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Dating abuse hotline: 866-331-9474

It may be hard to think of your teen as having an intimate relationship, let alone an abusive one. But now, more than ever, your son or daughter needs your support.

Educate Yourself

As a parent, you can help your teen build healthy relationships and avoid abuse. Start by:

Don’t Wait

It’s never too early to talk to your teen about healthy relationships. Even if you don’t think your teen is dating yet, having these conversations is important to preventing dating violence and ensuring that your son or daughter will come to you with questions about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Get Break the Cycle’s tips on talking to your teen.


Defining Healthy Relationships

All relationships are unique. But what do you expect from someone you would go out with? What makes a relationship good or bad? What do you think makes a relationship healthy? What do you think healthy relationships look like, feel like, and sound like?

Actions and Talking Points:

  • In a healthy relationship there should be respect, safety, support, individuality, fairness and equality, acceptance, honesty and trust, communication and it should be fun.
  • Encourage emotional awareness. Teach your child how to express his or her feelings (both good and bad) appropriately.


What are your friends’ dating relationships like? What are the words that your friends use for dating? What is the difference in these terms and how long do your peers stay together? Do they make a commitment to each other? Are there certain things that boys want that girls don’t? Are there things girls want in these relationships that boys don’t want?

Actions and Talking points:

  • Compare your child’s notions about the roles of males and females.
  • Mutual respect should be a key part of any relationship.

Personal Boundaries

What are some examples of someone saying or doing something that crosses your personal boundaries? Everyone has a right to communicate how they want to be treated by others. What can you say and do to communicate your personal boundaries? When does playing or teasing become too much and is no longer fun?

Actions and Talking points:

  • Personal boundaries help define your expectations about how you want to be treated in a respectful, non-threatening and comfortable way on your own terms.
  • Everyone has a right to communicate how they want to be treated by others
  • Communicating personal boundaries includes telling others your expectations and expressing when your boundaries have been crossed.
  • Everyone has different personal boundaries and it’s important to treat a person how they want to be treated.

For Youth Who Are Starting to Date or Have Friends that Are

Have you ever seen any kind of abusive behavior between two people who are going out? Have any of your friends been in bad relationships? Have you ever worried about them or felt like they were being treated badly?

Actions and Talking points:

  • Your preteen’s definition of “abusive behaviors” or “violence” might be different than your own. Talk to them about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors.
  • Trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child if you see warning signs of harassing or controlling behavior.

Conversation Starters

Talking To Your Young Teen About Healthy Relationships

  • Defining Healthy Relationships
  • Dating
  • Personal Boundaries
  • Youth Who Are Starting To Date Or Have Friends That Are

Talking To Your Young Teen About Friendship

  • Helping A Friend
  • Positive Problem Solving
  • Alternatives To Peer Pressure

Talking to Your Young Teen About Dating Abuse

  • There’s No Excuse for Relationship Abuse
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