#thatsnotlove, warning signs every parent should be aware of

Now that February 14th is almost here we have to think about our children’s relationships, is hard to perceive any kind of abuse if there is no communication, but even if the proper channels are not open to have a talk with them, there are warning signs every parent must be aware of.

Have you ever seen your teenage “sweetheart”:

  1. • Try to stop him/her from seeing or talking to family or friends?
  2. • Called him/her derogatory nicknames, put him/her down, or made fun of him/her?
  3. • Threaten or scare him/her?
  4. • Bite, slap, push, hit or kick him/her?
  5. • Pressure or force him/her to do something sexual when is clear he/she doesn’t want to?
  6. • Humiliate him/her when  alone or in front of others?
  7. • Control him/her on what to wear, or what to do?

Well, those are signs of dating violence, and you should seek advice or help from a school counselor, doctor, therapist or family pediatrician.

Did you know that nearly 1.5 million high school students in the United States reported that they have been emotionally or psychologically mistreated, harmed, stalked, manipulated, or pressured in some way by their dating partner?

And guess what? Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. “A 2017 CDC Report[PDF 4.32MB] found that approximately 7% of women and 4% of men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence by that partner before 18 years of age.”

Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences on a developing teen. Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, thoughts about suicide and are at risk for victimization during college years.

I want to share with you the following video form One Love Foundation, an organization honoring the memory of Yeardly Love, a college student beaten to death by her ex boyfriend.


Yeardley Love was killed and her death was avoidable if anyone in her life had truly understood the unhealthy and increasingly dangerous relationship behaviors they were seeing



Dating violence can be prevented, talk to your teenagers about it.

Where to seek help

Everyone deserves a relationship that is positive, healthy and free from violence. If you have concerns about your relationship or your teenage relationship, Hotline advocates are available to help 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or via live chat from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central time.


National Dating Abuse Helpline

1-866-331-9474 1-866-331-8453 (TTY) www.loveisrespect.org

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

(RAINN) Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) www.rainn.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) www.ndvh.org

School Violence and Bullying

Bullying is a type of school violence, the constant and persistent harassment towards an individual, it is an intended behavior and never an isolated event.

This type of violence could include verbal abuse, isolation, harassment, physical, psychological and cyber abuse.

Bullying is the repetitive intentional behavior to hurt, harm, isolate and humiliate  a person, this person in most of the cases is a school age child who is different from the general population because of some sort of disabilities, ethnicity, culture, gender role expectations, personality, immigration status, gender stereotypes, economic situations, political values, and the list just goes on.

Bullying differs from conflict.

  • Conflict is a disagreement or argument in which both sides express their views.
  • Bullying is negative behavior directed by someone exerting power and control over another person.

In general terms, bullying is perpetrated by students against other students, however when we as adults fail to identify those involved in bullying (victim and victimizer) we become part of the problem.

Teachers and school staff are involved too, as stand-by-viewers, adults grant power to bullies and indirectly approve their behavior.

On this topic, in 2016 Unicef made a poll and found “that 30% of those who had been bullied did not tell anyone, 30% told an adult and more than 30% told a friend or sibling; less than 10% told a teacher. Reasons for not telling anyone included being afraid or ashamed, not knowing who to tell and thinking that bullying is normal.” 

What is worst, “children and adolescents who are victims of bullying are not always willing to report these incidents to parents, teachers or other adults either because of fear of retaliation.

Did you know?

32% of 12-18-year-old students in the United States were bullied in the 2007-2008 school year.

According to the National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment (NVEEE)

  1. Every 7 MINUTES a child is bullied.  Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.
  2. Biracial and multiracial youth are more likely to be victimized than youth who identify with a single race.
  3. Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious, with less self-esteem and require more mental health services throughout life.
  4. Only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying, yet 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying
  5. Kids who are obese, gay, or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than other children.
  6. 1 MILLION children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying during the past year.
  7. 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in schools.
  8. It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
  9. American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.

Those who are bullied are also more likely to be depressed, lonely or anxious, to have low self-esteem, are prone to self-injuring and addictions, and to have suicidal thoughts or to attempt suicide.

The worst part is, that victims perceive they are not worthy of trust, or that they will not be taken seriously. The balance of power between victim and victimizer leans away from them, leaving an empty space to be filled solely with pain, despair, anger, resentment and a sense of “being broken”

“After so many years of being bullied, I feel so broken inside,

that every day I have to hot-glue myself to go to school.”

8th grader

Bullying is worldwide

Unicef collected data from 106 countries showing that the proportion of adolescents aged 13-15 who say they have recently experienced bullying ranged from 7% in Tajikistan to 74% in Samoa. In 14 of the 67 low- to middle- income countries with available data, more than half of this age group said they had recently experienced bullying.

In 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries,  students aged 10-14, a 51% overall reported experiencing some type of bullying in “the last month.” Being robbed was the most commonly reported experience, followed by being insulted or threatened.

No More Bullying

  • Start being part of the solution, listen to your child before is too late.
  • Effective communication with your child is essential to know if there is a problem at school, or home (bullying also happen there).
  • Trust your child, and do not judge.
  • Embark on straight forward discussions focusing on inclusion over exclusion.
  • Showing respect and kindness toward others, tolerance is the key word.
  • Raise awareness in your community, as many adults are unaware of the extent of the problem and of its negative impact on the well-being of children and adolescents.

Urgent action is needed to address the global problem of school violence and bullying to ensure that all children and adolescents have access to safe and non-violent learning environments.