Nothing says breakfast like discussing domestic violence with your 15-year-old son. But as the news of Chris Brown and Rihanna's reunion filtered in, I felt I had to inject my values into the conversation. Just because she forgave her boyfriend for his alleged beating of her doesn't mean it's OK, I told my cereal-munching child. He grunted, but I know he was listening. And he should be. He's starting his social life as a young adult, and he must understand that domestic violence is never OK. Ever. Under any conditions.
By now, your kids know that 19-year-old R&B fave Chris Brown has been charged with beating up his girlfriend, 21-year-old singer Rihanna, and leaving her bloodied and bitten by the side of the road. And your kids probably also know that Rihanna didn't press charges. But that didn't stop the Los Angeles District Attorney's office from charging Brown with felony counts of assault and making criminal threats.
1 in 3 Teens Is Abused in a Relationship
When Rihanna reunited with Brown and announced that they were recording a duet, well, that sent a big message about what's acceptable. The consequences seem few; yes, Brown faces felony charges, but he was still a Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards nominee until he removed his name from consideration on March 11. Our kids live in a celebrity role model and reality-TV world where outrageous behavior is rewarded with air time and even more fame. In this world, they routinely see girls getting criticized, put down, and treated as sexual objects -- and being rewarded for "taking it." This affects our kids' sense of what's culturally acceptable. The horrible truth is that 1 in 3 teens is abused verbally or physically in a relationship. This isn't acceptable, and parents must step in and say so.
Talk to Your Kids