3 ways to teach teens to recognize spousal abuse

As parents, we always take care to help our children with their problems. But if we look a little further ahead, our education today will have an impact on our children’s relationships in the future. So how can we help our children demand the best for themselves when they marry?

“My biggest nightmare is that my daughter will be in an abusive relationship,” a good friend recently told me.

We talked about the fear that we couldn’t prevent, that we as parents would step aside and see the danger, but we couldn’t save them. That her spouse will distance her from friends, family, isolate her, hurt her financially, threaten her, and even hurt her physically.

It is the nightmare of all parents and the same goes for children.

So what can be done to reduce the risk of our children entering into abusive relationships?

Before we begin with the ways to educate children to choose healthy relationships, it is important to clarify: if you are the parent of someone who is in an abusive relationship, or is in one, it is highly recommended to leave an abusive relationship with help. from a professional who specializes in the field. It should also be noted that the way we educate our children will affect the likelihood that they will become the adults we want and expect.

But it is important to understand that there is no certificate of insurance here, that your teen is free to choose, and there are other influencing factors.

Here are three ways to raise children so they don’t get into abusive relationships as adults:

1 – Sense of self-esteem

In order to put a limit on behavior that doesn’t suit me, I need to be connected to my sense of worth.

A person with an established sense of worth, who believes that he or she is worthy and equal, will refuse to accept abusive behavior. It will leave anyone who is abusive. Therefore, the important role of parents is to strengthen children’s sense of worth and self-image. Strengthen their perception of themselves as people worthy of respect, happiness and joy and the right to deny themselves.

It is not easy, because sometimes it conflicts with our desire to see them succeed, realize their potential, or enter a profession that we believe is desirable. Sometimes with very good intentions, as if to cheer them up, we actually beat them. It takes a lot of awareness, asking yourself all the time how to respond in a way that strengthens your sense of worth.

Practical tip: try to establish habits of strengthening value.

Walk into the room, smile at them, and say, “I just want to see you.” Hug, caress, kiss and say: “I love you, I appreciate you … I realized that … it was nice that you sat with us”, etc.

Even when there is no response from the other side, follow a daily “you are worth as much as you” trickle.

And at the same time, try to stop pushing.

Stop asking, “Why aren’t you?” or say phrases like “You always are or you never are.”

2 – Modeling

Children learn from our personal example. They observe how we live and learn to live. It is important to show them that you set limits for dealing with difficult people. They observe how we react to abuse and it is important to show them that you are not willing to be abused, not by your colleagues, your manager or your partner.

It is also important to show them how to respect others and themselves.

When we respect ourselves, they learn to respect themselves and understand that they have the right to set limits in dealing with others. This is the hardest part to implement because it requires a change in yourself. It is difficult and sometimes treatment is needed. But from my experience with patients, it is possible.

3 – Communication

It is very important to teach children how to maintain communication and stay in touch. Do not disconnect. Always keep an open channel. Even in times when we are “on fire”. Put the relationship first. Send a “we are always here. We are an address for you. Always contact us when you have problems. “

Of course, we want a good and open relationship, but that is not always possible. Even when it seems that they have disconnected from us and do not intend to return to an open and warm relationship, continue to be there for them and convey a desire for connection. And if the situation is difficult, seek guidance.

The subject of abusive relationships is painful. We have no control over the decisions of our children. And yet we must equip them with concepts and tools that will help them be their best. And it starts when they are children.

Yael Kerem is a psychotherapist and parent counselor, specializing in adolescents and young adults, at the Adler Institute. This article was originally published on The Jerusalem Post’s sister website, Walla!


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