Valentine's Day is coming...... but February is set aside as Teen Dating and Interpersonal Violence Preventions Month in the US.
With the influx in community violence, sexual assault and bullying in the news... more and more people are asking just why this is like this.
Studies from the Atlanta based Centers for Disease Control near Emory University have some very specific information they have learned about teen relationships. Here's the official CDC Teen Dating And Interpersonal Violence Preventions Fact Sheet link. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/TeenDatingViolence2012-a.pdf
Most of what these and other researchers are saying is two fold.
1). Empathy/Sympathy shortage. Empathy is when a person can experience or relate to another's pain in a given situation, and feel it too.
Sympathy, is when another persons situation generates a response of caring, but the person observing may not feel it too.
People who are aggressive and bullying in relationships are not absent of feelings. Brain studies shown from about 2009 until now, that aggressive persons are triggered to generate MORE pain in a pained person. So the bully HAS feelings about what is happening, but they seek to torque it, not STOP it. People who are aggressive in relationships lack skills both in empathy and sympathy. http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/04/bullies-born-raised.html
2). Relationship violence in youth will show itself again in adulthood relationships and in parenting one's own children.
For parents, teachers and community and church leaders, the message is simple.
Providing education and guidance about healthy relationships early on, both by discussing healthy interactions and MODELING healthy interactions encourages your young person to give and expect respectful interactions with others.
This article is first in a series.