By GalTime Teen Parenting Expert, Barbara Greenberg, PhD
Who is Your Teen's Holiday Date?
Whether your teens bring home their dates for the holidays or not, you may want to check them out . One in four teens report having been psychologically abused by a dating partner. One in eight report having experienced physical abuse.
These aren't just trivial "guesstimates," they're national statistics furnished by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents beware: I am very much aware (through my professional experience) that only a very small number of these teens confide in their mothers about this. An even smaller amount open up to their fathers. Why? Because they are embarrassed, ashamed, scared of your reaction, and of the repercussions of telling you.
Related: May/December Romances: Not Good for Your Teen
Be on the lookout for the following red flags that may indicate that your teen is involved in this type of relationship:
1. A controlling and possessive partner.
2. Withdrawal from friends and family.
3. Intense focus on the relationship to the exclusion of family plans.
4. Your teen may be constantly checking their messages, as the partner is keeping track of where she/he is and what they're doing.
5. Unexplained bruises and heavy make-up to cover them up.
Related: I Walked in On My Teen Having Sex: Now What?!
What's a parent to do if you notice any or most of these red flags?
1. Discuss immediately with your teen in a loving and supportive manner.
2. If you must, limit their access to technology so that she is not bombarded by messages.
3. Help them phase out the relationship even if this means getting the help of a professional.
4. By all means, do not berate your son/daughter for their involvement in this relationship. Their self-esteem has already been chipped away at by the partner.
5. Be available to embrace your teen with your heart and your arms.
Good luck and may the holidays be safe and loving for you and your teens.
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