You have a child

You have a daughter and you want to raise her to be strong. You want her to be able to recognize when a boyfriend may be a “bad” boyfriend for her. How do you do that?

First when they are very young, think about the messages you are giving them. For instance when they get hit on the playground what do you say? Do you say, “oh they were probably in a bad mood today and will be okay tomorrow?” If they take that to heart, think how that will playout in later life. Do you say “oh it’s a little boy, that is how they show they like you?” Think how that one will play out in later life. Teach them to tell the other child they want to be friends, but not unless they will play without hitting them or anyone else. And if they won’t stop, teach them to ask for help.

Encourage your daughters to stand up for themselves when they are in the right (without hitting.) And that it is ok to ask for help, from you or the teacher. That is something they should never be afraid of doing.

Ahhh, when they get to be teens it is something different. You don’t understand, you don’t know and you have never felt like them. All happening just at the time they are starting to date.

So how do you teach a teen about fair dating? Most teens listen to their peers more than their parents. Many teens have a myspace account. If they don’t have an account, they know someone who does. Most parents don’t like myspace, it scares them. Still, teens flock there.

Recently Cleveland, Ohio was rocked with the news that one of their own teens was raped and shot by her ex-boyfriend. Cleveland has decided to take the message where the teens live. They have opened a myspace account called “Reality Check Cleveland”.

It is set up in typical myspace format. But it is a different kind of myspace. One section describes how to tell if you are in a domestic violent relationship. There is a great graphic that tells of the honeymoom cycle of abuse and the circle of power under which an abusive spouse or boyfriend will keep the girlfriend under their control. And they have some videos

Video testimonials include those from girls who got out of abusive relationships, information on how to identify an abusive relationship, and how to help a friend.

I recommend it to anyone (adult or teen) who is in an abusive relationship, but I also recommend it for all teens. If they learn what to watch for, hopefully they won’t have the problem.

A big thanks to Trench for the lead on this story