As a parent, your first and foremost concern is the safety of your children. You want to protect them and ensure that they are safe. You watch out for injuries, failure and heartbreak. But what if you suspect that they are being harmed by someone they love? How can you tell if your child is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship?
Relationships exist on a spectrum, so sometimes it can be difficult to tell what behavior is just unhealthy from behavior that is abusive. Each relationship is different and the people in it define what is acceptable for them, so what’s never OK for you might be alright for someone else.
If you’re concerned that your child is being abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend, you may notice that their boyfriend or girlfriend does some of the following things:
- Checks their phone, email or social networking sites often and without permission
- Calls them names or demeans them
- Isolates them from family and friends
- Checks up on them with constant calls and texts
- Is extremely jealous when they spend time with other people
- Does not allow them to work or have access to funds
- Withholds affection as punishment or manipulation
- Has violent outbursts that are mostly directed at your child
- Threatens to hurt your child, their children, you or your extended family in any way
- Has physically harmed them
If you notice any of these characteristics are present in your child’s partner or relationship, you should make an attempt to speak to them about what might be happening. Be supportive of them and their decisions, but explain to them that you’ve noticed some questionable behaviors and are concerned for their safety. Knowing that they are supported can mean the world to them.
If someone you care about is being abused, we can help you decide your best course of action. Give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE any time to speak with an advocate.