Preventing dating violence

Dorothy Espelage, PhD Professor of Childhood Development, shares ways that a parent can help a child from being a victim or perpetrator of dating violence
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Preventing dating violence

There are many ways that a parent can help a child from being a victim or perpetrator of dating violence. First and foremost, it is very important to think about talking to your children about relationships across the life span. Just because they start dating, doesn't mean you shouldn't have a conversation about the very important components of healthy relationships; meaning, trust, communication, consistency, and respect. It's also important to have a conversation with your kids about their changing in behaviors. If they start dating and they are texting quite a bit, they might be having an argument with a dating partner; call that to their attention. If you notice that your child is starting to change the way they interact as they start dating, you might see that they disengage from some of their friends. You might find that they stop going to the mall or are held up in their room or spending excessive time with their dating partner. It is also important that, as they start to date earlier and earlier ages, it actually prevents them from growing academically and socially in other areas. It's not just having a conversation when they start dating, but actually having a conversation about the best time to start dating.

Dorothy Espelage, PhD Professor of Childhood Development, shares ways that a parent can help a child from being a victim or perpetrator of dating violence


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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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