What if I think my teen is abusive?

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It can be difficult to imagine your teen displaying abusive behaviors in their dating relationships. It is important not to ignore these behaviors. Some early signs of unhealthy behaviors may include:

  1. Being upset about their partner spending time away from them
  2. Asking their partner to change how they dress
  3. Showing jealousy towards their partner
  4. Calling their partner names or putting their partner down
  5. Going through their partner’s phone, with or without permission

If you notice these behaviors in your teen, use the opportunity to have an honest discussion with them. Share with your teen the characteristics of a healthy relationship, and point out the behaviors that concern you. Ask your teen what is making them jealous or upset, and share healthy ways to deal with those emotions.

If you feel your teen needs more help than you can provide, try to identify a local counselor or program specific to working with teens who display unhealthy behaviors.

Sometimes teens can display negative behaviors in relationships without understanding that their behaviors are controlling, or abusive. If you suspect your teen is mistreating their partner, whether intentionally or not, you can sit them down and share your concerns.

  • I notice when [name of their partner] is around, you [ share the behavior you are concerned about]. That isn’t healthy in a relationship, what do you think?
  • What makes you feel you need to [share behavior you are concerned about] with [ name of their partner]?
  • What does a healthy relationship look like for you? Let’s talk about

Posted in: News, Teen Health Week

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