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Part 1 - All’s Fair In Love And War: Protecting Your Child From An Abusive Relationship

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Most of us have taught our children/teens about the perils of trusting and befriending a stranger. Yet, most of us probably don’t even consider, discuss or even entertain the idea of the risks presented by those we know and love and consider family, friends, and lovers.

According to experts, there is much truth to the old adage that “The one who loves you is also the most likely to hurt you”. In fact, recent statistics show that it’s more probable than not that you personally know someone who has been or currently is an abusive relationship. And if you weren’t ready to accept your teen dating, how well prepared are you to accept that she is in a damaging and dangerous relationship.

The reality, according to statistics however, remains that 25 percent or teen girls are in abusive relationships and 95 percent of these young women fail to tell anyone or speak up. In fact, many of them feel they deserve it and that this behavior is “normal”, and they willingly accept it and set up a very detrimental pattern for future intimate interactions.

While some may not show outward signs of abuse, they may be subject to other pervasive and prevalent forms. Remember, abuse transcends physical mishandling and includes, mental/emotional, and sexual abuse.

Psychological/Mental/Emotional Abuse: The person who said: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” obvious did not know the power of prose. Remember, Hitler once said: “If you say something loud enough and often enough, you can get the masses to believe it”. A person in a psychologically abusive relationship is the target of humiliating, debilitating insults as well as a victim of inappropriate language. Other behaviors include attempting to control the other person’s behavior, activities, trying to destroy his/her self-confidence, self-esteem, and isolating the person form friends and family. This type of abusive behavior may also include threats of violence that may lead to serious harm.

Physical Abuse: This extremely damaging behavior does not discriminate by gender and is increasingly prevalent among both boys and girls of dating age. Physical abuse includes: hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, biting, hair pulling, restraining, and/or use or threats of use of a weapon such as a gun, knife, etc.

Sexual Abuse: Many teens feel “pressured” into having sex. This type of psychological strain CAN be and often is classified as abuse. Forcing someone to have un-consensual and unwanted sex (including inappropriate touching, heavy petting, oral sex, and forceful intercourse) is considered sexual abuse. The term sexual misconduct also refers to pressuring someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to engage in sexual activity.

Next: Part 2 - Warning Signals>>

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Part 1 - All’s Fair In Love And War: Protecting Your Child From An Abusive Relationship

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