Tips for Parents of Tweens & Teens
Facts about Teen Dating Violence & Tips for Talking About It


Relationships are tough. At any age.

Friendships can be confusing and dating can be downright scary – for youth and parents.

Talking with your kids about healthy relationships is important but not always easy.

Here are some facts and starting points for conversations.

Who’s Dating?

  • 47% of 11 to 14 year olds say they have been or are in a dating relationship
  • 72% of tweens and teens day they started dating by age 14.
  • Tween dating is not as innocent as we want to believe yet only 7% of parents believe their children have done more than kiss.
  • Tweens and teens who have experiences sexual activity are more likely to experience dating violence.
  • 62% of tweens have friends who have been verbally abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Who are they talking to?

  • Tweens are more likely to talk to their parents – 67% identify mom or friends as someone they can talk to about relationships.
  • Teens are more likely (78%) to talk to their friends about relationship concerns than their mom (48%).
  • Only one-third (34%) of tweens or teens who experience dating violence told anyone about the abuse.

Starting the Conversation

  • Ask about relationships – theirs and friends at a young age.
  • Ask them about behaviors of others that bother them – what are they? Why is it a problem?
  • Ask what they consider okay behavior in a friendship or relationship – do they think name calling is okay? Why?
  • Ask where they see concerning behavior – social media? At school?
  • Remind them that you there to listen.

Keep Talking

  • Talk with your teen about what healthy and concerning behaviors look like – respect vs. put downs, trust vs control, etc.
  • Ask your teen what they see in the relationships of friends. It they see abuse, what would they do?
  • Talk about boundaries – its okay to want to spend time away from their partner.
  • Watch for red flags and bring them up – excessive texts, calls, one partner making all of the decisions, fear of not responding to calls/texts fast enough.

Social Media & Technology

  • Unhealthy behaviors may not be obvious.
  • Excessive texts, harassing posts, etc. are red flags.
  • Talk about healthy communication.
  • Talk about how to handle requests for inappropriate pictures.
  • Talk about consequences of what is posted on social media or sent by text.

Statistic Sources: Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study: