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He was spending more late hours with her on the phone.
They realized it was much more serious than they imagined when they walked in on him in his room and he clumsily tried to hide a razor blade under his pillow.
How can parents improve their monitoring of the signs of dysfunctional teen dating and relationships when teens can be so secretive and indirect?
There are a few early signs that should cue parents that open communication about what is happening is needed immediately: Parents do need to intervene in many of these situations because teens are limited in the skills and tools they possess to stop behaviors that are frightening them.
In these types of relationships, risk-taking behaviors are often solicited by a boyfriend or girlfriend as evidence of caring.
Emotions become currency, or bargaining points, and distort normal feelings of caring and affection that we would want our adolescents to carry into their adult relationships.
For us, it was a wake-up call about how we had to do more than just trust him.” Chris and Jane aren’t alone in their situation.
A recent Family Circle magazine survey revealed that 25 percent of teens have experienced harassment in dating relationships, 71 percent have had rumors spread about them by partners, and 75 percent of parents report not knowing about their teen being physically hurt or bruised by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Parents may have difficulty detecting this problem until several incidents have already taken place, and long-term emotional changes have already occurred.
"I think it's about the maturity," she relays, recommending that parents meet the person their son or daughter is dating to decide if both of them have enough maturity to handle the relationship.
"If you meet him and decide he is wonderful, she should be allowed to date him," she says.
Even single incidents, being pressured to send an inappropriate cell phone picture that is later forwarded to other teens, for example, leads to immediate feelings of guilt, anxiety, and shame.
In some very unfortunate cases, teens may have thoughts or fantasies of suicide as a way of ending their situation.