The ‘Teen power and control wheel’ illustrates different forms of abuse or unhealthy behavior that can occur in teen relationships. It divides these behaviors into several categories:
- Physical violence – Includes physical harm or threats of physical harm.
- Sexual violence – Includes manipulating or forcing sexual activity.
- Emotional abuse – Includes putting someone down, humiliating them, or making them feel guilty.
- Isolation/Exclusion – Includes controlling who someone sees or talks to.
- Intimidation – Includes making threats and destroying property to inspire fear.
- Minimize/Deny/Blame – Includes downplaying abusive behavior, denying it occurred, or blaming the victim.
- Using social status – Includes acting superior and defining gender roles in the relationship.
- Peer pressure – Includes threatening to spread rumors or lies about someone.
- Sexual coercion – Includes manipulating someone to get sex.
- Threats – Includes threats to harm someone or commit suicide.
The wheel demonstrates how teen dating relationships can involve many types of unhealthy dynamics, not just physical violence. It could be a useful resource for social workers working with young people, highlighting the various patterns of unhealthy behavior that may arise. This tool can aid discussions about teen relationships, guide interventions, and prompt important conversations about promoting healthy dynamics among teenagers.
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