What can I do if my son engages in
If your son does engage in dating violence, use it as an opportunity to express that you love and respect him, but be clear that his actions are unacceptable. Be firm in teaching him that controlling his girlfriend's activities, physically hurting her, and coercing or forcing her to have sex is absolutely unacceptable and illegal. Avoid language that supports the "scoring" idea: that "getting" sex or the number of sexual or dating partners you have shows your value as a "man". Teach that a person's value is connected with how well they treat others with respect and dignity. Talk with him about how he can act differently in the future. Consider role-playing out the same situation with different outcomes. Consider anger management classes or counseling for your son.
For more information see Dating Violence and Your Teen.
Diane G. Kuschel, Former Extension Associate, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension
Last update: Friday, September 29, 2006