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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). 

AWARE® is dedicated to empowering teens and young adults with the skills and information they need to build healthy relationships.
Email: • Office: 301.315.8040 • Confidential Helpline: 877.885.2232