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Metropolitan Urges Parents & Teens to Learn the Signs of Teen Dating Violence

Sometimes harmful behavior is cleverly disguised as love. Dangerous dating relationships, in which one partner uses destructive behaviors to exert power and control over the other, can have long lasting effects. February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month and Metropolitan Family Services, one of the Chicago area’s most established providers of programs and counseling to help low-income families, urges parents and teens to learn the signs of an unhealthy dating relationship.

Teen Dating Violence Facts

  • One in three teens in the U.S.is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, according to Break the Cycle, a national organization addressing teen dating violence.
  • Dating violence happens in every type of relationship, in every community.
  • Dating violence isn’t just physical; emotional and sexual violence can be just as devastating.

Know the Warning Signs

Common behaviors exhibited by abusers:

  • Checking a partner’s cell phone or email without permission
  • Constantly putting them down
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating their partner from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting them in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling their partner what to do

If you or someone you know is in a relationship with a partner who is demonstrating these symptoms, get help immediately. Contact a domestic violence services agency or confide in a school counselor, faith leader, the police or a local hospital.

“Teens are most likely to go to their peers for information and support and rarely report abuse in relationships to parents or other adults,” says Heather Flett, Supervisor at Metropolitan Family Services. “It is important to provide peer education and support programs to teens as well as foster relationships with knowledgeable and supportive adults whom they can turn to if they are in a violent relationship.” According to Flett, one of the best ways to eliminate teen dating violence is to challenge the beliefs and attitudes that support the use of violence and to educate teens about the warning signs of an abusive relationship.

Metropolitan Family Services has programs geared toward teen outreach and education about unhealthy relationships. The STAR program, an evidenced-based teen dating violence prevention program, operates in three schools on the southwest side of Chicago. Special programs also are planned to recognize Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month:

* The Calumet Center is hosting an interactive teen dating violence Workshop, “Let Your Heart Rule,” on Feb. 13, 773-371-3600.

About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services is a human services agency with a mission to strengthen families by providing them with expert guidance and a broad array of programs designed to help them overcome the challenges they face.

With seven community centers located throughout Chicagoland the suburbs, Metropolitan is one of the area’s most established and experienced human services providers. Metropolitan is recognized for the collaborative approach it takes within each of its communities and as a leader in its use of metrics to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs.