Abuse and Mistreatment in Adolescent Couples

Preventing abuse in teenage couples is basic in order to promote and create healthy relationships as adults. Learn more in this article.
Abuse and Mistreatment in Adolescent Couples

Last update: 06 March, 2019

Mistreatment and abuse can and do occur in adolescent relationships.  Don’t think this topic is restricted to adult relationships. 

Violence in adolescence can be the beginning of a series of tormented and toxic relationships.

We need to be conscious that mistreatment has nothing to do with age, gender, or culture. It’s a mistake to classify it as a problem that’s limited to a single group.

Because of this, we should pay attention and have our eyes open to be able to eradicate it as soon as it appears.

Above all, this is true in adolescence because it’s a difficult phase for all young people as they develop their personalities.

Negative experiences in infancy

This image represents child abuse from an alcoholic parent.

What we experience in infancy affects us in a very significant way in our adult lives.

Because of this, if parents have acted violently, had terrible arguments, or used physical abuse, this can cause adults to repeat this type of behavior.

Sometimes, it’s not something abusers think through. It’s simply a learned pattern of behavior. Perhaps this is a pain that they carry inside of themselves and it manifests itself in this negative way.

Mistreatment of children, sexual abuse, and lack of  bonding are other forms of negative experiences. These experiences can cause an adolescent partner in a relationship to behave abusively or violently.

Imitation of what we see can lead to abuse

Parents fighting in front of their son.

There’s another factor which is perhaps more serious. In addition, imitation of what adolescents see or find on the internet can cause abuse.

Technology has allowed us to see things that we hadn’t had access to before. However, it has also given us access to behavior patterns that we shouldn’t learn. 

A young person can see information about sexual practices that they may think they can carry out without the approval of the other person. They may read about or see videos of sadomasochism.

We must remember that the youngest adolescents are unable to discern fiction from reality.

Comments about humiliation, submission, or control can cause a misconception of what a relationship is meant to be.

Because of this, it’s extremely important for parents to try and control what their children see on the internet. However, it’s impossible to control this 100%.

The Basis of Respect

A woman looking out into the water pensively.

We try to educate children to respect others and to have potentially healthy relationships. But there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Our parents are our main examples.  From a very young age, children are spectators of any type of damaging behavior. They might not imitate at that time, but what happens when they do imitate it?

An adolescent relationship should never include mistreatment or abuse.

For example, sexual education in schools should not just cover issues such as birth control or STDs. It should also focus on healthy relationships, mutual respect, and sexual orientation, etc.

Romantic relationships are complicated. They become even more so when we’re in a difficult stage, such as adolescence.

In 2013, according to the Spanish National Institute of Statistics, 499 adolescents were victims of abuse by their partners in Spain alone.

If this is true, it shouldn’t seem odd to us that there are so many cases of violence and death in spite of all the measures that we take to avoid this.


A couple holding hands and standing close.

It’s important not to turn our backs on nor ignore the importance of this reality.

Adolescents should learn to identify whether they’re victims of abuse. Sometimes, this isn’t physical, which we need to remember.

Preventing abuse in teenage couples is the basis for promoting and creating healthy relationships as adults.

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