“Breaking that cycle of violence ourselves is important.It’s also equally important that children who have witnessed abuse get professional help themselves to deal with their feelings about what happened and to learn how to break that cycle, too.” As they begin to date, we want teens to understand that their life will feel big and expansive within a healthy, good relationship, says Stohl.After the breakup, Fure had obtained a protection order because her ex was stalking her and had threatened suicide.When Fure’s parents won a settlement against Snohomish County that acknowledged local law enforcement had downplayed the risk to their daughter’s life, they donated part of the settlement money to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) to help educate teens and adults about dating violence.An abusive or controlling person: The resulting training kit “In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence” includes a composite character based on Fure.After teens or adults experience the story during a role-playing exercise, they read a letter from Fure’s mother explaining that this character is based on the experiences of her daughter.
All of your parent friends will gain knowledge if you host a “parents’ night” to experience the adult version of “In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence.” There’s also a classroom edition designed for teachers and teens. Adults also need to model a healthy balance of power within the parent/child relationship.
Speaking of adults, we know that parents are the first and most powerful role models for what healthy dating, romantic and partner relationships look like, says Langford. We teach our kids consent in situations that have nothing to do with relationship violence, says Johnson, who is also a faculty member at Great Conversations. When our son says, ‘I hate Grandma,’ we don’t say, ‘You don’t hate Grandma.’ Instead we say, ‘Tell me more,’” Johnson says.
“Paying attention to our own relationships is crucial. This helps kids learn to voice their feelings and desires.
Experts suggest every parent of a tween and teen learn what conversations to have, what signs to look for and what steps to take— even before your kid is dating.
You might be concerned that you don’t have the expertise to talk with your kids about these issues in a way that will teach them what they need to know, but experts say any parent can and should confidently have these conversations.