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What do you think would happen if a group of boys were instructed by an adult to slap a girl? Do you think the average youth would choose the loving response?
Watch the short social experiment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2OcKQ_mbiQ.
While most teens would agree that abuse is wrong, studies show:
How can we empower our teens to not end up like 33-75% of teens who are in relationships that tear them down?
Conversations and modeling loving relationships are key to helping your teen grow in understanding the difference between relationships worth keeping and relationships worth letting go. These ongoing two-way talks will help your teen see more and more the ways that love seeks to protect and how abuse seeks to control.
Having a clear understanding of love places us all in a better position to give and receive love. The Bible gives a descriptive definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describing love as patient, kind, not jealous, not bragging, not proud, not rude, not selfish, not short-tempered, not keeping records of wrongs, not enjoying things that God does not enjoy but enjoying truth, protecting, trusting, hopeful, and loving even when things get hard.
Engage in discussions with teens about healthy versus unhealthy relationships based on recent or current relationships, as this will help them conceptualize these love and abuse concepts into their actual relationships. Begin this conversation well before your teen is old enough to date and continue it well after dating has begun.
The below can be used as a discussion guide of the common manners of abuse and contrasting ways of love:
The website www.loveisrespect.org is a resource for teens that provides no-cost access to trained advocates 24 hours a day by text, phone call or online chat. You can text “loveis” to 22522 from your phone or go to their website for more information.
Are you wondering if you are in a healthy relationship or how you can get help for someone in an unhealthy relationship; click on this Relationship Quiz: http://www.loveisrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/HR-Quiz-final.pdf or connect with a Counselor at Harmony Counseling Center online http://harmonycdc.org/services/counseling-center/schedule-a-session/ or by phone: 214-751-3932.
Tizita Seifu is licensed by the State of Texas as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She received her M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary which included studies in Clinical Counseling, Bible Exposition and Systematic Theology, and a B.A. in Psychology from UT Dallas. She has worked for over 8 years facilitating and managing nonprofit social services for individuals and families facing abuse and persecution. Most recently, she has counseled individuals and families for over 5 years primarily in the areas of anxiety, depression and family conflict.