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Resources for parents and guardians

Blog post

Parents and guardians naturally have a powerful and primary role in supporting healthy adolescent relationships and preventing dating abuse. For example, positive parent-child relationships appear to influence the development of other positive social relationships, such as relationships with friends and romantic partners [1].

There are many resources to support parents and guardians in understanding how to create environments where healthy relationship skills are modeled, taught, rewarded and reinforced. These resources also help to ensure that parents and guardians know how to respond early and appropriately to unhealthy and abusive relationship behaviors they observe.

Resources for parents and guardians

The RESPECT! Campaign is advancing a national movement to promote healthy relationships through positive role modeling and respect education. The campaign provides parents, teachers, coaches and other role models with tools and resources to teach young people about respect in relationships.

StartStrong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships was a 4-year national program to promote healthy relationships among 11- to 14-year-olds and identify promising ways to prevent teen dating violence. The website has many resources for parents.

Break the Cycle inspires and supports young people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. The website has resources for parents such as the Love is Not Abuse App for parents and the Love Is Not Abuse Coalition for parents, teachers and others.

The Office of Women’s Health has educational videos to help parents/guardians build their communication skills with preteen girls.

When Dating Becomes Dangerous by Patti Giggans and Barrie Levy, has a chapter on skills for healthy relationships, that including a discussion on parenting for healthy relationships and strengthening relationships with teens.

Tornado Warning by Elin Stebbins Waldal, is a first person account of young adult intimate partner violence. The book and the reading group guide have been used by book clubs for parents and teens.

Echo Parenting and Education supports and facilitates child raising that is rooted in connection and empathy. Parent educator Susan Hess suggests that when parents/guardians understand adolescent brain development, they are more motivated to initiate conversations about healthy relationships with young people, and more empathetic in how they approach these conversations. She recommends these resources for parents:

Resources for parent/guardian educators

Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships was a 4-year national program to promote healthy relationships among 11- to 14-year-olds and identify promising ways to prevent teen dating violence. The website has many resources for parent educators.

The evidence-based curriculum Safe Dates has a Families for Safe Dates component, designed to get families talking about healthy relationships and dating abuse.

VAWnet is a comprehensive online collection of full-text, searchable materials and resources on domestic violence, sexual violence and related issues. The Special Collection on Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence has a section on parents and caregivers.

The Parents Matter Program website is designed for health professionals and community-based organizations that work with and serve parents and their children. The site includes research-based information, resources, and tools for including parents in sexual risk prevention efforts targeting teens.

[1] Hair. EC. Jager, J and SB Garrett. (2002.) Helping Teen Develop Healthy Social Skills and Relationships: What the Research Shows About Navigating Adolescence. Child Trends: Washington, DC.

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