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But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships

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Parents of teen daughters listen up: according to Dr. Jill Murray, more than one in three girls will be involved in an abusive relationship. But I Love Him gets to the heart of this scary topic as painlessly as possible. With so much focus on physical concerns these days, it's not often that such emotional issues are confronted early enough to prevent them from becoming physical as well. Murray's constant theme is "love is a behavior", and in her book she shows not only what some destructive patterns are, but how even young teens can break free. Murray is a counselor and a parent, and she uses many real-life examples throughout the book; while many end positively, the few that don't are impossible to forget. When differences between emotional, sexual, and physical abuse are explained, you'll read stories like "My boyfriend used to shove me around and I'd cry. He'd say to me, 'stop being so dramatic. It's not like I hit you or anything.'" That's sad enough coming from an adult; when you see that this girl was only 14, it's even worse. Happily, much time is devoted to healing, and many clear-cut methods are laid out--this is not a problem likely to "just go away," and Murray emphasizes that this is the time when girls need their parents most deeply. Every parent in this situation is bound to ask why it is happening, and chapters concerning early patterns and family stress are dealt with in a fairly delicate manner--you won't find blame here, just a request to examine your own relationships honestly. Anyone who lives or works with teens is likely to benefit from learning about the issues addressed here; certainly this is not a book to be lightly dismissed. --Jill Lightner

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