Help Your Child
Step 1: Understand what abuse is.
Dating abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior that often leaves victims feeling isolated and alone.
Step 2: See if there are warning signs that your child may be in an abusive relationship.
- Does your child apologize and make excuses for a partner's behavior?
- Does your child seem depressed or anxious?
- Does your child cancel or change plans often?
- Does your child call and/or text to an extreme?
- Does your child act fearful of upsetting or angering a partner?
- Does your child have dramatic changes in weight, appearance, or grades?
- Does your child have unexplained injuries?
- Does your child give up hobbies or time with friends and family?
- Does your child seem to lose confidence in themselves?
- Does your child have difficulty making decisions?
Step 3: Try these strategies to provide support to your child if you think they are in an abusive relationship or if they tell you that they are.
- Listen with patience and compassion, not judgment.
- Let your child know the abuse is not their fault.
- Let them know that you are concerned for their safety.
- Do not judge or make victim-blaming statements.
- Listen and believe what they tell you. Do not minimize your child’s experience due to age, inexperience, or the length of their relationship.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Don't tell them how they should feel.
- Do not pressure your child to break up with their partner. Recognize that it is ultimately their decision.
- Use I-statements to share your feelings and what you are seeing or hearing. (e.g. "I felt really scared yesterday when I heard him scream at you.")
- Do not put your child’s partner down. Speak about the behaviors that concern you, not the person.
- Offer to help them find a counselor, attorney, or other adult they can speak to confidentially.
- If your child decides they want to end their relationship, help them develop a safety plan.
- Call our free and confidential helpline for additional suggestions at 1-877-88-JCADA(52232).