Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
6.2 Early Warnings and
Red Flags
Young people see and hear examples of relationship disrespect and abuse in media and in
everyday life. Many are unclear about what respect and normal boundaries in relationships look
like. The first activity will help participants recognize signs of disrespectful, abusive, and controlling
behaviors. The activity will help youth distinguish what behaviors are safe and normal and what
behaviors cross the line into disrespect and abuse. Note: Sort through the Warning Signs Activity Cards
and determine how many you will use. Be sure to select the Red Flag Warning Signs cards as well as
include all or most of the It Depends Warning Signs cards.
Introducing the lesson:
We’ve talked a lot about healthy relationships so far—what they are and how to build them.
But an important skill is being able to recognize when there are signs of disrespect and abuse and to
recognize them early in a relationship.
Do you think it is possible to be in an abusive relationship or be abusive and not realize it? Listen to
participants’ responses.
Then continue with these points:
It is, in fact, possible to be in a relationship and not recognize abusive behaviors.
Abuse can happen to, and be done by, people of all gender identities and in relationships of any sexual orientation.
That’s why today we’ll examine behaviors that are safe and normal and those behaviors that cross the
line into abuse.
It is really important to know the signs because the deeper one gets into any relationship, the harder it is
to get out.
And the deeper one gets into an abusive relationship, the more dangerous it is to get out.
We’re going to do an activity to clarify the red flags indicating verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual
abuse. And we’ll also clarify what behaviors might be safe and normal. We’ll further ask when and how they
might cross the line into abuse.
Resource 6c: Instructor Discussion Tips for
It Depends Cards
Resource 6f: Red/White Flag Squares (one
red and one white per person)
Resource 6g: Warning Signs Activity Cards
Video: Teen Dating Violence PSA
15–20 minutes
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