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Womens Center & Shelter

How To Talk To Your Children About Domestic Violence Media Coverage

We know that parents may have questions on how to handle discussions with their children regarding the recent media coverage of Ray Rice battering his wife.  We thought it may be helpful to provide some tips and resources regarding this matter.

A great resource provides tips for discussing fallen celebrities with your child or children. They suggest the following:1

  • Consider your child’s age and maturity level.
  • Avoid sharing your opinion until you hear the child’s perspective.
  • Use the celebrity and their negative behavior as an example of what not to do.
  • Provide examples of how a “true hero” acts.
  • Talk about/ask what characteristics make a good role model.
  • Help them understand that being a good person is more than performing well in a sport or on TV.
  • Don’t make excuses for the bad behavior of the celebrity.

More suggestions and further details can be found here.

The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence makes a great point that when violence comes up on the news not to react by saying things such as “I’d kill someone for doing that to you” but rather to use it as a chance to reassure the child that you are there for them no matter what and want to talk about these type of matters with them whether it is happening to them or possibly a friend.They also mention talking to your child about self-respect, respecting others, healthy methods of conflict-resolution, anger control and healthy relationships.

Some example questions to start these conversations could be:

  • How do you show respect to yourself?
  • What things do you do to show that you matter?
  • How can you show others that you respect them?
  • Have you ever heard someone being teased? How do you think it made them feel?
  • How can you tell when someone is angry and it has gone too far?
  • How do you feel when someone becomes more aggressive when playing a game?
  • How can you communicate anger respectfully?
  • What makes a good friendship?
  • What can you do if you have a friend that is in an unhealthy relationship?
  • Have you ever seen any kind of abusive behaviors between people you knew were dating?

For more ideas and examples of what to take away from these suggested questions, read more here

Another great resource for information regarding teen dating violence is:

  • Teen Power & Control Wheel provided by through This shows details concerning types of teen dating violence and also connects to example videos and tips on how to handle the situation for a child themselves or for a friend.3

Any type of violence should be taken seriously in any relationship. If you believe you or a friend could be experiencing teen dating violence the following resources may be helpful for you.

  • Women Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has a 24 Hour Hotline to call for emotional support: 412-687-8005 or toll-free at 1-877-338-8255
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • Love Is is a website with teen dating violence information; they also have a hotline to call: 1-866-331-9474 or they provide the option to chat live to an advocate from their website.
  • 3 E Now: is a website with teen dating violence statistics and information specific to dating violence. They can be contacted at: 412-719-5630
  • Break the is a website specific to teen dating violence that shares statistics and different tools and information that can be helpful.