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Tips for Teens: How Can I Help?

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP Teens sometimes just need another person to say I see what's going on and am here if you need anything. It is not the time to be giving advice just be willing to listen and be there for them. WHEN A FRIEND IS IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP DO: Listen to what they have to say. DO: Tell them that you are there for them whenever they want to talk. Let them know you care about them, and that you are worried about them. DO: Talk to them in private, and keep what they say confidential. DO: Let them know why you are concerned. Be specific. Refer to certain incidents you have witnessed, and not to the relationship in general. Let your friend know what you saw and how it made you feel. Tell them how you see this behavior having an impact on them -- "This person put you down and manipulated you, and you made excuses for what they did. The way they treated you made me worried about your safety." DO: Offer to get information for your friend. DON'T: Be judgmental. DON'T: Make them feel ashamed. They probably feels bad enough already. DON'T: Give ultimatums -- "It's them or me!" "Leave them or I'm telling!" Wiseman says: "They'll end up apologizing for their partner's behavior or lying to cover up for them, and they'll likely end up going back." WHEN A FRIEND IS ABUSIVE DO: Be specific about what you saw, and how it made you feel. "I didn't like it when you told your girlfriend she was stupid in front of all of us, and I can only imagine how it made her feel." DO: Take a stand. "I'm not going to sit here as your friend and watch this happen and not say anything about it." DO: Give them a reality check. Their violent actions will have consequences. "This is a crime, and you could be arrested." DO: Urge them to seek help. They can talk to a counselor, a coach, a member of the clergy, any trusted adult--even an older brother or mentor. DO: Offer to get information for your friend. DON'T: Make them feel ashamed of themselves. You care about your friend, and you want their behavior to change. If you didn't think they had it in them to be a decent person, you probably wouldn't be hanging out with them. WHEN THE RELATIONSHIP ENDS Just because a violent relationship is over, doesn't mean the risk of violence is over. Here are some recommendations to stay safe and maintain peace of mind: Talk with your friends about what you are going through so they can support you and look out for you. If you can, tell your parents what's going on, especially if your ex might come by your home. Talk to your school counselor. Together you might alert security, adjust your class schedule or come up with other ways to make you feel safe. Avoid isolated areas at school and local hangouts, and don't walk home alone. Stick with a buddy at parties you think your ex might attend.

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