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Dating Violence Common by 7th Grade: Survey
Date:3/29/2012

o talk to their children about relationships. So, on the one hand we have real serious issues here. But, on the other hand, we also have a real opportunity for parents to engage."

A California mother of two, Alexandra Preston, 35, encourages parents of teens to take the survey findings to heart.

"There's a tendency to read about a study like this and think, 'That can't be true.' Because we want our kids to be safe and happy, and we don't want it to be true, right?"

"But I think it's important that parents acknowledge that understanding and establishing and respecting boundaries is something all of us have to struggle with throughout life, at every age," said Preston, whose herself a victim of domestic violence in a prior marriage.

Preston, whose children are 13 and 10, is finance and operations manager for a non-profit agency that works with Robert Wood Johnson's Start Strong program, which aims to combat dating abuse in middle school. She said her own experiences have led her to be proactive with her children regarding healthy relationships.

Her son "remembers what happened in our home," she said, explaining she tries "to make sense of it, without demonizing the people who do it, and making sure they know it's not their fault."

Preston said this study could be helpful in raising awareness about dating issues, and encouraging parents to listen to their children.

More information

For more on young teen relationships, visit the StartStrongTeens.

SOURCES: Peter Long, president and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation, San Francisco; Alexandra Preston, parent, California; Survey, March 2012, Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships


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