February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February 10, 2022

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a day when our romantic and even platonic relationships are recognized and celebrated.

 Here is what healthy relationships are characterized by:

  • Talking openly and honestly with each other
  • Listening to each other
  • Valuing each other’s feelings and needs
  • Compromising
  • Speaking kindly to and about each other
  • Giving each other space
  • Supporting each other’s interests, hobbies, careers, etc.
  • Building each other up
  • Honoring each other’s boundaries, no matter what

In a healthy relationship you have the freedom to be yourself and to be loved for who you are.

Because relationships are such a large part of teen life, it is important that we recognize the significant impact a healthy or unhealthy relationship can have. Adolescent stress is already at an all time high. Teenagers worry about many things including loneliness, friendships, dating relationships, their future, and the state of the world. Being a teen in today’s world is complicated. Technology and social media add to the complicated nature of relationships.

Nationwide, youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.  Studies show that approximately 10% of adolescents report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year.  Girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences, including suicide attempts, eating disorders, and drug use.

Additionally, the burden of Teen Dating Violence is not shared equally across all groups—sexual minority groups and some racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by many types of violence.

As a parent and or trusted adult, make sure you are a safe person for all the teens in your life to share their concerns with. If you want to have an impact, start first by being a good listener. This means listening without judging. Remember many teens do not want to feel like you are telling them what to do. Building a trusting relationship is a process. Start by taking the time to be a good listener to the teenagers in your life. Give advice gently. Often your teen wants advice, but first they need to know that you care.

Listen to their concerns and provide input without judging them or giving in to heightened emotions. Acceptance and unconditional love are part of the trusting relationship you build.

Whether you are a teen or a parent of a teen, this month and reflecting on dating and domestic violence may be difficult for you. Here are some suggestions that might help you to prioritize YOU and your MENTAL HEALTH:

  1. Don't compare yourself to others.
  2. Treat yourself and practice self-care.
  3. Invest in the people in your life. Celebrate and connect with your family and friends.
  4. Stay off social media. Instead read or listen to a biography of someone courageous you admire.
  5. Make yourself a care package.
  6. Take the time to do an activity you really enjoy.
  7. Visit a museum, take a class, or go to a concert.
  8.  Wear your favorite clothes.
  9. Splurge on lunch today.
  10. Finally, Make a list of the blessings in your life.


If you are a teenager in a dangerous, abusive, or violent relationship, help is within reach. Reach out to a trusted adult or one of these resources:

  • Appleseed CMHC Mental Health 24/7 Confidential Crisis Line: 419.289.6111
    • https://www.appleseedmentalhealth.com/
  • Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven 24/7 Confidential Hotline: 419.289.8085
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