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Teens may not fully understand the weight of their actions – especially if they have developed an understanding of how relationships operate from portrayals in the media, movies, athletes, and television.Teen dating violence can have serious consequences (both criminal and civil) for abusers.Each year, one in ten teenagers reports being the victim of teen dating violence.According to the Centers for Disease Control, 23% of males and 14% of females surveys indicated that they had been part of a relationship that was violent or abusive.We caught up with two local experts on teen relationships and sexuality and asked for their tips on setting guidelines for kids entering the dating game.Lynn Ponton, University of California San Francisco professor of adolescent psychiatry and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers and The Romance of Risk, and Nancy Brown, a developmental psychologist and education projects manager for Palo Alto Medical Foundation, both agree: Parents should set the stage for safe dating long before their child becomes a teen.

You can share with your child all these qualities and characteristics, but it is your example that speaks the loudest. It is important that parents clearly communicate the need for maintaining friendships, school work, family time, outside activities and pursuits the teen had before this relationship.Relationships are more likely to fail – and to become abusive – when the dating partners are young, immature, and spontaneous.Unfortunately, this has resulted in an unfortunate number of teens who experience teen dating violence in a romantic relationship.Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, sexual or psychological/emotional violence within a teen dating relationship, as well as stalking.It can occur between a current or former dating partner.

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