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 initially.

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.