Dating violence can start at an early age. If you have a teen who has started to date, you need to be mindful of the signs of teen dating violence, should they present themselves. While you may not be able to prevent the violence altogether, there are steps you can take to help your child through the recovery process. In the guide below, we will discuss some parenting tips for helping a child after teen dating violence, along with other resources you may explore for recovery.
Help Your Child Understand It Is Not His/Her Fault
Manipulation often accompanies physical and emotional abuse, where the person committing the abuse makes the victim feel like he or she is to blame. It may take some time for your child to get past that mindset and realize that the violence was not his or her fault. When discussing the matter with your child, make sure you emphasize that your child was not the person committing the violence. Your child will slowly start to rebuild his or her self-esteem and gain a better perspective on the matter.
Be Aware Of Emotional Triggers For Your Child
Depending on how traumatic the violence was, your child may react in an unusual way to day-to-day situations. For instance, hugging or touching your child may cause him or her to flinch or push you away. This is especially true for victims of sexual assault, or those who experienced consistent physical abuse. Learn what your child’s triggers are and be respectful of them. They will become less severe as your teen continues to heal.
Expect Emotional Outbursts
Teenagers are known for having emotional outbursts in general, let alone when they experience some form of trauma. Your teen may have a hard time processing what happened to him or her, which may lead to irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and more. All of these can trigger “meltdowns” or “tantrums” that you need to be ready for. Understand the root underneath those feelings, and truly listen to what your child has to say. Try to remain as calm as possible so you can help your child get through this difficult time.
Be Open To Conversation But Not Forceful
It’s important for your teen to understand that he or she has a support system, but that does not mean that you should try to force him or her to talk to you. Many teens have trouble expressing their feelings and emotions, regardless of the circumstances. Encourage conversation as often as possible, but do not make your child feel pressured to talk to you. That will only push your child further away.
Talk To Your Child About Teen Counseling
Teen counseling is an excellent resource for victims of teen dating violence. In this program, your child will work with a counselor to understand what has happened to him or her. The counselor will also help your teen work on ways to recover from the trauma so he or she can move forward to a happier place in life. If your teen is facing other issues, like low self-esteem or bullying, the counselor can provide assistance for those areas as well.
Your teen could go through individual counseling, or you may go through family counseling together. This will depend on what environment works best for your child. Some teens prefer talking to a counselor on their own because there are things they do not want their parents to know about. Others feel more comfortable having a familiar face in the room with them. Talk to your teen about your counseling options, or contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers to learn more about our family counseling programs. We would be more than happy to get you set up with a counselor in Michigan who specializes in teen dating violence.