Watching your teenager go through an abusive relationship can be one of the most difficult things for a parent. Naturally, as a parent you want to intervene and stop the relationship. I have complied a few tips that can help you and your teen.
Keep all communication lines between you and your child open. Besides noticing other warning signs such as a loss of concentration, being fearful of upsetting their partner and unexplained injuries from your child, another way to understand their abusive relationship is by talking to them. If you choose to sit your child down be careful of the things you say to them. For example, don’t start off by yelling or blaming your child. This may cut of all hopes of communication and the process of helping them will be slowed down.
Sit your child down and explain to them what a good and bad relationship is or you can talk to them about their own relationship. Ask questions and stay alert and ready to hear anything. However, do not force your child to talk if they do not want to.
Always validate how your child is feeling. Do not write their relationship off as “puppy love” or say “they will get over it by tomorrow” because this may not be the case. If your child is inside of an abusive relationship than it should be taken as seriously as anything else; because an abusive relationship is violent and usually will only get worse with time. Validate your child’s feelings because when this is done, then your child will understand that you truly want to help them.
Wanting to give help is a natural reaction. However try to limit your advice and try giving options instead. Do not automatically tell your child to break up with their partner and end it there, but instead suggest that your child creates a new aspect of their life that their partner shouldn’t be involved with, whether that is spending time with the family, joining a religious group, or doing community work. Then offer to do it with your child so you two can spend more time together. Work at building your relationship with your child rather than breaking their relationship with the abuser.
While building your relationship with your child remind them of how great they are to you and continually praise them so your child’s confidence will be up. Make sure your child knows that you support them but not the relationship and that you are always around to listen and help.
If you have more questions or need other tips, you can speak with another adult, call a hotline or get in touch with your local domestic violence organizations. Remember that the process may be long, but you are an amazing parent for sticking by your child’s side and helping them through this difficult time.