Recognizing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence Toolkit

3.0 Dear Parents

mother and daughter

It can happen to us! It can even happen if we are the parents who have conversations about dating violence, pay attention to our children, and have children who excel in school and make good decisions. Thinking it won’t happen to our children prevents us from seeing when they are struggling and need help.

Dating violence occurs even if there aren’t labels to describe the relationship. Many relationships today don’t have labels like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” It can be friends who are physically intimate with each other but do not consider themselves to be in a relationship, also known as “friends with benefits.” Or it could be an open relationship where those in the relationship also date and are physically intimate with other people. We must not miss warning signs because we assume they are just friends, or we believe they are in a relationship with someone else. If we only speak about dating violence in terms of relationships with labels like boyfriend and girlfriend, our children may not recognize that what they are experiencing is considered dating violence.