What are the warning signs of teenage dating?

The signs of abusive dating relationships include bruises, scratches, or the sudden appearance of long-sleeved clothing, makeup and indoor wear of sunglasses to hide marks of physical violence. In addition, if your teen acts withdrawn, cries frequently or seems very nervous or fearful, these are signs that an abusive boyfriend/girlfriend could be making your teen's life miserable. Similarly, alarms should ring if you notice your teen's grades falling and that he or she is no longer interested in being with other friends and family members.

Before you get to this point, however, there are early signs that you and your teen should be aware of that are red flags to warn you to stay away from such a person. If the new boyfriend/girlfriend is very jealous of your teen's other friends, wants to keep tabs on where your teen is all the time, insults your teen, is very controlling, has an explosive temper, tries to pressure your teen sexually, owns or uses weapons, likes to hurt animals or boasts of hurting other people, makes baseless accusations against your teen, abuses alcohol or drugs, or likes to roughhouse with your teen too much, you may be faced with a potential abuser. If your teen gets a lot of text messages or emails every hour, especially in the middle of the night, you could also be suspicious.

To protect your teens from abusive relationships, warn them away from people who put them down, who abuse alcohol or drugs, and who belittle them and their opinions. They deserve to be treated with respect. Tell them to keep away from alcohol and drugs themselves in social situations to make it harder for them to be taken advantage of, and that they can call you at any time if they're in a situation that they're uncomfortable with and you'll come right away to get them.

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