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When teen romance rages

Recognizing and preventing teen battering

Recognizing and preventing teen battering

Perhaps you don’t like your daughter’s boyfriend. He texts her constantly and has pulled her away from her friends, family and former activities. He puts her down and she’s become sullen and withdrawn. The relationship just doesn’t seem healthy to you. 

Your parental instincts are likely right. According to Domestic Violence Services, Inc. – a non-profit agency providing confidential advocacy, support and emergency services for survivors of domestic, sexual and dating violence and stalking, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.  Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told  anyone about  the abuse.

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Watching for signs

While it is difficult to acknowledge that your child could be a victim, it is even more difficult to realize that your child could be a perpetrator. According to, things to look for when observing a relationship include:

  • Apologizing/making excuses for a partner’s behavior

  • Loss of interest in activities

  • Stops seeing friends and family members

  • Extreme jealousy and possessiveness by partner

  • Partner’s complaints that parents don’t like him

  • Controls behavior/checking up constantly/wanting to know where partner’s been

  • Violent behavior mentioned causally or  laughed off as a joke

  • Witnessed violent lose partner’s temper, striking or breaking objects

  • Unexplained injuries or explanations that don’t make sense

Fearless! Hudson Valley Inc. offers a 24-hour hotline, a shelter, one-on-one counseling, support groups and advocacy through their Teen Dating Violence Prevention program. Youth educators work with teens, parents, and teachers to educate and help end abuse.

Linda Freeman is a freelance writer in Marlboro.

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