Monday, September 28, 2009

We're Not Gonna Take It

If you're reading this blog, then chances are you're a parent. Which means you have kids. Which means you should be aware of the statistics on teen dating violence--and how to address the issue within your family and community.

This morning NPR reported on this underdiscussed topic and found that "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 1 in 10 adolescents reports an experience with physical violence from a dating partner. If other forms of abusive violence are included — from being threatened or emotionally harassed, to name-calling and insults — that number goes way up." Yeah, way up, to 1 in 4.

The good news is that, as parents, we have a say in what our kids learn about relationships. We can help them identify healthy partnerships. We can instill in them a respect for themselves and others. We can help them learn what to expect in their relationships--and what is just plain unacceptable.

It isn't easy. Not in a culture that glorifies violence and sexualizes girls from an absurdly young age. (Really, why would my preschooler need a leopard print cami and panty set?) It is almost like establishing an underground, counter-culture, one that glorifies respect, not abuse.

But it can and must be done. And it has to be we parents that make it happen. If not us, then who?

There are some terrific resources available online to help you get educated and get the conversation started. My favorite is MADE--Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse. (You've heard about MADE here previously.) They've got the bad news--the statistics--and the good news--what's being done to stop the cycle of abuse and how you can get involved.

Enough is enough, isn't it?


Kate said...

Enough was enough a long time ago, yes.

Kate said...

Also, it's necessary to teach girls that it is not OK to devalue themselves by talking negatively about themselves. Not to themselves, not about themselves to others. I don't know how we learn to do that -- did our mothers put themselves down? If a girl abuses herself, she opens the door for others to abuse her. Positive self-talk is vital to building a positive self-image. Having a positive self-image is vital to building a more loving, more productive world.