You thought parenting a teenager was tough ... then your kid started dating! Negotiating teen dating can make parents of teens crazy. However, being well-informed and helping your kid be well-informed can go a long way in keeping them safe (and keeping you sane).
Dating abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter what race or religion they are, and no matter what their level of education or economical background. Dating abuse also occurs in same-sex relationships.
Informing your teen about dating abuse and their rights in a relationship can empower them and help them make more confident decisions in their relationships.
Share the following Teen Dating Bill of Rights and Pledge with your teen and encourage them to take the pledge online at loveisrespect.org
's National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.
Your teen has the right:
To always be treated with respect. In a respectful relationship, they should be treated as an equal.
To be in a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is not controlling, manipulative or jealous. A healthy relationship involves honesty, trust and communication.
To not be hurt physically or emotionally. Your teen should feel safe in their relationship at all times. Abuse is never deserved and is never your teen's fault. Conflicts should be resolved in a peaceful and rational way.
To refuse sex or affection at anytime. A healthy relationship involves making consensual sexual decisions. Teens have the right to not have sex. Even if they have had sex before, they have the right to refuse sex for any reason.
To have friends and activities apart from their boyfriend or girlfriend. Spending time alone, with male or female friends, or with family is normal and healthy.
To end a relationship. Teens should not be harassed, threatened or made to feel guilty for ending an unhealthy (or healthy) relationship. Teens have the right to end a relationship for any reason they choose.
Your teen should pledge to:
Always treat their boyfriends or girlfriends with respect.
Never hurt their boyfriends or girlfriends physically, verbally or emotionally.
Respect their girlfriend's or boyfriend's decisions concerning sex and affection.
Not be controlling or manipulative in their relationship.
Accept responsibility for themselves and their actions.
If you're concerned that your teen may be in an abusive relationship, check out Identifying Abusive Relationships in Teens
to help your teen identify abusive behavior.