Tips for parents and teens to foster healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (February), Daphne King, EdD, Associate Professor of Social Work, shares tips for parents and teens to help teens have safe, healthy relationships.

Nearly half (43%) of US college women report violent or abusive dating behavior, and 1 in 3 US teens experience abusive behavior before they become adults, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (February), George Mason University researcher Daphne King, EdD, assistant professor in the Department of Social Work, continues to draw attention to intimate partner violence among young people.

“By fostering healthy, supportive relationships, communicating openly, and educating youth to recognize signs of dating violence, we can help prevent teen dating violence before it starts,” King said.

Violence in teen dating affects a person’s health throughout their life and can be detrimental to a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Physical, sexual, and psychological violence and stalking are all forms of dating violence and can lead to antisocial behavior and symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and unhealthy relationships in the future.

King shares tips for parents and teens on how to build healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence. She previously shared 10 Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence and is available for further comment on teen dating violence and adolescent mental health.

Tips for teenagers

  • Learn more about teen dating violence and how to spot the warning signs
  • Talk openly with partners, friends, and parents about healthy relationships
  • Know that violence (physical, verbal, or emotional) has no place in a healthy relationship
  • Respect yourself and others
  • Develop healthy self-esteem and self-esteem
  • Be aware that victims can be of any gender, sexual orientation and race
  • Get your consent before touching a partner
  • Discuss and communicate your boundaries with your partner
  • Know that you are worthy of healthy relationships
  • Stand up for others

Tips for Parents

  • Be honest and open with your teen about what healthy relationships look like and that violence (verbal, physical, or sexual) has no place in a healthy relationship
  • Know and recognize the signs of abuse and the facts about dating violence
  • Discuss teen dating violence with your child and help them learn the warning signs
  • Model healthy relationships
  • Talk to other parents about teen dating violence to reduce the stigma

There are many resources available if you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner or dating violence – talk to a trusted adult or visit for support and help. You can also visit for more resources.


dr Daphne King is an assistant professor and director of the online Master of Social Work program in the Department of Social Work, College of Public Health, George Mason University. King’s research interests are issues of self-esteem in teens and adolescents, mental health issues and treatment modalities for women of color, especially African-American women, and the impact that engagement in Christianity or spiritual practices has on self-esteem. King is an expert in treating teenagers and adolescents with self-esteem issues and depression and has led numerous clinical and psychoeducational groups on teen self-esteem issues.

To with Dr. To speak to King, contact Mary Cunningham at 703-993-1931 or [email protected]

About bricklayers

George Mason University, Virginia’s largest public research university, enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Based near Washington, DC, Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is known for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and dedication to accessibility.

About the College of Public Health at George Mason University

the College of Public Health at George Mason University is the first and only College of Public Health in Virginia to serve as a national model combining transdisciplinary public health research, education and practice in the Commonwealth. The College enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students in our nationally recognized programs, including six bachelor’s, eight master’s, five doctoral and six professional certificate programs. The College consists of the School of Nursing and the Departments of Global and Community Health, Health Administration and Policy, Nutrition and Food Studies and Social Work.

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