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An Exploration of Abusive Dating Among Teenagers

BUT I LOVE HIM: Protecting Your Teen Daughter From Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships; by Dr. Jill Murray; ReganBooks; 193 pages, $24

November 27, 2000|SHARI ROAN

Many adult women in abusive relationships don't suddenly fall into them. Most likely, researchers tell us, they experienced abusive dating relationships in their teens, as well as the feelings of powerlessness and denial that carry over into their adult years.

In her new book, "But I Love Him," Laguna Niguel psychotherapist Jill Murray describes how her work with battered women led to the realization that many abusive relationships--and the behaviors that accompany them--begin early in life. She estimates that one in three girls will be abused--physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally--by a boyfriend by the time they graduate from high school.

Murray offers no easy solutions for parents seeking to help their daughters get out of an abusive relationship. She describes the difficulties young girls face in trying to break off a relationship and says that many teen girls initially will defend their boyfriend's behavior. The author provides advice on such matters as how to recognize signs of abuse and understand why this has happened to their daughter.

Even parents whose daughters have not experienced abuse would benefit from this book. Murray describes how parents can talk to their daughters not just about sex, but also about dating and the elements of a healthy relationship. "But I Love Him" offers some valuable--and troubling--insights about the current teen-dating culture. This book should be a wake-up call for some parents willing to take a hard--and probably uncomfortable--look at their daughters' world.

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6 STEPS TO INCREASED FERTILITY

by Dr. Robert L. Barbieri, Alice D. Domar and Dr. Kevin R. Loughlin

Simon & Schuster

256 pages, $23

Treatment for infertility conjures up images of microscopes, test tubes, needles, medications--and money--for most people. It's possible for infertile couples to try several kinds of sophisticated medical technologies, while spending thousands of dollars, in the quest to become pregnant. This interesting book by three Harvard researchers calls into question whether all that high-tech meddling is really necessary for some couples. Instead, they argue that a low-tech approach can help most women to get pregnant naturally.

The program in "6 Steps" is taken from the Harvard Behavioral Medicine Program that emphasizes how lifestyle factors--including how we think and feel--can interfere with conception. The authors report that 30% of the patients using their technique at their Harvard program become pregnant. The program focuses primarily on the effects of nutrition, stress and activity. For example, they urge couples to avoid alcohol, caffeine, over-the-counter and prescription drugs. They urge women to stop exercising and avoid taking hot baths.

At first glance, the book sounds suspiciously close to the advice infertile couples have heard for years from well-meaning but sometimes ill-informed relatives: "Relax, and it will happen." But the authors acknowledge that some couples have medical problems that impair fertility and they go on to advise them on how to find good high-tech treatments should the low-tech approach fail. Given that so many couples lack insurance coverage for infertility treatments, trying a low-tech, low-cost approach first makes sense. And, for some, it may even work.

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