“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
At different times, my treasure has been in different places. When I was a young girl, I treasured the approval of others. I wanted badly to be loved by the popular girls, the athletic boys, and a favorite of the teachers. So I put my heart in it. 100%.
I began dating a cute boy, who seemed to take a rather delightful interest in me. I strived to be his everything. I hadn’t ever kissed a boy, but I was willing to kiss him. I hadn’t ever gotten physical with a boy, but I was willing to do anything with him. He was very controlling, but I didn’t realize it at the time. At the time, it just looked like a boy wanting to spend time with me. After dating over several months, I was date raped by him.
Looking back, I wish I would have known the warning signs of dating violence. The behaviors and things I should have been watching out for. I plan to teach my daughter these signs so that she will be protected and aware. Some of them may seem like a no brainer to us as adults. But to adolescents, unless you know what you are looking for, they can be easily missed! Here are a few warning signs to share with your daughter:
A boy is constantly checking in on you. Caring about you is one thing. Needing to know where you have been, who you have been with, and how long you have been there is a warning sign.
If a boy threatens to hurt himself over you or your actions. This is a sure sign of unhealthy control issues.
If he loses his temper quickly. Everyone gets upset now and then. But snapping at you over small things and repeatedly blaming you is a danger sign.
If he asks or coerces you to stop spending time with your friends and/or family. Abusers use this tactic to keep the victim from talking with others who might interfere with the abuse. They know that if your friends or parents knew what was going on, they would advise you to leave.
Embarrassing or making fun of you, in private or in public. This is cruel and uncalled for and should not be part of a dating relationship.
Teaching your daughter these things is part of protecting her heart. While she may treasure the opinions and approval of others during adolescence, knowing these warning signs can help her stay out of some serious hot water! Pray with her and talk to her often about what a healthy dating relationship looks like, and doesn’t look like.
Prepare her heart so that she can make confident decisions about dating relationships. Start conversations such as these early, even if your daughter is not dating yet. Opening the communication lines from the start will help ensure that you and your daughter are able to enjoy her dating years and share openly through the good times and the bad.
Friends, please share these 5 warning signs with your girls and girlfriends. No girl or woman deserves to be treated this way. If we could help protect even just one girl from this tragedy, let’s do it.