When Teens Engage in Violence
Hearing about teens fighting in school is distressing at best, and downright terrifying if your child attends the school. Rest assured, school leaders are equally concerned, but solutions do not come easily.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why teens are fighting – some research points to the amount of violent acts that children see on TV, the internet or their immediate environment. Additional research points to incidences of bullying or being teased. The Centers for Disease Control suggests teen violence is rooted in frustration due to learning disorders, emotional disturbance or attention deficits. Other researchers suggest violence is due to not knowing how to channel frustration. In reality, teen violence is usually a result of many of these factors, and not just one.
One thing we do know is that teens who dwell on violence, play out violent fantasies in their heads, and have access to weapons are more likely to engage in violence. Tactics that attempt to control the behavior of large groups, such as metal detectors, locker searches or the presence of uniformed policemen are short-term solutions. As a community, we MUST face this issue head on, and be responsible for raising our children in such a way that creates responsible, thoughtful and caring adults. There are actions we can take today that counteract violence – whether your child is the victim, the perpetrator, or a witness to teen violence.
If you are concerned about your teen, the following tips will strengthen your relationship and build resilience in teens.
If you are concerned that your teen is the instigator of violent behavior, you CAN do something about it:
Information compiled from: "Youth Violence: Fact Sheet," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control [online]; “What You Need to Know About Youth Violence Prevention” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Mental Information Center [online]; “Bullying and Your Child” Kids Health [onlin