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Talk to your child about what it means to be treated well, and about the signs of a potentially harmful situation.
If a teen is not being treated appropriately, he or she needs to know what steps to take in order to stay safe.
She says the teen years provide the best time to be open with your child — when family members and adults are nearby and able to identify warning signs.
Self-confidence can provide excellent protection against abuse, says Reana Johnson, a UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore and president of the university’s chapter of “Queen in You,” a mentoring program for middle school girls that helps them discover who they are instead of seeing themselves through the eyes of potential boyfriends.
“If you’re dating someone but don’t think it’s going anywhere, that’s not dating,” Brooke says.
Strict definitions aside, all teen relationships are learning experiences — from middle school pairings to high school hookups to watching a friend date his or her true love.Ask teens how many kids they know who date and they are quick to respond.“Everyone,” says Durham eighth-grader Wyatt — though he adds, “Not me.” Mason, an 11th-grader in Charlotte, says “more than half” of his friends date. Brooke, a 10-grader in Raleigh, says the classic definition still applies: A longer-term relationship between two people who are romantically interested in each other.Being in a committed relationship can be safer than being a part of a crowd prone to hooking up.Brooke is careful to separate sex-based relationships from love-based dating.
She advises teens not to be in a rush to start a relationship.