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Talking to Your Kids about Teen Dating Violence

A year or two ago, Or Ami’s Temple Teen Night held a program, sponsored by the Family Violence Project of Jewish Family Service, which dealt with teen dating. It profoundly affected our teens, as they had a place to talk about their responsibility to themselves and their peers in terms of appropriate and inappropriate dating.

The Sunday Magazine of the New York Times now published a blog article in Motherlode about

Today is “It’s Time to Talk Day,” supported, as it has been for the past five years, by Liz Claiborne, Inc. …. , and the Burkes [a couple whose child was murdered by the man she was dating] will be spending the day talking. They are both high-school teachers in Rhode Island (Ann teaches health, Chris teaches culinary arts), and they believe the warning signs of abuse in dating should be taught to teens the same way they are taught about sex and drugs. If she had learned that abusers “tell you that your family doesn’t really love you and your friends don’t really like you,” then Lindsay might have been less willing to allow her boyfriend to shut her family and friends out, Ann says. If she had known “that she needed a safety plan when she left him, because when a victim leaves the relationship is when they are at the greatest risk of being harmed,” then Ann believes Lindsay might still be alive today.

The article offers some important links:

The Burke’s goal is to have it taught in every middle and high school in the country, and this morning they teamed with Claiborne to launch a group called MADE, Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse. Teens are reluctant to talk to their parents about this subject, the logic goes, and they turn to their peers instead. So what parents can do to help is make sure those peers are educated and informed, and the goal of MADE is to expand the availability of information to high school students by requiring the subject be a required part of the curriculum in every state. You can learn more about MADE, here. You can visit the Love Is Not Abuse Web site, here. You can contribute to the Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund, here. And teens who can’t talk to their parents can visit loveisrespect.org or call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (1-866-331-9474, or TTY 1-866-331-8453.) Because it’s time to talk.

Enough said?

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