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6 Signs of Toxic Behavior for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month




Toxic or abusive behavior can be hard to spot. For Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, learn 6 signs of toxic behavior.

Teen dating violence happens. This can be hard to believe. We don’t want to think of our teenagers as being victims of relationship abuse, nor do we want to believe our teenagers are behaving in harmful ways toward their girlfriends and boyfriends. We’d also like to think that our adolescents, who are nearing adulthood, wouldn’t put up with someone hurting them. But it happens, and it can happen to any teen. That’s why Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is essential. Knowing the signs of toxic relationships can help teens distance themselves from them, and it can help parents, teachers, and other adults help teens navigate the world of relationships.

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness: Watch the Love

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is an important month. Toxic, abusive relasionships develop slowly and sneakily. Watch for these signs of toxic love.

Teen dating violence awareness is vital. It’s fitting that Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is February, a month earmarked to celebrate love. Love is an experience that, because it’s such a basic part of being human, isn’t always discussed. It’s just there. It is what it is. It’s an instinct. Unfortunately, while love is an integral part of humanity, it not always easy to know what healthy versus unhealthy love is. This is especially true during adolescence, when teens are pulling away from parents, and friends and dating relationships become important but are new territory. As a high school teacher and counselor, I saw too many teens, boys and girls alike, become stuck in toxic relationships before they recognized what was happening. Here’s a look at some toxic behaviors in relationships.

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End the Confusion about Love and Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships are complex, and the idea of love is convoluted, obscured by confusing behavior. Teens, learn about toxic behavior and what love isn't

Abusive relationships aren’t love. That might seem obvious, but abusive, toxic people behave in convoluted, contradictory, and confusing ways. In toxic relationships, love isn’t as cut-and-dried as a neutral observer  might expect it to be. For example, one might think that love, real love, doesn’t hurt. And it shouldn’t. Love should never hurt. Sometimes it does, though. Sometimes one partner in a relationship is toxic. The hurt is direct in the form of actions and words, and the hurt is indirect in the form of actions and words–actions and words that seem kind, caring, loving.

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Middle Grade Novel about Abusive Relationships Honored for Making a Difference in the World


When I worked as a teacher and then a teacher/counselor in different high schools, I was shocked to discover that a significant number of students, both female and male, were trapped in unhealthy relationships that ranged from toxic to downright abusive. Out of care and concern for these adolescents grew Losing Elizabeth. I wanted to reach teens, starting in middle school but older adolescents as well, through a simple story, stripped of extraneous detail that could detract from the message.  I sought to write a tale of fiction that would entertain rather than preach and one that could reach younger adolescents before they begin to date as well as older ones who themselves might be trapped in a controlling relationship. The result was Losing Elizabeth.

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