It’s natural for kids to become a bit more secretive during their teen years. They’re maturing, testing boundaries, and learning how to be more independent as they head toward adulthood. Checking in with them regularly to learn about what’s going on in their lives, at school, or with friends is important. But what if you suspect that something unhealthy or even dangerous is happening to your teen? If you start to notice any of the following signs, your teen might be experiencing abuse:
- Your child’s partner is extremely jealous or possessive to the point where your child stops spending time with other friends and family. When asked how they feel about this, your child might say something like: She thinks my friends don’t like her, so she doesn’t like spending time around them. Or, She thinks they’re a bad influence on me, and she’s just trying to help.
- You notice unexplained marks or bruises.
- You notice that your son or daughter is depressed or anxious.
- Your child stops participating in extracurricular activities or other interests.
- Your child begins to dress differently; for example, wearing loose clothing because their partner doesn’t like for them to show off their body or attract the attention of someone else.
- Your child worries if they can’t text/call their partner back right away because their partner might get upset.
- Your child expresses fear about how their partner will react in a given situation.
Staying tuned in to your teen takes patience, love, and understanding – plus a little bit of effort. If you are concerned about any of your teen’s relationships, reach out and get them talking as soon as possible. There are several ways you can help, including passing along some useful resources.
This month is teenDVmonth, and our advocates are always here if you or your teen have questions. Give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. CST.