Thursday, September 3, 2009

Teen Violence

Recently, the nation was stunned when two of today’s hottest and promising stars were involved in an act of domestic violence. Chris Brown and Rihanna were in a car on the eve of the Grammy’s when, according to reports, Chris hit, choked, and bit Rihanna. The world saw first hand her bruised and swollen face when a photo was leaked to the public. What’s most saddening about this incident is that both Rihanna and Chris are barely 21 years old. Who would think that teenagers would be involved in domestic violence? Well….the answer may surprise you.

According to research, 33% of teens report experiencing some kind of abuse in the United States alone. Females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of any age group, research shows.Teen dating abuse is like domestic violence in adults in that it also is a pattern of abusive behavior used to control another person. As with adults, abuse can be emotional, sexual, or physical. Typically teens do not have the experience or maturity to recognize that they are involved in an abusive relationship. They often have a “romantic” view of love, and want so much to be independent that they may not tell their parents what is happening to them. That is why parents have to be very aware any and all possible signs that abuse may be occurring.

Here are some clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:
· There are physical signs of injury
· Truancy; sudden decline in academic performance
· Changes in mood or personality
· Use of drugs/alcohol
· Isolation
· Pregnancy
· Has a sudden change in the way he dresses or looks
· Stops hanging out with friends, and starts spending all free time with the romantic partner.

It is important to address your concerns with your teen if you notice any of these behaviors. Unfortunately, without help, the violence will only get worse. Therefore, make certain to intervene and provide emotional support. Listen, don't judge, and try to assess how your teen feels about the situation. Next, contact a local domestic violence organization, as they often provide group therapy sessions. But whatever avenue you chose, make sure to take it seriously because your teen’s life and well-being depends on it.

Happy Parenting,

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