Talk About It, this year’s theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, engages everyone in conversations about healthy relationships and how to navigate what may be an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
For those who have only been in or seen unhealthy relationships in their lives, talking about those behaviors is important because they may not realize that there are other ways to have relationships.
What can you talk to your teen about?
- Warning Signs: Talk about the warning signs of dating abuse, not just physical abuse but emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. This #ThatsLove/#ThatsNotLove post can help you recognize and compare healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
- Positive Behaviors: Don’t just discuss the negative possibilities of a relationship. Talk about positive dating relationships and what healthy teen relationships look like. Teen Leadership Council member Abigail talks about what that looks like to her. Talk about your experiences including how you could have done things differently.
- Relationships in Media: Take a look at how the media you and your teen are personally familiar with portray relationships, both romantic and non-romantic. Start with this popular post on the subject to get some ideas on how to start. For instance, many movies, TV shows, and books show stalking as romantic or harmless when it is actually very dangerous.
- Consent as a Process: Sex and sexual acts are part of teen relationships so consent has to be part of that relationship as well. Talk about consent as a process. Giving consent for sexual activity is not a one-time event, it is an ongoing conversation about boundaries and respect.
If you and your teen want to learn more about healthy relationships, how to support those who have been in abusive reIf you and your teen want to learn more about healthy relationships, how to support those who have been in abusive relationships, and teaching others about these topics, visit The Retreat’s education pages to learn about workshops and programs for teens and adults.