Presentation on theme: "Why early adolescence is an important time to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence David A. Wolfe, Ph.D. Centre for Prevention Science."— Presentation transcript:
Why early adolescence is an important time to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence David A. Wolfe, Ph.D. Centre for Prevention Science CAMH/University of Toronto David_Wolfe@CAMH.net
Why Relationships are Key Developmental goals and transitions ▫Autonomy / transition / experimentation / intimacy ▫Pre-frontal cortex development/judgment Gender differences in learning to relate ▫boys become more proficient at negotiating group dynamics (and are more attuned to status hierarchies) ▫girls become more proficient at negotiating the dyadic context (and are more attuned to relationship maintenance and compromise).
Negative Peer and Social Influences Pressure to conform gender-role expectations Media images and messages poor choices Wide acceptance of abuse and violence against identifiable groups (e.g., girls, gays) Additional risks posed by substance use and sexual intimacy
Negotiating Choices Life style choices begin in adolescence Adolescent romantic experiences provide a developmentally important opportunity to learn about intimacy skills romantic relationships are a common source of jealousy, anger, and frustration for youth learning to negotiate conflict (and break-ups) with a romantic partner is a normative developmental task
The Plan: All teens need accurate information and exposure to positive models Help youth strengthen relationship skills to assist in making safe, responsible choices Address the common elements of multiple risk behaviors (re: goals of adolescence) Counteract pro-abuse messages from peer culture (gender, race, sexual orientation) Emphasize positive message of safety and harm reduction (prepare, not scare) Provide opportunities to develop assets and strengths (build youth connections)
CAMH Centre for Prevention Science 100 Collip Circle, Suite 100 London, ON N6G 4X8 www.youthrelationships.org www.youthrelationships.org