Relationships between young people can be intense. The teenage years are a time when people practice skills and techniques that they will use as they grow into adults, and interpersonal relationships are part of that process. Teens are especially vulnerable to getting involved in toxic teenage relationships because they may not yet have the judgment or experience they need to understand healthy boundaries.
Parents of kids who are involved in toxic teen relationships might need to seek help for troubled teens, especially if the situation has become dangerous. Venture Academy can help; reach out to us today at 866.762.2211.
Facts to Know About Toxic Teen Relationships
The first and most important fact to know about toxic teen relationships is that teens of any gender can be at risk. The second most important fact to know is that teens of any gender can be the victim or the aggressor in the situation. Both need help and intervention in order to extricate themselves from the relationship and learn the skills and communication skills they need to keep future relationships healthy.
Research suggests that teens who experience partner violence are also more likely to experience things like alcoholism, substance abuse, negative interactions with law enforcement, eating disorders, and other unwanted outcomes. This is why, if your teen is involved in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, it is vital that they get some help.
8 Signs of a Toxic Teenage Relationship
How can you tell if a teenager is involved in a truly toxic or unhealthy relationship and might need help? Here are eight signs to look for that can help you figure it out:
- Jealousy—Becoming angry or hurt when one partner spends time with other friends or loved ones or when other obligations such as sports, schoolwork, or work take precedence
- Controlling behaviour—Making demands, having unreasonable expectations about appearance or behaviour, monitoring or watching one partner’s movements or actions, stalking
- Guilt tripping—Acting overly sad or hurt by words, actions, or circumstances, giving the ‘silent treatment,’ threatening to leave or even to harm themselves
- Getting physical—Pushing, pinching, being excessively rough when ‘playing,’ slapping, hitting, punching, grabbing, or other forms of violence
- Going through belongings—Snooping in a partner’s bag or locker, going through a phone, reading private correspondence, reading private chats on social media
- Not respecting boundaries—Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, doing something that one partner doesn’t like and then claiming to have forgotten, arguing or debating about a boundary
- Yelling or belittling—Raising voices, getting loud when things don’t go their way, insulting, name-calling, condescending, treating a partner as if they can’t manage on their own
- Sexual assault—Not respecting ‘no’ or ‘stop,’ pretending to use protection (aka “stealthing”), unwanted touching, forced sexual behaviour, sex while a partner is too intoxicated to consent, rape
What to Do If a Teen You Care About Is in a Toxic Relationship
If you are a parent, the best way to help is to make conversations about relationships and sex normal. Things that can’t be freely talked about can turn into ugly secrets. Being willing to speak openly and honestly with your teen about sex and relationships doesn’t mean you have to ignore your values. It means that you can express those values alongside truthful and straightforward information so that your teen will be armed with what they need to be healthy.
Venture Academy Can Help Teens Involved in Toxic Relationships
At our treatment centres across Canada, our staff of highly trained clinicians has the knowledge and experience to help teens caught in unhealthy situations learn the skills and get the help they need to grow into healthy adults. If you or someone you care about has been struggling in an unhealthy relationship, reach out to our staff today at 866.762.2211.