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Talking To Your Teen About Domestic Violence

Talking To Your Teen About Domestic Violence

By Vicki Little

The NFL has drawn more than it’s fair share of publicity lately, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. Just as often as my husband tunes into the latest football game, I’m changing the channel as I hear about yet another NFL domestic abuse case. We all have different opinions about what’s happening – and there’s a good chance that your tween or teen feels the same way. He or she may want to talk about domestic violence, so it’s helpful to be prepared.

The question you hear may be as simple as: “Mom, can you believe that she really stood up for him? Is she kidding?” Or maybe your child has concerns about child abuse and the use of corporal punishment.

As with many issues facing teens these days, it’s important to be open to discussing your thoughts and feelings with your kids so they know where you stand. Then they’re not just hearing from their friends or media personalities, whose views may or may not line up with your family beliefs. Here are some suggestions on what to say and do when you face questions about domestic violence from your tween or teen.

First, pay attention to what your teen is saying about the news attention. Are they saying things such as:

  • the wife deserved it, or that she shouldn’t have made him mad
  • the child was being bad
  • that punch was “awesome”
  • girls need to understand how much pressure their boyfriends are under

Answer a question with a question, and get them to answer first. Ask questions like:

  • How do you feel about this?
  • Are any of your friends afraid of their boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Why do you think Janay is standing by his side on this issue?
  • Do you think that what happened to the child was simply because they are trying to raise a good child?
  • How do you and (boyfriend/girlfriend) communicate when you are mad?

Once the conversation starts to flow, it is fine to let your children know how you feel. You can tell them that domestic violence is never OK, it is an issue that needs to be addressed, and it is the responsibility of the NFL to address the issue correctly.

If you discover or suspect that your child is a victim, or know someone who is, reach out to a qualified professional to help you immediately. You can call your local police station, your child’s school, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For more information on domestic violence or if you need help, visit http://www.thehotline.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAF.

Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.

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