Social Work Spotlight: Teen Dating Safety

In an effort to spotlight the Social Work profession and highlight the contributions made by social workers to the community, March has been named National Social Work Month. As part of this recognition, the Shalom Bayit program of Jewish Family & Career Services in partnership with JumpSpark and PJ Our Way will present Love Shouldn’t Hurt, an educational seminar designed to educate parents about teen dating safety and healthy dating relationships. A companion program to the Love Shouldn’t Hurt healthy relationship program for teens, this parent program will give parents:

  • Awareness and increased knowledge about dating abuse
  • Ability to recognize warning signs of unhealthy/abusive relationships
  • Skills to talk with their teens about healthy relationships and dating safety

The Love Shouldn’t Hurt event will take place on March 27th 2019 from 7:00-9:00 pm at MJCCA in Dunwoody For more information and to RSVP:

In addition to attending the event, here is some helpful information for parents to know.

What Is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, abusive behaviors that a dating partner uses against their girlfriend or boyfriend.

Did You Know?

  • 1 out of every 3 teens has been a victim of an abusive dating relationship
  • 2 out of 3 parents have never spoken with their child about teen dating abuse
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.

What do I need to know as a Teen?

Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:

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


What Do I Need to Know As a Parent?

You can look for some early warning signs of abuse that can help you identify if your child is in an abusive relationship. Some of these signs include:

  • Your child’s partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
  • You notice unexplained marks or bruises.
  • Your child’s partner emails or texts excessively.
  • You notice that your son or daughter is depressed or anxious.
  • Your son or daughter stops participating in extracurricular activities or other interests.
  • Your child stops spending time with other friends and family.
  • Your child’s partner abuses other people or animals.
  • Your child begins to dress differently.


What Can I Do As a Parent?

  • Tell your child you’re concerned for his or her safety. Point out that what’s happening isn’t “normal.”
  • Be supportive, understanding and non-judgmental. Let your son or daughter know that it’s not his or her fault and no one deserves to be abused.
  • Believe them and take them seriously. Validating their feelings and showing your support, can make them feel more comfortable and trust you with more information.
  • Be careful not to minimize your child’s situation due to age, inexperience or the length of their relationship.
  • Help develop a safety plan. One of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship is when the victim decides to leave.

Remember that ultimately your child must be the one who decides to leave the relationship. Your support can make a critical difference in helping your son or daughter find their own way to end their unhealthy relationship.Other helpful resources:

For the full explanation of how to help and other information visit: or

5 things you can do to help reduce the likelihood that your teen will experience any form of dating abuse:



For more information or if you or someone you know is experiencing dating or domestic violence and would like support, contact Shalom Bayit at 770-677-9322 or If you’re interested in bringing Love Shouldn’t Hurt to your teen’s youth group, synagogue, Jewish day school, or summer camp, contact Rebecca Brown at (770) 677- 9371 or

Rebecca Brown is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Outreach and Prevention Social Worker for the JF&CS Shalom Bayit program.


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