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Detecting Emotional Abuse in a Teen Daughter

by Candice Coleman, studioD

Your daughter has met the man of her dreams -- or so she claims. Your daughter's boyfriend might be charming and polite on the surface, but he might be emotional abusive. Educating yourself about what constitutes emotional abuse can empower your daughter, which might help prevent her from entering an emotionally abusive relationship again in the future.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Changes in your daughter's attitude and behavior might be among the biggest clues that her partner is emotionally abusive. She might cry frequently, become depressed or anxious, show insecurity or indecisiveness when making decisions, or she might worry about her partner when they are separated, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Feelings of low self-worth might also surface in a teen facing an emotional abuser, according to the Center for Young Women's Health. Some girls become fearful in a boyfriend's presence, fearing saying or doing the wrong thing in front of him.

Methods of Emotional Abuse

Parents might not witness a boyfriend being emotionally abusive to their daughter. Your daughter's boyfriend might tease or bully her, such as making comments about her weight or poking at other insecurities he knows she has, according to KidsHealth. Parents might also notice that a daughter no longer talks to members of the opposite sex, or that her boyfriend calls her frequently. A boyfriend might order your daughter around, show a quick temper or monitor her online and offline activities, according to the Center for Young Women's Health. Guilt trips, such as telling your daughter, "If you loved me, you wouldn't talk to other guys," might also be used by an emotionally abusive person, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Figuring It Out

If you are concerned about your daughter's relationship with her boyfriend, consider asking some family members and friends whether they have noticed anything unusual. Find a quiet time to share your concerns, but criticizing her boyfriend might put her on the defensive, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Instead, you might want to say, "I have noticed that your boyfriend puts you down often, then claims he's joking. I'm really worried about you." This can give your daughter the opportunity to talk.

Additional Information

Your daughter might not be interested in admitting emotional abuse, or she might have no interest in talking to you about it, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Suggest that she talk to her school counselor, doctor or another trained mental health worker. If you feel that your daughter might face physical danger from her boyfriend, contact the police about your suspicions.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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