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RealTalk with Teens

RealTalk Conversation Cards

RealTalk Conversation Starter Cards

This tool was created for parents and adults that work with young people to start a dialogue about healthy relationships with the youth in their lives. Adults can help young people establish healthy boundaries in their relationships by role modeling positive behavior and by talking with them about abuse and healthy relationships.  According to a 2009 study conducted by Liz Claiborne, there is a disconnect between what parents report they are doing and what teens are experiencing. 

"Despite the fact that parents say they are talking to their children about abuse, two in three daughters surveyed (66 percent) say they have not had a conversation with their parents about dating abuse in the last year. Four in five parents surveyed (82 percent) feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, but more than half (58 percent) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse."

The questions on these RealTalk cards are open ended questions designed to help adults and parents begin one of many conversations with the youth they interact with in both their personal and professional lives. While there is not one right answer to any of these questions, it is our hope that the recommended talking points will assist adults in helping youth engage in healthy relationships.

National Dating Violence Resources

loveisrespect is a national organization whose purpose is to engage, educate, and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Highly-trained advocates are available to offer support, information, and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships, as well as information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, and others. As the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, free and confidential phone, live chat, and texting services are available 24/7/365.

  • Start Talking
    Start Talking is an innovative curriculum for dating violence prevention education. From peer-led discussions and interactive tools integrated throughout the program, students will have the chance to define relationships in their terms and discover for themselves what it means to have a safe and healthy relationship.
  • Educators Toolkits
    These toolkits provide guidance to middle school and high school educators who want to lead discussions in their schools about safe, healthy and respectful relationships and how to recognize the signs of abuse. The toolkits can be used on their own or as a supplement to a larger curriculum.

Break the Cycle
Break the Cycle is a national organization that inspires and supports young people 12-24 to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. 

  • Ending Violence
    Ending Violence is an innovative dating violence prevention curriculum by Break the Cycle, which teaches teens how to prevent and safely end abusive relationships, and how to create a framework for building healthy relationships in the future.
  • Love is Not Abuse iPhone app
    This free app is an educational resource that aims to provide parents insight into what it feels like for their teen to be a victim of digital dating abuse.

Dating Matters (through Veto Violence, a project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))
DATING MATTERS® is a free, online course available to educators, school personnel, youth mentors, and others dedicated to improving teen health. Follow a school administrator throughout his day as he highlights what teen dating violence is and how to prevent it through graphic novel scenarios, interactive exercises, and information gathered from leading experts.

Start Strong (through Futures Without Violence)
Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships was a national program that focused on promoting healthy relationships among 11 to 14-year-olds and identifying promising ways to prevent teen dating violence. The core components of the Start Strong program were to 1) educate and engage youth in schools and out of school settings; 2) educate and engage teen influencers, such as parents/caregivers, older teens, teachers, and other mentors; 3) change policy and environmental factors; and 4) implement effective communications/social marketing strategies.

Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP)
MVP is a bystander-focused gender violence, bullying, and gay-bashing prevention program. MVP frames gender violence prevention as a leadership issue for administrators, faculty, and students at all levels of the educational system.

A Thin Line
Use this resource to find tools for opening up a conversation on digital abuse, and encouraging action on the issue at home or in school.

Expect Respect
Expect Respect®, a program of The SAFE Alliance, engages youth, parents, schools, and communities in building healthy relationships and preventing violence and abuse.

Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool
The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) contains guidance, appraisal tools, and resources to help schools conduct an analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and the CDC’s Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum. The results can help schools select or develop curricula to address a number of topics, including violence prevention.

The Fourth R
The Fourth R is a group of researchers and professionals dedicated to promoting healthy adolescent relationships and reducing risk behaviours. The group develops and evaluates programs, resources, and training materials for educators and other front-line professionals who work with youth. In particular, the group works with schools to promote the neglected R (for "relationships") and help build this Fourth R in school climates.

Shifting Boundaries
Shifting Boundaries: Lessons on Relationships for Students in Middle School is an evidence-based, multi-level prevention program for middle school students on sexual harassment and precursors to dating violence. The program is unique in that it embraces an environmental approach that identifies multiple strategies to support young people – both school-wide interventions and classroom lessons.

That’s Not Cool
That’s Not Cool is a national public education initiative that partners with young people to help raise awareness and bring educational and organizing tools to communities to address dating violence, unhealthy relationships, and digital abuse.

Safe Dates
Highly engaging and interactive, Safe Dates is an evidence-based adolescent dating abuse prevention program that helps teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive dating relationships and controlling, manipulative, or abusive dating relationships.

This violence prevention organization educates men all over the world on healthy, respectful manhood. Embracing and promoting healthy, respectful manhood prevents violence against women, sexual assault and harassment, bullying, and many other social ills.

  • LIVERESPECT™ Curriculum
    A CALL TO MEN’s curriculum,  LIVERESPECT™ Coaching Healthy & Respectful Manhood, offers coaches, educators, mentors, and youth advocates the tools to build young men of character. The curriculum, ideal for middle and high school age boys, promotes healthy, respectful manhood; decreases language and actions that degrade women, girls, and other marginalized groups; challenges harmful cultural and social norms; and decreases instances of bullying and homophobia.

Coaching Boys into Men (through Futures Without Violence)
Coaching Boys Into Men is the only evidence-based prevention program that trains and motivates high school coaches to teach their young male athletes healthy relationship skills and that violence never equals strength.

Young Men's Work
Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence and Building Community is a 26 session curriculum for young men aged 14-19, designed to teach alternatives to violence and to celebrate and enhance their strength, experience, creativity, and intelligence. The curriculum is available for purchase through Hazelden Publishing.

Athletes As Leaders
Athletes As Leaders™ is a program for high school athletes on girls’ sports teams. The program aims to empower female-identified youth to take an active role in promoting healthy relationships and ending sexual violence. Athletes are encouraged to be leaders in changing social norms at the school to a culture of safety and respect.

The program is suggested to be used in conjunction with Coaching Boys Into Men, created by Futures Without Violence. All genders play a role in creating a safe community!

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