I strongly believe that teens should not be dating. I also know that teens hunger after this trying to fill that need to know that they are loveable and worthy of love. Because of this real need, too many teens accept a poor version of love often contorting their very selves to remain in a relationship. In fact, nearly 20% of both boys and girls reported themselves as victims of physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. That is 1 out of 5!
When the survey asked about psychological abuse–broadly defined as actions ranging from name-calling to excessive tracking of a victim–more than 60% of each gender reported being victims and perpetrators of such behavior. Stop and ponder that—over 60%! Boys and girls! Over half of teens believe this behavior was okay in a dating relationship–all so they could stay in the relationship to figure out if they are loveable and worthy of love. Source.
This grieves me. These beautiful and fragile hearts of teens—and women!!!!—are being destroyed because they believe this is okay as long as they have a relationship.
From this grief, I’ve created a free downloadable resource to hopefully change this thinking error. Remember doing flash cards with your daughter when she was learning the multiplication table? Or maybe she still uses flash cards to help her on those end-of-the-semester finals. These are flash cards you can print out and run through with your daughter. The answer she has to give is simple—either yes or no. Questions are posed such as:
- There are some things that the two of you just can’t talk about because you fear his reaction.
- His influence develops your ability to love and be responsible.
- He humiliates you and belittles your opinion.
- He is able to admit being wrong.
There are 34 such cards in this pack which you can download, print, and shuffle here. At various times bring them out and do a run-through. Your daughter will certainly roll her eyes, possibly groan, and very likely will slump her shoulders. Do it anyway. As silly as this seems, this time together will cling in your daughter’s memory—especially when she needs to remember this stuff the most.
About your sons, I know sons are also able to be victimized in their relationships. I have one son who has had a couple of abusive girlfriends. As we walked with him through these tough times (grievously tough!!!!), we found a serious lack of resources for boys/men. These cards can be used with sons also, just change the pronouns. The effect will be the same in your son’s memory.
Will these cards change this awful trend? Maybe–at least for your daughter or son. This is something to help your daughter or son not believe she or he needs to accept any abusive behavior to be loved. Please try. Your child’s heart is just too beautiful to be damaged so greatly.