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Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics.She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.Violence in teen dating may be more widespread than you think.

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Whether it's physical, emotional or sexual, the cycle of abuse stems from immaturity and a desire to control another human being.

If your child seems to be suffering from an abusive partner, it's important to understand the causes of violence in teen dating so you can know how to help.

Low self-esteem can plague either partner in a teen relationship and act as a catalyst to abuse.

When an abuser has low self-esteem, he may seek to control his partner's behavior since he doesn't feel worthy enough that she'll be faithful.

When the victim has low self-esteem, she may not believe that anyone else will love or spend time with her, perpetuating the cycle of abuse and violence in her relationship.

Teens are only just beginning to understand what being in a relationship means.

Because of their inexperience, dating abuse can be seen as acceptable with nothing else to compare the behavior to, notes the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

When two teens who have no experience in relationships begin spending time with each other, they begin to form their own definition of what is acceptable.

To some, abuse and violence are simply part of a normal relationship.

If a teen witnesses her parents constantly embroiled in abusive situations, she begins to believe that a relationship entails abuse factors such as control, humiliation or physical violence.

She then goes on to perpetuate the cycle by allowing it to occur within her own relationship or abusing her partner in a variety of ways.