If you discover your teen is violent or abusive toward their signifcant other, you need to do something about it. Read this list – and if you feel like you’re out of your depth, pay special attention to #10: Get Professional Help.
Ten Steps to Take Right Away
- Do not ignore it. Hiding your head in the sand will only make things worse.
- Get your teen out of the relationship right away. You need to protect the other teen. Make them stop all contact: no texts, no calls, no social media, no pressuring their friends, none of that whatsoever.
- Separate the behavior from the person. If your teen is abusing someone, it means they have a problem that you need to help them resolve.
- Acknowledge their feelings. Recognize and understand their emotions, but do not validate their actions. Your teen needs to understand that any type of abuse – emotional, physical, or social – is unacceptable.
- Get to the root. Find out what’s making your teen so angry. The reasons do not condone the behavior, but understanding is the first step toward stopping it.
- Model appropriate behavior. Make absolutely sure that you are not being abusive to anyone in your life. Parents are teen’s first examples: if there’s abuse or a history of abuse in your home, then that’s likely to be the root cause.
- Teach social and emotional skills. Remind your teen to focus on empathy and compassion. Victims of abuse can suffer long-term physical and emotional consequences.
- Teach appropriate boundaries. Show your teen that in healthy relationships, clear emotional and physical boundaries exist.
- Teach them how to handle conflict. Teach your teen there are productive ways to disagree, even when the feelings are raw and the emotions are intense.
- Get professional help. Seek the help of a fully licensed and credentialed psychiatrist or therapist.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.