Talking to Kids About Domestic Abuse; Learning from Rihanna

| by Dr Gwenn

We all want our kids to someday end up on healthy, loving
relationships. Hopefully, that will be the situation. But, what if it's
not? What if one of our children ends up in a situation like Rihanna
found herself in recently with Chris Brown? Will we know what to do?
Will our child know what to do?

What happened to Rihanna is upsetting and disturbing on so many levels, even more so because it appears she has gone back to him. This is not at all unusual with domestic abuse and just perpetuates the cycle of violence even more. Good Morning America
had an excellent segment this weekend trying to make sense of Rihanna's
decision by talking with psychologists as well as victims of domestic
abuse. As the segments points out, Rihanna's situation is not at all
unusual. There are 4.8 million cases of domestic abuse each year and
more times than not the women do return to their abusers - at least

Why? As noted on GMA, "experts say
some women don't leave their abusers because they think the violence
was somehow their own fault, or they are afraid their abuser may harm
them or their children. But when it comes to younger women, the reasons
can be even simpler. They sometimes think the abuse is normal because
they haven't had many relationships to compare it to."

As our
kids enter the dating world, it's important for us to be honest with
them about what loving relationships are and are not. Rihanna's story
and this public service announcement can open the door for you to start
some conversations you may not have otherwise had with your teens -
conversations that someday just make keep them out of serious
relationship trouble:

Right now Rihanna is a poster woman for domestic abuse and what happens when the bond is still too strong for her to break away. Hopefully with the love and support of her family and friends she'll realize that she needs to walk away and that someday she'll meet someone who knows that a loving relationship does not involve the physical pain she has had to endure.