Dating Abuse: How to Talk to Your Teen

It's never too soon to talk to your teen about dating abuse. Know the facts and risks about teen dating abuse. Abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional. It includes deliberately hurting feelings, name-calling, or controlling money.

Life presents many chances to discuss abuse with your teen. You can:

  • Talk about events from TV, movies, or real life.
  • Ask your teen what a positive relationship looks like.
  • Ask your teen what an abusive relationship looks like.
  • Ask your teen if she knows anyone who is being abused and, if she does, talk about ways to help.
  • Remind your teen that dating should be fun.

If you find your teen is being abused, you can:

  • Map out ways to stay safe.
  • Discuss options with your teen. Your local domestic abuse program can help.
  • Remind your teen of the right to say NO, even after she or he has said yes.
  • Let your teen know she can always come to you for help.

Don't judge your teen, or push her to talk, as she may stop talking about the abuse. Don't blame your teen for being abused. Remain calm and supportive of your teen's response. Your teen may just be trying to understand dating and respect. If your teen is in immediate danger, call the police and your local domestic violence program for support. Remember, dating abuse also happens online and through texting.

Teens who need help can call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:

1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453)

To learn the facts and risks about teen dating abuse, go to:

To speak with someone about abuse or locate a local domestic violence program:

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) (TTY 1-800-787-3224)

For more information, visit