Adults are not the only ones who are abused by their partners, teens are affected as well. I have found an excellent website to help these teens and their parents, it is called Loveisrespect.org. Here is the link.
There are several excellent resources on this website. One is the “relationship quizzes”. There are 4 excellent quizzes a teen can take:
- Is My Relationship Healthy?
- Am I a Good Partner?
- Can Abusers Change? and
- How Would You Help?
At the end of each quiz a score pops up, along with a short bit of advice for the teen.
Another great resource on this website is a modification of the traditional “power and control wheel”. As the user moves around the wheel, a brief description of an abusive behavior moves into the middle of the circle, or “wheel”. For example, under the heading of “isolation/exclusion”, the behaviors that the abuser might take would be:
- Controlling what another person does
- Controlling who she/he sees, who she/he talks to, what she/he reads, where she/he goes
- Limiting outside involvement
- Using jealousy to justify actions.
In addition, for each heading there is a short video acting out what that controlling action might look like. During the video for “isolation/exclusion,” “Adam” is dating “Jenny”. He seems happy at first, when he saves enough money to rent a limousine for the prom. In the next scene, his friend is complaining that “Adam is totally whipped these days,” and he hardly ever sees Adam any more. He says Jenny coerced Adam to skip school on Senior Skip Day, saying if he didn’t he would be a loser, and she “doesn’t date losers”. Now, Adam is failing a class and might get kicked off the baseball team. In the final scene, Adam looks less happy. He says Jenny is acting “psycho” again. She is furious he went to the beach with his friend, and not hers.
This is typical abusive behavior. Abusers will often force their mates to choose between them and their mates’ friends and family, causing their mates to feel bad if they choose to do anything without the abusers.
The Loveisrespect website has a great Get Help page. It is broken into three categories:
- For Yourself
- For Someone Else, and
- For Legal Help.
The “For Yourself” category has one of the most detailed safety plans I have ever seen. A safety plan is a plan that a victim puts in action to keep his/herself safe whether he/she stays in the relationship or leaves it. Each person’s safety plan will be specific for that person. The one on this website is helpful and geared toward teenagers.
I highly recommend this website. For parents whose teens are in abusive relationships, this can be a great resource for you. It can often be hard to talk to your teens about their mates. If they are willing to check out this website, they can get some great information in a format that they can understand, and it won’t have to come from you. This can then free you up to just be a support for them. It would be best to be non-judgmental when you talk to your teens about their dating relationships. As you probably know, if you bad-mouth them, that will not likely cause them to stop seeing their date, but more likely drive them further into their arms instead.
Watching a loved one experience abuse can be almost as painful as experiencing abuse yourself.
If your teen is being abused, I pray that the Lord will uphold both you and your teen as you go through this difficult time. Try to lean on Him. Remember that He loves your child even more than you do. At times, it appears that God is far away and not listening to our pleas for our children. In Psalm 77, the psalmist has similar feelings. Notice what happens in verse 10:
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
When the psalmist focused on all that was going wrong in his life, he couldn’t sleep, and could not be comforted. But in verse 10, he began remembering all the deeds that the Lord accomplished long ago, and he decides in verse 13, what God is as great as our God?
Yes, What God is as Great as Our God?
He can triumph for your child even in this situation.
Question: Do you think your teen might be in an abusive dating relationship? If so, what have you done or could you do to help?
I pray blessings over you and your children.