How to Talk to Teens About Dating Violence

teen girl hands nailpolish cellphone

Parents: Start Relating Before They Start Dating.

Welcome to one of the most challenging phases of parenting—adolescence.

In all likelihood, your young teen is experiencing significant emotional, psychological and physical changes. And, while your teen needs you more than ever to help them through this challenging time, they are also seeking independence and turning to peers. While it may seem easier to let your teen shake you loose, hang on. They really do need you.

Right now, your teen is forming relationships that set the stage for future relationships. Given that 1 in 5 high schoolers experience dating violence, you’ll want to be sure you do your part to help your child understand what a healthy relationship feels and looks like. Below you’ll find information and tools to help you talk to your kids about healthy relationships, guidelines on how to navigate their world of cell phones and social networking and how to talk to your kids about being an upstander vs. a bystander when it comes to bullying.

Starting the Conversation Early

Warning Signs


Get Help
If you suspect your teen may be a victim of abuse, you are the most important resource and advisor for your child. If you need support there are people and resources available to help. Remind your teen that he or she deserves a violence free relationship and that abuse is NEVER appropriate and NEVER their fault.

If you think your son or daughter may be controlling, abusive, or violent with his or her partner, tell your child that abuse and violence are NOT acceptable and that violence will not solve problems. Let him or her know when you truly care for someone you don’t hurt them or try to control them. Abuse is a choice and there are resources and counselors that can help him or her understand the consequences, the alternatives to violence, and how to stop the abuse.

If your teen isn’t ready to openly communicate with you about his or her relationship, let him or her know there are confidential resources and trained individuals available to answer questions and help avoid unhealthy relationships. Pass on the information below, but let your teen know you are always available to talk.

If at any time you feel that you or your teen are in immediate danger, call 911.

Love is Respect 
866-331-8453 TTY
National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-SAFE (7233)
800-787-3224 TTY
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline
800-656-HOPE (4673)