Category Archives: For Parents
This winter break is an opportunity for parents to reconnect with their teens and start a conversation about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Even if your teen isn’t dating it’s a good idea to start giving guidance on the subject. Your teen may have concerns about a friend’s relationship or be influenced by abusive behavior they’ve seen. Opening the discussion is an important first step. Your teen may not have a lot to say about what is going on in his/her relationship, but they will be listening even if they hide it well!
It may sound hokey or old fashioned, but opportunities (“teachable moments”) abound for parents to talk to teens. It only takes a moment to share a story, ask a question or mention a new item you’ve seen. Don’t get worked up on how to begin just go ahead and take the moment:
- at breakfast, lunch or dinner
- while making holiday treats
- while watching TV (particularly a news story or if dating violence is portrayed)
- while traveling or waiting in traffic
- while decorating the tree
- while taking time to relax
- while taking a walk
- at any moment that seems suitable
Teens who aren’t in a relationship need to know what makes a healthy relationship. The influences of music, movies and television often give teens a false picture of what is acceptable behavior for couples. Your teen probably knows of friends who have relationships that they are concerned about or that they’ve noticed just aren’t working well. Check out our information on Defining a Healthy Relationship. Teaching your teen about what is healthy in a relationship now can help prevent problems later.
A nation-wide assessment of school counselors concludes that most do not have the proper training to help victims of teen dating violence. The August 2012 issue of Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published the study which looked at the knowledge, training, perceptions, and practices of school counselors in dealing with teen dating violence incidents (described in the report as Adolescent Dating Violence ADV).
A questionnaire was sent to 550 members of the American School Counselors Association. From the 305 responses (58%), the report found:
“A majority of the school counselors reported that they did not have a protocol in their schools to respond to an incident of ADV (81.3%). Additionally, the majority (90%) of counselors reported that in the past 2 years, training to assist survivors of teen dating abuse has not been provided to personnel in their schools, their school did not conduct periodic student surveys that include questions on teen dating abuse behaviors (83%), and their school did not have a committee that meets periodically to address health and safety issues that include teen dating abuse (76%).”
The Centers for Disease Control recently released it 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance based on surveys of teens in grades 9-12 covering the September 2010-December 2011 time period. Surveys were conducted nationwide and included 43 state surveys and 21 large urban school surveys. An eye-opener for parents, the surveys covered such topics as health-risk behaviors (tobacco, drug and alcohol use), bullying, dating abuse, and emotional health. Tables within the report display the data by state and select cities.
Of concern to DASH is the survey’s results about teen dating abuse. Quoting directly from the report:
During the 12 months before the survey, 9.4% of students nationwide had been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend (i.e., dating violence). Overall, the prevalence of dating violence was higher among black (12.2%) and Hispanic (11.4%) than white (7.6%) students; higher among black female (11.8%) and Hispanic female (10.6%) than white female (7.7%) students; and higher among black male (12.4%) and Hispanic male (12.1%) than white male (7.4%) students.
ABC News program 20/20 updates a story originally aired on April 5, 2005. Again, from tragedy a mom took the initiative to improve her community. See our link to the The Ortralla Lu Wone Mosley Foundation on our Other Voices tab.