By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
As we’ve already discussed this month in our series on “It’s Teen Dating Violence Month -- Let’s Talk!!!,” talking with teens about dating violence can be uncomfortable and scary. It’s hard to know where to start. And so, to continue with our efforts to get you talking with the teens you know about dating violence, today we want to bring you…
5 Un-Cringeworthy Ways to Start a Conversation with Your Teen about Dating Violence
If just the thought of trying to start a conversation with your teen about this topic brings up feelings of embarrassment, or you aren’t sure how to start that conversation in a way that won’t feel awkward and threatening, here are some possible ways you might bring up the topic:
1. “Can we talk? As you’ve been starting to think about dating and getting to the age where you’ll be doing that, there are some things that have been on my mind that I’d like to hear your thoughts on.”
2. “I'd like to talk with you about dating. I know it may be a little uncomfortable, but I think it's something important for us to talk about.”
3. “I was reading an article (web-site, etc) about teen dating violence. It had some really interesting points that I'd like to share with you.”
4. “I've heard that teen dating violence is really common today. What have you heard about this?”
5. “I can remember what it was like when I first had a boyfriend/girlfriend (or when my friends first started dating). I was sort of scared and confused about it all. What has this been like for your and/or your friends?”
Of course, you can play around with the wording of the above questions, and you may find that one of these conversation starters is a better fit than the others for you and your teen. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable bringing up this subject! But your discomfort need not prevent you from opening this dialogue.
What are some other ways that you can think of--or perhaps even have used--to start conversations with teens about dating violence? We’d love to hear your ideas, which can be really helpful to others struggling how best to have these conversations in their own lives!