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Teen Dating "Bill of Rights"

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Updated March 22, 2009

Your teen has many rights. In the United States, we grow up knowing that we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Does your teen know that he or she has rights when dating someone?

Although these statements aren't necessarily in the constitution, this “Bill of Rights” outlines what a teen's rights are in a dating relationship. They reflect the fact that your teen is an individual, with the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, your teen should respect these same rights of the person he or she is dating.

Teen Dating Bill of Rights

Your teen has the right to:

  • Ask for a date
  • Refuse a date
  • Ask for affection
  • Refuse affection or sexual advances at any time and under any circumstances
  • Be physically safe
  • Be emotionally safe
  • Ask for emotional support
  • Be treated with respect
  • Refuse to do anything he or she is uncomfortable with
  • Have a life and friends outside of the dating relationship
  • Have money or property not controlled by the dating partner
  • Have thoughts or feelings that are different from the dating partner
  • Live without fear of the dating partner
  • Leave the relationship at any time and be safe

Keep these rights in mind when thinking about your teen's boyfriend or girlfriend. Discuss the importance of these rights so your teen knows that respect is the cornerstone of a positive relationship. If you see that your teen's partner is violating this bill of rights, it will be essential to discuss your concerns with your teen. What your child does now in a relationship sets the stage for future relationships.

Sources:

Dating Rights. Washington State Office of the Attorney General. March 19, 2009. http://www.atg.wa.gov/page.aspx?id=1968

Dating Violence. Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence. March 19, 2009. http://www.acadv.org/dating.html

Teen Dating Bill of Rights and Pledge. National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline. March 19, 2009. http://www.loveisrespect.org/dating-bill-rights/digital-dating-bill-of-rights.html

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