Sunday, June 21, 2009

Advice For Fathers Who Want To Talk To Their Children About Dating And Safety

From a Nebraska TV article by Howard Seidman:

Many fathers do discuss dating with their tween daughters, but they may be in the dark about what really goes on. About two thirds of parents think they know "a lot" or "everything" about their tween's relationships. But only about half of all tweens agree. [...]

What can you do?

Before your daughter starts dating, she needs to learn that good relationships are built on respect. [...]

Teach your daughter to recognize the warning signs of abuse. [...]

Explain to your daughter that people who abuse their partners often use excuses to justify their behavior. Your daughter needs to know that she shouldn't put up with abuse or put aside her concerns.

What I appreciate about this article is that it doesn't fall into the trap of making the victim of dating or relationship abuse responsible for prevention.

The only problem with the article is that it fails to ask fathers to have similar talks with their sons so they too will understand the importance of having healthy relationships. If parents don't talk to their sons then those sons may learn by watching boys who develop unhealthy relationships. Since abuse can have short-term benefits for the abuser, boys may incorrectly view abusers as being successful at relationships.

While more girls are victims of relationship violence than boys we can't forget that boys can also be subjected to abusive or unhealthy behavior.

For information on how fathers can talk to their sons, check out the It starts with you. It stays with him. campaign. They have tips specifically aimed at fathers.

Several of the items on the list of warning signs for fathers of daughters were present before my boyfriend raped me in a relationship which I didn't think of as abusive since the only area he was interested in controlling me was the sexual part of our relationship.

Because other fathers (and mothers) may not be providing good guidence in the area of relationship violence, please support comprehensive prevention efforts. At the US federal level, you can:
Urge your Representatives to Vote YES on the Reichert Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2847) [...]

Congressman Dave Reichert (WA) will be offering an amendment later this evening to support funding for the STEP program (Supporting Teens through Education and Protection Act). STEP was created in the last VAWA bill, but has never received funding.
Preventing abuse and violence is good for all children.

For fathers (and mothers) of children who will be going to college soon, I recommend reading this article on rape prevention for college students which focuses on supporting positive behavior rather than just stopping negative behavior.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:03 AM   0 comments links to this post


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