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How can I help if my child is dating someone who is abusive and controlling?

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WRCNM wants you to know, you are not alone in this. Parents are doing so many things that help their child be safe, learn, grow and heal every single day. Below is a list of ideas for you:

  • Parents are busy and juggling so many things to make sure their families have everything they need. Taking the time to slow down and listen can open so many doors for your child. Listening and letting your child know they can share concerns with you without judgement is essential for your child to feel comfortable with ending an abusive relationship. Make sure they know the abuse is not their fault and they should not feel ashamed.
  • Your child may still have feelings for their partner when they talk to you. Focus discussion on the specific unhealthy behaviors, such as jealousy, belittling, and manipulation. Your teen can then better understand on their own why they need to leave the situation without feeling like you don’t respect them.
  • Support your child by being specific about concerns you have about the abuse they are experiencing. Help them understand they deserve to be in a relationship where they are respected and treated like an equal.
  • Create a space where your child feels comfortable talking with you. Honor their decision to seek help; let them know you are there for support and keep the communication channels open. Offer resources for additional support on how they can move forward with their experiences, understanding that you will be by their side as they begin their healing journey.
  • Understand the dangers your child may be facing if involved in an abusive relationship. Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan can be reached 24/7 for support, information and resources by calling (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also a good resource, at (800) 799-7233.
  • WRCNM counseling and advocacy services are available for children and their family members – you are not alone, we are here to help. To learn more or to make an appointment, call the 24-hour help and information line at (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995.
  • It’s common young people may have more than one role model in their life. As parents, you are the constant role model for your child. You can make a positive difference by modeling and learning more about the characteristics of healthy, respectful relationships. Find more information in the resources listed below.

If you have other questions, please call the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan’s 24-hour help and information line at 231-347-0082 or 800-275-1995.

Online resources:

(Sources: Loveisrespect and Joyful Heart Foundation)