This is a guest post from Ikechi Awazie, another winner of our #BloggerSupport Guest Post Giveaway. He speaks about teenage dating and violence and then he offers great insights into some possible causes of it and the role of both parents and schools in preventing and reducing the high incidences in our society. Here now is Ikechi…
I got to the edge of the school grounds, and he came walking toward me . . . . I kept telling him to leave me alone, looking down. When I didn’t react to him, he grabbed me by my wrists and dragged me to his car. By this time, everyone was walking by on their way to school. Buses and teachers were driving up. My last hope was to yell for help . . . . I started calling, “Help me!” He started slapping me. I kept screaming for help. He grabbed from behind and put his hands over my nose and mouth. I couldn’t breathe . . . . The last thing I saw was about twenty or twenty-five of my classmates standing within a few yards of me, watching.
—Salina Stone, high school senior. Christian N Carlson
New research shows that teen dating violence is a growing problem. 40 percent of teens have been in an abusive relationship, and of those, 43 percent have been abused while at school.
Teenage dating violence is a growing problem all over the world. Every one out of three teens has experienced dating violence in a relationship. Even though awareness, campaigns and seminars have been targeted towards curbing the problem, it still has a gaining ground.
I stumbled upon a post on the internet by a worried Mom who asked the question “Who should address the problem? Is it Schools or Parents?
I remember, during my days as a teenager, I witnessed some dating violence among my peers. Some were sad while others were shocking. I kept asking myself why one would face such pain and keep going on. I believed it made no sense but as I grew, I understood better which is why I can understand the plea of a Mom on this issue.
Causes of Dating Violence
You might think that peer pressure is the reason for dating violence and I totally agree. The world of a teen is adventurous. Yes, they are adventurous and if they are not properly guided, they could go out of control. It is said that young people learn from what they see rather than what is said to them. It’s unfortunate that the environment in which most teens are based is not favorable.
The media has introduced behaviors that are not just insane but don’t depict good cultural norms. Teens usually want to act like adults in everything especially when it comes to relationship. They want to date in such a way as it’s done in the movies, as they see their parents and neighbors do it. However, they soon realize that relationship is different than they ever imagined; It’s takes a lot of work and responsibility. Unfortunately, some teens that don’t have a clue turn to violence as a tool for relationship, putting their peers in a lot of pain.
So who should address the problem of Teen’s dating violence? Before I give an answer, let’s look at how these 2 factors (Parents and school) affect dating violence among teens. What’s their connection?
There is a saying that “Charity begins at home”; this is very true. Teenagers are the most curious set of individuals and are also very brave. Who is the first person they interact with each day? It is the Parent.
Parents have the advantage of influencing their children in a positive way. It amazes me when parents have the mindset that society should be responsible for such task. True, that other factors play a role in shaping the behavior of their child but it starts with the Parent. Unfortunately, most parents are bad role models for their children.
If you are a dad that beats his spouse or use words that are inappropriate in your home, then understand that, this will affect your child negatively. A mom that is abusive and keeps nagging would send a wrong message to a child. Teens emulate what they see at home and unconsciously display these characters among themselves. A family full of violence will only produce children that would be violent in relationships. Parents that make their children have an empty love tank, are exposing their children to dating violence.
Schools have been giving the responsibility to educate children in all facets of life apart from academics. Most parents are ready to pay big bucks just to see that their children get the best of education; everyone wants the best for their kids.
There is one thing for sure, no matter what people think, schools cannot imbibe character, norms and values better and as good as parents. They only thing they do, is to create a platform where children or teens can interact. Most peer pressure happen in schools, which is why the report above as stated is true.
However it is unfortunate that school authorities are struggling with minimization of sexual harassment among teens. It seems that they are oblivious to the situation as the rate of sexual harassment keeps increasing.
Parents vs. School: Who Should Address the Problem
So who should address the problem of Teens dating violence? The answer is very obvious; both parties are responsible for the wellbeing of the teens. Here are strategies and solutions that Parents and Schools can use to curb violence in dating among teens
Parent’s Role in Curbing Dating Violence Among Teens
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.
The good book gives us a great insight. Parents are to train their children and imbibe in them good manners. When it comes to sex education, rules and regulations isn’t enough as it is not efficient most of the times, parents need to educate their children on sex and let them know how this affects every facet of their life.
Most parents don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic with their children because they feel their children aren’t ready for such information but research shows that dating violent behavior typically begins from the ages 12 and 18 so parents must understand that at this age range, such education is very essential as this can be a great guide and positive influence to their personal development.
Being Good Role Models
I believe that to tackle teen dating violence, parents have to take the lead; they have to be up and doing; they need to become good role models to their kids.
Parents must be supportive and understanding even when they are faced with the complex behavior of their teenager. They must understand that at their age, they are just trying to make sense of life, so what better way for teens to learn than from the life style of their parents.
Resource Guide for Parents
If you need more information on parent’s role in preventing dating violence, I suggest you read “Ending Violence in Dating Relationship by Reverend Al Miles” who is an expert in the field of domestic violence and teen relationship violence .He explores the complex issue of teen dating violence in his book and give parents tip on how to end violence in dating relationship.
The School’s Role in Curbing Dating Violence Among Teens
Collaboration with Parents, Communities and Organizations
School authorities should encourage parents to be involved in school activities. An example is a report from iowaparent dot org on Involving parents: best practices in the Middle and High Schools. Their goal is to link parents and educators for student success. Though their report does not talk about dating violence but their activities can be drafted for solving dating violence. Parents can participate and form programs/activities with the teachers to tackle relationship issues among the teens.
There is also the need for schools to collaborate with organizations to work on effective preventive strategies. There are NGO’s whose sole mission is on the education and eradication of dating violence. Schools can enroll their students in such programs which would be beneficial and can help in educating the teens on the issue.
School Authorities also need the help of communities especially because teens interact with the communities after school hours. Communities can assist the schools by
- Being mentors to the teens in the community
- Spreading the word about dating violence prevention activities to the media
- Socializing with the teens by getting involved with the youth group at a place of worship or local community center
- Supporting businesses whose focus is on healthy choices for teens
The bottom line is that if parents and schools play their role in the life of the teens, then teens dating violence can be reduced to the barest minimum.
About the Author
Ikechi Awazie is a blogger who is a passionate follower of Christ. He considers himself as being fortunate to lead, inspire, equip and encourage others. He love to learn, help other people and to take on new challenges as he inspire others into action. He blogs at Be A Light To The World He also has a social media presence on Twitter and Google+