being with someone in a manner that they will understand, otherwise they will feel like you're just against them. Thank you for the pointers and the tips, these are all going to be helpful.

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  18. This is such an important topic! Good news you raise awareness about this

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  19. This is a great article for me, since I have a tween. It's a great topic that needs to be addressed!

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  20. Man was it a different generation a long time ago. Our teens are getting into drug and alcohol. More teens should read this post!

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  21. This is a very informative post. Thank you for sharing. My eldest will be turning 14yo this May. He studies in an all boys school and I hope he wont let himself be pressured by his peers on something bad. Its good as well that their school promotes good values being a catholic institution.

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  22. Now adays violence can be in many form. and as early as now we need to inform kids about No to Any Forms of Violence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so many varying forms! We do have to keep learning and sharing.

      Delete
  23. Amy Jones

    This is a super important topic to discuss, even if it's a little sensitive.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is a important topic to me since I have teen my nephew and he is under my roof

    ReplyDelete
  25. There are videogames about domestic violence? Not part of the norm of course but that's a great idea. I know that the situation itself needs to be treated seriously and while honesty should always be part of everything, the right wording should also be considered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do understand Gideon.
      Wording and timing is helpful and sometimes you just have to say it.

      Delete
  26. Thank you for this. This is not something people always realize as important. This is something we should definitely be talking to our teens about. It happens everyday where a teen goes through violence in a relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christina.
      It cannot become our norm at all.

      Delete
  27. This kind of information should be included in sex ed! It's so important to learn about it early.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must agree.
      It should be a wide and rounded topic!

      Delete
  28. My girls are married, but we were really careful with who they dated. But sometimes, regardless of how careful, these things do happen. It's good for our children to be prepared. And if we prepare them, they are more likely to come to us with what happened to them. Excellent post.

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  29. Very important information. I hope a lot of parents make good use of it.

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  30. I think this is extremely important to talk to your kids about. I have had family/friends go through experiences like these, and it's horrible. Nobody should have to go though anything like that. Sad thing is it's all up to them to get out because there is really nothing you can do to help. They have to be willing to leave.

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    Replies
    1. You are so right Kathy! Sometimes ....MOSTtimes, they will only leave when they are ready because they've been already conditioned to fear and have lost most of themselves. Because it begins so subtly.

      Delete
  31. This is very informative and helpful to parents and teens as well. Dating violence is a no-no.

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  32. My son is 13 years old. I told to stay away from girls for now. He has to finish school and find a job then can go dating. I ever told him that you never touch a girl because if you do then you are a coward and not a real man.

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  33. Very important conversation but even more important is modelling behavior of how partners treat eachother!

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  34. 14 is so young! I wasn't "allowed" to date until I was 19. My first serious boyfriend never abused me physically but I felt drained of emotions because of the way he treated me at times. It's so important to talk to your teen about physical and emotional abuse when dating.

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    Replies
    1. So glad you shared that Marielle.
      It's so very important for our teens to know.

      Delete
  35. Thank you so much for these types of post.

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  36. I'm not at the teen stage yet with my children, but when I do get there I'm dreading this talk. I wasn't allowed to date until I was over the age of 18. Which was good for me, and will be important for my children as well!

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  37. I am not in the teen stage yet but it's so important to educate our children.

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  38. The wheel is good to use as a way to discuss the topic.

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  39. This is great stuff. I got 2 girls who are not in their teens yet. Maybe I'll put off buying the shotgun. Thanks for sharing.

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  40. Glad I got time before my kids hit that stage

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  41. This is really a sad subject that happens too often. It is important to talk about!

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  42. Great read. This is a must for your teens

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  43. Thanks So Much for Sharing These Extremely Important Tips on How to Talk to Teens About Dating Violence, I Really Appreciate it! I Don't Personally Have Kids but I Have 2 Nieces & 2 Nephews So I Worry About Them a Lot! I Think These are Very Important Tips That Everyone Should Know, Thanks Again for Sharing! Have a Great Evening! - Jana

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I appreciate your thoughts - Colette

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