Changing the culture that leads to domestic violence.

If you need a quick exit, here is an escape button for you to use.

mom disciplining daughter

So you hate your teen’s partner? Here’s what to do…

As parents, protecting your children is your most sacred and important job. The mere thought of your child getting hurt – emotionally or physically – feels like a punch to the gut.

However, we also know young people will likely face some heartbreaking and complex issues throughout their adolescent years, and as parents, we want to be the ones to guide them through those issues in a healthy, safe and non-judgmental way.

One in three young people will experience teen dating violence before the age of 18 and 100% of young people are curious about dating and relationships.

Whether your teen is dating or not, having consistent conversations about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships and modeling respectful relationships is important to ensuring their safety and well being. Start early and often so that when your teen is experiencing something tough, they know they can count on you to help them through it. 

So, what if your teen is dating and you despise their partner?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching the subject:

  1. Keep an open mind and approach the conversation with a sense of curiosity rather than judgment.
  2. Talk about the behaviors that are bothering you, not the person. 
  3. Try to avoid ultimatums like, “if you do not break up with them, you’re grounded.” 
  4. Decide on next steps together (i.e. safety planning, following up with a school social worker, etc.).

If you discover your teen’s partner is abusive or violent, you must act. If the abuse is happening at school, reach out to the school’s Title IX Coordinator to talk about filing a report. If you feel that your child is unsafe and needs extra community support, reach out to an agency with domestic violence advocates.

Most of all, let them know this is not their fault, that they are brave for coming forward about the abuse, and that you are here every step of the way.

Need a domestic violence advocate for your teen? Reach out to Firefly Children and Family Alliance. Your teen can also reach out to a national text line from Love Is Respect (text Loveis to 2-2-5-2-2), and an advocate will chat with your teen about what is going on and direct them to local and national resources. 


By Lindsay Hill Stawick, DVN Associate Director