Teen Violence Expert Answers Your Questions

My son is 15, but pretty mature for his age. He is dating a 16-year-old girl. They are continually arguing. She accuses him of lying, cheating on her and verbally abusive to HIM. He got so frustrated with her one night, he punched a hole in his bedroom wall. He does have friends who are girls, and has troubles verbally explaining his feelings right there on the spot. He has a perceptual disability, and ADD. He is not on medication. He's asked me for professional help. I have gotten him an appointment with a counselor. How do I help him? I listen, try not to lecture, but feel he needs to get out of this relationship. This young lady has a lot of other problems on her plate which hasn't made it easy for him. Icing on the cake, when my son's under stress, he vomits uncontrollably. Yes, he is going to get more help; but, this relationship's got to stop, as far as I'm concerned. She's extremely manipulative, and controlling. It is the reverse of what you might think. Thanks.

Dear Patti,

You are right: girls can be highly abusive to boys and in very much the same way that boys abuse girls. You may want to talk to your son about the very physical reaction he has to this relationship. Why is it more important to him to be with this abusive girl and risk his own health and well-being? Oftentimes, teens with disabilities believe that any partner is better than no partner, mostly because the abuser tells them that they are defective and no one else would ever want them. Even though your son may not like the way in which she treats him, he may believe that she is the best he can do. Teenagers just want to fit in and not stand out or seem different. I'm glad you are getting him the help he needs; I hope that will make a difference for him. Sometimes, just having a non-judgmental third-party to talk with and vent feelings is a huge help.

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