Feb  15th, 2017
Weekly Chatter
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
What is it?
Teen dating violence is defined by the CDC as "physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12-18 in the context of a consensual, romantic relationship." According to research,
  • 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide.
  • Only 1/3 of teens involved in an abusive relationship confide in someone about the violence.

Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide & violent behavior.

Why does it happen?
Teen dating violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks increase for teens who
  • Believe that dating violence is acceptable
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
  • Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
  • Use drugs or illegal substances
  • Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
  • Have a friend involved in dating violence
  • Have conflicts with a partner
  • Witness or experience violence in the home

Teens who have been abused hesitate to seek help because they do not want to expose themselves or are unaware of the laws surrounding domestic violence.

What can parents do to prevent it?
Parents should begin teaching their children about healthy dating behaviors in the early years, prior to the onset of puberty as research shows 72% of 13 and 14-year-olds are "dating." Kids need to be taught that dating should be engaged in seriously and considered integral to the process of finding a lifetime marriage partner who shares their values and goals.

Keeping it simple, one of the best things parents can do to prevent teen dating abuse is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen. 

Parents should always aim to know where their children and teens are, what they're doing, who they're with and when they'll be home.

For more information on preventing teen dating violence
Dating - ACPeds blog post
Porn Contributes to Dating Violence
Pornography is a major factor contributing to the rise of teen dating violence. Pornographic content often teaches that violence and sex are supposed to go together as women often take drugs to dull the pain of what is done to them in porn.

A recent study found that 64% of 13 -24 year-olds actively seek out pornography weekly or more often. These young brains can become wired to associate sexual arousal with pornography before ever engaging in sexual activity which puts them at risk for sexual dysfunction and porn addiction as adults. In addition, studies show that pornography often drives other risky sexual behaviors, like physical abuse, sexual abuse and having multiple partners.

Honest and open communication is the first step to convincing adolescents not to use porn. 

Kids need to hear that sexual feelings are experienced by everyone and are a normal part of developing into an adult. They also need to be taught how to respect the gift of their sexuality by exercising good judgment, modesty and self-control.  Kids and teens also need to be taught how to think critically about the media they expose themselves to and evaluate the effects the media can have on their developing brains.

Parents, pediatricians, teachers and other professionals working with children can help teach children and teens to think critically about all forms of media as well as their own media habits by asking themselves questions like
  • "Who created this?"
  • "What are the messages?"
  • "How does any particular form of media influence their values, beliefs, attitudes, goals, how they spend their time, and the kind of person they are becoming?"
  • "Is it making them a better person and helping them build a positive future-or not?"
More than ever, our children need guidance in this crucial area from their parents and teachers and others who love them.

For more information
The Impact of Pornography on Children
How is Porn Addictive? - infographic
5 Ways to Convince Your Tween NOT to Use Porn
How Pornography Addiction Affects the Teenage Brain - infographic
Backwards Parenting                              #WeeklyBlogPost
Though having a child can help make someone's life more fulfilling and full of savor, it's important for us as parents to remember: our children aren't here to give us self-gratification.

For information on the dangers of excessive individualism and "me-first" culture,

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