Teens and Domestic Violence...
How many times have you had to turn up your ipod so you don't hear your parents argue?
How often have you been told that violence doesn't solve problems, yet see your dad shove or hit your mom?
How many times have you told yourself, at least he's not hitting me?
Domestic violence or domestic abuse, whatever you call it, it's tough to be a teenager in a household where this is happening..
So what is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is physical or emotional abuse between persons who are married or between household family members. (Parents, grandparents, have a child in common together, etc...) (See Minnesote Statute 518B for a complete definition of domestic abuse.)
As a teenager who has had to live in a household with domestic violence, you already know that there is a pattern to the violence. Or in other words, you know when things are bad in your house and you know when things are good. You know when you can laugh, and you know when you need to stay at a friend's house.
Here's what us professionals call the The Three Stages of Domestic Violence:
The ESCALATION phase
The EXPLOSIVE stage
The HONEYMOON phase
The ESCALATION phase is when people are walking on eggshells. Things are starting to get bad and everyone knows to be on their best behavior so as to not set off dad.
the EXPLOSIVE stage is when the incident occurs. This incident could be hitting, threatening someone with a knife, furniture being thrown or broken, yelling at a child, etc...
The HONEYMOON phase is when dad brings home pizza for the night and brings flowers for mom. This would be where everything is great and dad is apologetic and says that from now on, no more fighting.
The three stages have no time frame, it can be good for a month, or even a year before the cycle starts all over again.
How do I not become a victim or an abuser?
It's important to remember that it's okay to talk to someone about what's happening in your home. It may not stop the violence but it may help you to get through whatever's happening at home. A school counselor, therapist or even a neighbor are all good people to talk to. As far as not becoming an abuser, it's never okay to hurt someone else. Abusing someone is done intentionally. If you feel you may become an abuser, seek help with a counselor or therapist right away.
Safety planning is something that you can do to help protect yourself and others who may be affected by the violence in your home. There are different safety plans, but we've included an example of you that you may choose to use. You can also print this off to use. Just remember, keep this in a safe place.
Safety Planning (Printable versions: Teen Safety Plan; Child Safety Plan I & Child Safety Plan II)
Address and Direction
Why do I need these? That seems kind of silly for me to write these three things down. (The reason why we suggest to write this information down, during an emergency it's amazing how a person may forget their own house address.)
Emergency Phone Numbers:
How will I keep myself safe?
Examples: Go to my neighbor's house. Take the dog for a walk. Take my siblings to the park. Stay in my room.
If I need to leave my house, where will I go?
Click on the following links to learn more:
Teens Living with Domestic Violence
Who Can I Go To For Help?
Healthy Ways To Deal With Feelings
9 - 1 - 1
Hands of Hope Resource Center: 1-800-296-1657 or 1-888-732-2319
Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1-866-223-1111
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
RAINN (National Sexual Assault Hotline): 1-800-656-HOPE
Return to Teen Main Page