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Young love—a picture usually painted so perfectly, every teen wants to experience that first connection with someone. What often isn’t talked about is violence in teen relationships. Although it may be a tough subject to tackle with any teen, it is of the utmost importance that we teach our young people about healthy relationships, consent and respect. According to loveisrespect.org, one in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. We need to start as early as possible to teach our children and teens about the dangers of dating violence and how to maintain healthy, non-violent relationships.

Some tips for teens on maintaining healthy relationships from loveisrespect.org:
• Speak up if something is bothering you.
• Respect each others wishes, feelings and values.
• Disagreements are natural; compromise.
• Be supportive and encouraging toward one another.
• Respect each other’s privacy; healthy relationships require space.
• Create healthy boundaries—an expression of what you want out of the relationship.

Having a healthy relationship with someone should not restrict these abilities:
• Going out with friends and spend time with family without your partner.
• Participating in hobbies or activities you enjoy.
• Not having to share passwords to your cellphone, email or other technology.
• Respect individual likes and needs.

There is never that perfect moment to talk to your teens about this issue, the time is now. We need to talk to them time and time again, let them know there is never an excuse for violence in a relationship, not even once.

If you or someone you know is a victim of teen dating violence, help is available. Please contact the Advocacy Resource Center for more information at 906‑632‑1808 or toll free at 877‑639‑7820.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY